Kaiser Permanente has provided high-quality health care to our members and communities for more than 70 years. We understand that getting and keeping healthy means more than just eating fresh fruits and vegetables, working out, and visiting your physician once a year. In fact, there are economic, social, and environmental factors that play major roles in the quality of your health and the health of your family. That’s why we are working to make communities healthier by addressing these conditions.
One of the ways our Community Health programs help to alleviate economic hardships is through the Summer Youth Employment Program. We provide work opportunities for aspiring physicians and future hospital administrators in our medical centers and offices. The Inroads program gives under-represented college students real-world business and health care experience, and builds leadership skills in the health care providers of the future.
The lack of access to high quality health care for the uninsured or underinsured is a major social concern. Community Health funds Community Medicine Fellowships and the training of medical staff to educate a new generation of physicians to improve the health of underserved communities. We contribute resources to support community clinics, public hospitals, and government programs to improve both the access and quality of patient care.
Clean parks and open spaces are critical to healthy environments and communities. They provide safe places for people to come together, relax and exercise. We work with partner organizations, such as the Trust for Public Land, to build healthier, stronger, and safer neighborhoods through the creation of urban parks in the most underserved, at risk, and low-income neighborhoods.
Good health starts in our homes, schools, workplaces and neighborhoods. Kaiser Permanente is committed to making investments in our communities to ensure that everyone experiences good health and well-being.
$947,772,545 in Total Funding and Grants
We work with our community partners and others to improve Total Community Health by providing access to quality health care for those with little or no insurance.
We support innovative efforts to increase nutritious foods, physical activity, economic vitality, safety and wellness in local schools, workplaces and neighborhoods.
As one of the nation’s most productive research institutions, Kaiser Permanente and our research scientists are transforming the future of health.
$12,629,543 in other Community Investments
Providing Mental Health Care in Watts
More than 50 years ago, Kaiser Permanente took a leading role in caring for the mental health and well-being of the people of Watts and the surrounding communities. In 1967, we opened the Kaiser Permanente Watts Counseling and Learning Center (WCLC). The staff at the Center are committed to improving the total health of individuals and their families by providing counseling, outreach and essential educational and mental health services for little or no cost. The WCLC provides a safe, nurturing, healthy environment where kids and their families learn, flourish, and succeed.
One local student, Ilieen Ramirez, looked to the WCLC for support after the death of each of her grandparents. IIieen was introduced to the “Kids Can Cope” program to help her process her grief, manage her fears, and address her concerns for the future during this very difficult time. “Kids Can Cope” is a support group for children whose loved ones have a life-threatening illness. The program helps children develop coping skills that will stay with them for the future.
“Kids Can Cope” taught me that I can develop from my grief,” said Ilieen. “I learned that I don’t have to stay in this position forever, that it’s OK to cry. I can move on.” Ilieen still participates as a volunteer in “Kids Can Cope,” and even helped develop a similar support group at her own school. “All of the emotions in each stage of grief…I’ve felt them before,” said Ilieen. “It feels good that I get to show others how to get through this. I get to tell them what I learned through my loss and show them they’re not alone.”
Why is grief counseling so important for children and teens? Gwendolyn Tyson, MA, licensed marriage and family therapist at WCLC and coordinator of the “Kids Can Cope” program, has worked with grieving children for several years. “Your health can be impacted if grief and stress build up and it impacts the child’s overall mental health,” said Tyson. “Children are resilient. It’s really important that someone steps in and helps them make sense in their lives. To live in acceptance is where you need to be.”
“Kids are afraid of overcoming the stigma of seeing a counselor," continued Tyson. "I can see that changing a great deal. Without a positive role model, these children are at risk. They can get stuck in life and express anger, depression, grief, problems in school that teachers and adults may not understand.”
Through her participation in “Kids Can Cope,” Ilieen has begun to heal from these difficult life experiences. She honors her grandparents' memories by participating in community events that help youth to build character and develop self-esteem, confidence, discipline, and empathy. Because of her volunteer efforts in the community, Ilieen was recently named as the first youth advocate to the Community Academic Council of Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science. At just 12 years old, IIieen has learned the importance of community support and the rich benefits of giving back.Close
Improving Economic Security in our Communities
Everyone deserves a decent standard of living. When a person or group cannot afford fresh, nutritious food; a comfortable, safe place to live; or the means to maintain basic hygiene standards, quality of life may seem out of reach – if not impossible.
Kaiser Permanente has long been committed to total health. We understand how economic, social and environmental factors in our communities – beyond the medical care we provide – significantly affect people’s health, well-being, and longevity. We strive to use our strong relationships and extensive resources to eliminate factors that can harm individual and community health.
When Kaiser Permanente Southern California began constructing a state-of-the-art medical office building in the Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw neighborhood in West Los Angeles, the opportunity to provide good-paying jobs and increase economic security in the community became clear.
We collaborated with 2nd Call, a nonprofit community organization that helps former inmates rebuild their careers and lives. Through 2nd Call, former gang members like Charles Slay, who was released at age 48 after spending 27 years in prison for murder, applied their construction skills to help build the new medical center. This second chance allowed the ex-convicts not only to become part of the community, but also to help better the community.
By partnering with like-minded organizations and developing innovative ways to inspire positive change, we continue making a difference in strengthening the health of our communities and the people who live there.Close
Investing in the FUTURE of care
Studies show that mentoring has a positive and significant effect on students. It helps them participate successfully in school and community life and encourages them to avoid negative behaviors.
Our Summer Youth Employment Program provides underserved or at-risk high school students with supportive and meaningful employment experiences in the health care field. Kaiser Permanente physicians and professionals mentor students, like Kenneth Phinn, and introduce them to the possibilities of careers in health care.Close