Working together to build a healthier community for all of us.

Kaiser Permanente believes when we collaborate and support each other, our work improves the quality of health and life in our communities.

We are dedicated to total health of body, mind, and spirit, and we pursue efforts that broaden access to the highest quality care for people when they need it. We believe all of us deserve to live healthy lives in our homes, our workplaces, and our neighborhoods. That’s why, for more than 70 years, we have worked to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve.

We accomplish this work in countless ways, from funding knowledge and resource sharing programs that address health disparities to providing assistance with health care costs to people in need. Our commitment is exhibited in the many ways we reach out and work with others to build a healthy future for all.

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There are moments that inspire. Moments that touch your heart, open your eyes or inspire action. Often a single moment can achieve all three.

Moments like these happen all the time throughout our programs and countless others like them. If you come across one of these moments, please share it here. It may just be the spark that inspires one more person to get involved.

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  1. Slide 1

Physicians Rewarded by Serving the Community

Every summer, up to six doctors motivated by their strong senses of fairness and philanthropy immerse themselves in Kaiser Permanente Southern California’s Community Medicine Fellowship, a 13-month-long program at community clinics around the region to improve quality and access to health care for the uninsured and under-insured. Kaiser Permanente’s work to strengthen the “safety net” involves collaborating with community clinics, public health systems and hospitals, and other organizations to improve care, and to help doctors comprehensively understand the barriers to wellness. 

Kaiser Permanente sponsors the doctors’ work in the community clinics, mobile health units and high schools, but it’s not just about putting in time and getting paid. Each fellow is given a project that gets to the heart of an issue, whether it’s how to improve the patient experience, how to share knowledge among physicians, or how to get better clinical results.

“I tasted the bitterness of being uninsured,” said Hana Kim, DO, who emigrated from South Korea as a child. Kim went to Western University of Health Sciences for medical school and did her family medicine residency at Loma Linda University Medical Center. She remembers a time when her cousin, a local college student in the United States on an expired visa, became ill and passed out. When she awoke in the emergency room, she ripped the I.V. out, gave the hospital the wrong name and address for fear of being strapped with a medical bill she could never pay, and left without being treated. “It’s so sad she had to lie,” Kim said. “I went to the ER myself, it took me years to pay off my visit.”

Kim recently completed the 13th month of her fellowship. During that time, she worked on a project to improve the clinic flow and process at the Lestonnac Free Clinic in Orange. She also worked at a Latino Health Access diabetic clinic. She’ll continue her community practice at the Veterans Administration in Santa Barbara.

Getting Kaiser Permanente doctors out in the community is the best way to understand the most challenging populations. One way Kaiser Permanente has helped to further the clinic system is by developing a “hub” model, in which patients can get expedited appointments in ophthalmology, oncology, neurology, sleep medicine and rheumatology at a centrally located facility. New collaboration with LA County hospitals means more people can be seen, quicker.

Neil Chawla, MD, a recent graduate of the Keck School of Medicine of USC just embarking on his fellowship, said community work is in his DNA. His grandfather, an Indian ambassador, was deeply active in global health and justice projects.

Chawla wants to use his fellowship to work on “pipeline” projects that encourage and enable young students to follow careers in health. He’ll divide his time among Saban Community Clinic, UCLA Mobile Clinic, Marshall and Belmont high schools, and Venice Family Clinic. “It's exciting to be able to make my family proud and to honor somebody's legacy,” he said.

Photo:  Neil Chawla, MD and Hana Kim, DO