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San Diego Medical Center
Kaiser Permanente San Diego’s commitment to creating healthy communities extends from community gardens to school campuses and neighborhood clinics, all the way to the operating room.
“Ensuring good health extends beyond our doors,” said Mary Ann Barnes, senior vice president and executive director of Kaiser Permanente San Diego. “By investing significant resources in programs that improve the health of our communities, we help more San Diegans live well and Thrive,” she added.
In August, dirt flew from hundreds of shovels as volunteers broke ground and prepared the New Roots Fresh Farm Community Garden in the city of El Cajon. This 5-acre plot of land provides fresh, sustainable produce to more than 300 refugee family members from Iraq, Liberia and Burma (now Myanmar), as well as to residents of the city of El Cajon. It was divided into 41 plots that are tended by 37 families and local organizations.
Imagine replacing cupcakes with carrots at school birthday celebrations! Well, KPSD actually did this, and more, when we helped the Lemon Grove School District clear its campuses of unhealthy food and beverages, as well as teach their students’ families how to replace junk food with fresh fruit. This was achieved through funding the Healthy Options for Nutrition Environments in Schools (Healthy ONES) program there.
Another way we improve the health and well-being of the communities we serve is through direct grants to qualified non-profit organizations. Since 2011, Kaiser Permanente has provided nearly $3 million in grant funding to San Diego County non-profit organizations involved with healthy-eating and active-living programs, improving access to health care, and services at community clinics.
This included a $1 million grant to Community Health Improvements Partners to create a HEAL Zone, or program that helps make healthy choices accessible to more people in underserved communities — and in turn to prevent diseases such as diabetes and hypertension that often result from obesity.
“In this year’s first grant cycle, we were pleased to have 10 new organizations receiving grants for the first time,” said Senior Community Benefit Manager Shreya Sasaki. The full list is available at http://bit.ly/1aOzj7u.
In October, 13 KPSD medical office buildings also helped to reduce deaths from breast cancer by providing 398 screening mammograms in 24 hours! Our employees and physicians were proud to be part of achieving this new world record set by KPSC.
Probably the most tangible and personal way that KPSD helps the San Diego community to Thrive is through its Saturday Surgery Days. The tears and hugs of gratitude expressed by the 73 San Diegans who no longer suffer with pain, injury, lack of vision, and other debilitating conditions area a clear reminder of why community benefit programs are so important.
These people received free, life-changing medical treatments from 150 volunteer physicians and employees as part of our Saturday Surgery Days held April 6, and October 19, 2013. This effort is made possible through our partnership with the San Diego County Medical Society Foundation (www.sdcmsf.org). To date, our 12 successful Saturday Surgery Days have donated $2.25 million in donated services to Project Access San Diego.