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Kaiser Permanente Launches $5 Million Campaign for Equitable COVID-19 Protection

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The campaign is filling information gaps for COVID-19 prevention and vaccines, as well as fostering trust among communities most impacted by the pandemic.

PASADENA, Calif. – March 24, 2021 – For many people of color, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on their lives, as the disease has impacted their health disproportionately and turned their lives upside down. At the same time, as vaccines have become more available, vaccine hesitancy continues to prevail among many minority groups, putting their health at a greater risk.

Kaiser Permanente wants to change that, believing strongly that equitable COVID-19 protection and vaccine equity should be a national priority. As such, the health care organization with 4.7 million members in Southern California has launched a national comprehensive COVID-19 education campaign to provide trusted information to increase confidence in vaccination within African American, Hispanic and Native Hawaiian/ Pacific Islander communities.

Kaiser Permanente will spend $5 million in grants to support dozens of nonprofit and community-based organizations across the country – including two in Southern California – which will provide direct assistance to at-risk populations who are most impacted by COVID-19. And although there’s light at the end of the tunnel a year into the pandemic, another major goal of this campaign is to stress the importance of continued mask wearing, physical distancing and limiting gatherings until the pandemic ends.

The two local nonprofit organizations receiving funds from Kaiser Permanente are L.A.-based NALEO Educational Fund and Watts Healthcare, which will assist the Hispanic and African American communities respectively.

“As more vaccines become available, it is critical that the communities impacted the hardest by COVID-19 have the information they need to keep themselves and their families safe,” said Julie Miller-Phipps, president, Kaiser Permanente Southern California and Hawaii, Health Plan and Hospitals. “Through outreach and education with trusted partners such as NALEO Educational Fund and Watts Healthcare, we hope to convey the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines, and improve vaccine access to help bring an end to this devastating pandemic.”

Kaiser Permanente’s equity education campaign is comprised of:

  • Bilingual public service announcement advertisements targeted to Latinx and African American audiences.
  • Support for community-based organizations across the country.
  • Collaboration with social media influencers whose trusted voices deliver COVID-19 prevention messages to specific communities.

A year into the pandemic, Hispanic and African Americans continue to die at 2.8 times the rate of white Americans. White and higher-income Americans are also more likely to have received a vaccine than their African American, Hispanic and lower-income peers. While there is less data available for Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander communities, nearly 25% of people in this group serve in essential roles such as military, security, manufacturing, health and service-related industries, which likely exacerbates the pandemic’s impact.

Kaiser Permanente’s $5 million in grants will fund programs and provide resources for communities facing an uphill recovery from the pandemic’s devastating impacts. The recipients include faith-based organizations, community health centers and clinics and advocacy groups that are creating and distributing culturally and linguistically appropriate information on COVID-19 prevention – including testing, vaccination, therapeutics, and healthy behaviors.

“With Latinos being hit particularly hard by the pandemic, having reliable partners in the fight against
COVID-19 is a critical part of how our community can persevere through the crisis,” said NALEO Educational Fund CEO, Arturo Vargas. “We are grateful to Kaiser Permanente for its support of the Latino community and our organization as we work to empower and educate the community together.”

Olusheyi Lawoyin, COO and interim CEO of Watts Healthcare, echoed similar sentiments.

“Watts Healthcare is honored to be part of a nationwide effort that aligns very strongly with our mission and commitment to the communities we serve,” Lawoyin said. “Our primary goal is to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in the populations we serve, and to better understand the barriers that inhibit health-seeking behavior among community members. In addition, we will engage in the promotion of positive messages, and dispel myths and misinformation about COVID-19 prevention by disseminating accurate information by trusted stakeholders to affected communities.”

Kaiser Permanente’s funding support is part of an established commitment to improving health equity in the communities it serves, a need that was made tragically clear by the COVID-19 pandemic. This follows the announcement in June of a $25 million investment to address systemic racism and its accompanying trauma among communities of color. Partnering with organizations that have a longstanding, trusted presence within communities is a priority for Kaiser Permanente, the largest nonprofit integrated health care system in the country.

Kaiser Permanente has joined industry and public health partners to support an equitable response to COVID-19, including the COVID Collaborative, the Ad Council, and as a member of America’s Health Insurance Plans.

For additional resources, visit the COVID-19 Community Resource Download Center, Hazlo Por Amor, Love Protects Us, and The Public Good Projects.


About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 12.4 million members in 8 states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists, and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery, and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education, and the support of community health.