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Community Activities Boost Health, Job Creation

Dance, exercise, and job resource programs showcase healthy partnerships at Kaiser Permanente

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On any day of the week, Kaiser Permanente’s Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw medical offices hum with much more than doctors’ appointments and pharmacy visits.

The state-of-the-art facility also is a place where people from the community come to shop for fresh produce, find job information, even dance, and more. Since opening in 2017, the site designed with the community in mind, has created partnerships focused on economic security and health improvement.

“We are very rooted in the community and have supported local organizations and nonprofits in this area for decades. We wanted to build on our commitment to this community by bringing new resources to improve the total health of its residents.”

--Celia Brugman, community health manager, Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles

Fall 2018 marked the launch of Community Health Programs that draw crowds on weekdays, weekends, and evenings. The list of mainly free activities includes drop-in classes for soul line dancing, Zumba, tai chi, outdoor circuit training, a farmers market, and cooking and nutrition classes. Community resource tables also offer information and enrollment for programs such as CalFresh, which provides supplemental nutrition assistance.

For example, residents James and Jackie Rice teach a popular soul line dance class on Mondays and Wednesdays. To date, roughly 1,000 people have participated.

“Everyone is very proud of this facility and proud that it is accessible and in the community,” James said.

“Kitchen Divas” classes are offered by Black Women for Wellness, a local nonprofit organization committed to healing, supporting, and educating black women and girls through health education, empowerment, and advocacy.

Executive Director Janette Robinson-Flint said having space to teach is important because “so much of health is how we eat, and when we eat, and how we prepare food.”

The spacious conference room is another asset. In 2018, two dozen nonprofits reserved the free meeting space, bringing approximately 3,000 community visits to the facility after hours and on weekends.

Making valuable connections

These activities demonstrate valuable connections between Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw and community partners such as: Food Education, Access, and Support, Together (FEAST); Asian-American Drug Abuse Program; and West Adams WorkSource Center.

For example, representatives from the WorkSource Center – which connects vulnerable youth and adults to free job training and employment opportunities and businesses to skilled workers and resources – maintain a regular presence at the Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw facility. Kaiser Permanente collaborates with the WorkSource Center in various ways, including through grants, to help prepare community members for entry-level jobs in the medical field. Helping individuals and families improve their economic security helps increase their ability to pay for safe, secure housing, nutritious food, and quality health care, which are vital to their physical, emotional, and mental health and well-being.

“We’ve connected with hundreds of community members who are interested in health-related work,” said Daisy Asis-Nakanishi, director of the WorkSource Center. “I see our success in the people who learn new skills, overcome barriers to employment, and connect to job opportunities, some right here at Kaiser Permanente.”

So far, the WorkSource Center has reached over 500 people at its resource fairs and monthly visits. Through this and other outreach, more than 50 people have been hired at Kaiser Permanente. Many others receive employment services to support their interest in health care careers and other trades. 

Marcia Rice, who lives near Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw, seized the chance when she heard Kaiser Permanente was recruiting. She connected with the WorkSource Center, underwent a screening process, and completed training that resulted in landing a housekeeping job in November 2017.

“The partnership made it so much easier,” Rice said. “I was able to meet the people who were looking for workers. I love my job – I have a passion for the patients and for people.”

For more information on Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw Community Health Programs and activities, click here.