“When I walk through the park, I don’t just see overgrown grass and weeds,” said Christopher Crockett, president of the SDKG Community Association and narrator of the new “Thriving Communities” video. “I see families enjoying themselves.” And Kaiser Permanente shared Crockett’s vision of restoring the park to a place where kids and families could get some fresh air and thrive.
Improving health — a core element of Kaiser Permanente’s mission — is about more than providing high-quality health care. Just as we know that preventive care, such as getting the appropriate vaccinations and screenings, is critical to staying healthy, we know that where we live, work and play has a crucial role in achieving total health.
The “Thriving Communities” video, the fourth and final installment in the 2016 Thrive advertising campaign, highlights a community’s effort to create a safe space for their neighborhood to be active and healthy. It is just one example of many decades of Kaiser Permanente’s work to help communities across the country be healthy and thrive.
This 30-second spot — which is available online, including on Kaiser Permanente websites and as pre-roll for videos in online services such as Hulu — tells the story of Kaiser Permanente’s partnership with the people of West Baltimore, Maryland, to transform and reopen their park. In partnership with local nonprofit Park Heights Renaissance and community members, Kaiser Permanente provided funding and support for community volunteers to help clear overgrown plants, repair playground equipment, resurface a half-court for basketball and equip the court with a half-height hoop to emphasize that this is a place for children to be active.
Park transformation projects are important and visible examples of neighborhood improvements that promote health and well-being, but that is only one part of the story. Kaiser Permanente’s Community Benefit work runs the gamut from supporting community health initiatives and healthy schools in every region to promoting access to high quality care for all; from raising the bar on environmental responsibility to supporting safety net health care providers and providing charitable health coverage.
The overarching goal: Improving community health
Kaiser Permanente partners with national organizations and local communities across the country to improve access to health for our estimated 10.6 million members and the more than 60 million residents of the communities in which they live.
- In Hawaii, Kaiser Permanente promotes healthy nutrition and smart beverage choices at public schools by supporting a campaign for water bottle filling stations and new wellness policies, such as eliminating sugary beverages on school campuses.
- In Colorado, Kaiser Permanente partners with Hunger Free Colorado, conducting hunger screenings and connecting families who need it with food resources.
- In the Northwest, Kaiser Permanente partners with the Northwest Health Foundation to reduce health disparities early in life so that children, families and communities have the best opportunities to thrive; remove institutional and systemic barriers to education so more students graduate and are ready for college and careers; and support living-wage jobs so that families and communities disproportionately affected by poverty can achieve a better quality of life.
- In Georgia, Kaiser Permanente has long supported the Atlanta BeltLine — a major urban development project that will provide a network of public parks, multi-use trails and transit along an historic 22-mile railroad corridor circling downtown, creating new connections between 45 neighborhoods.
- To improve access to green spaces and encourage exercise, Kaiser Permanente partners with the Trust for Public Land in Southern California.
- In Northern California, Kaiser Permanente works with the Center for Youth Wellness to change the way practitioners, policymakers and parents work to prevent and address adverse childhood experiences.
- Kaiser Permanente supports the Healthy Eating Active Living or HEAL Cities Campaign across the country, including in Richmond, Virginia, where the city adopted a Health in All Policies Framework to encourage lawmakers to consider population health and health equity.
And these are just a few examples. The 2015 Community Benefit snapshot provides an overview and additional examples of all of the wide-ranging streams of work that are essential to supporting healthy communities and their people.
People, families, communities: We all have the right to thrive
“Most people spend a very small amount of time every year in doctors’ offices or hospitals,” said Kaiser Permanente Vice President of Community Health Loel Solomon. “Where they live, work and play every day has a huge impact on their health. Kaiser Permanente’s work in communities — including creating places for people to be active and build community — is powerful medicine.”On opening day of the renamed SDKG Community Association Park, kids and adults — sporting T-shirts proclaiming “I made my mark on the park” — completed the finishing touches and celebrated their new space. Community members painted a mural, tried out the playground equipment and basketball court, and had the opportunity to get a flu shot in the Kaiser Permanente mobile health van.