Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest, nonprofit integrated healthcare organization, today announced that Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) in Maryland has joined the Mid-Atlantic Community Network, which connects community residents (including Kaiser Permanente members) to service organizations, healthcare providers and public agencies that can address social needs such as housing, food access, employment, transportation, behavioral health and utilities. The network launched in 2020 in partnership with Unite Us.
Within the PGCPS system, the Mid-Atlantic Community Network will serve as a vital tool to connect students and families with social health resources. The network is a regional initiative facilitated by Kaiser Permanente that is part of the Unite DMV, Unite Maryland and Unite Virginia networks. Partners in the network are connected through Unite Us’ shared technology platform, which enables users to send and receive secure electronic referrals. The network will help address the social needs within Prince George’s County Public Schools.
“At Kaiser Permanente, we’re dedicated to improving the health of the communities we serve,” said a Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States Executive. “We recognize that much of a person’s health is impacted by where they live, their access to healthy food or their ability to access transportation. When we think about supporting our schools, we strive to address not just physical health needs, such as vaccinations, but also social and mental health, and health equity. We’re honored to work with Prince George’s County Public Schools to help students, faculty, and staff lead healthy lives and thrive.”
Kaiser Permanente recognizes the integral role that schools play as a center point for health in communities. Its Thriving Schools initiative supports the health and wellness of students, teachers and staff by providing resources and programming that address the many dimensions of health including, physical, mental and social, as well as racial equity and justice.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for social health resources and support has risen significantly in schools and in the broader community. Nearly all students have experienced some challenges to their mental health and well-being during the pandemic, and many have lost access to school-based services and supports, with early research showing disparities based on race, ethnicity, LGBTQ+ identity, and other factors. Additionally, educators’ mental health has been affected by constant changes to the learning environment. The CDC Foundation reported that 27% of teachers self-reported symptoms consistent with clinical depression and 53% of teachers say they are thinking of leaving the profession more often now than they were before the pandemic. Students, faculty, and administrators also face increased economic challenges affecting their ability to maintain food and housing security.
“Schools play a central role in our communities and in our lives,” said Ingrid Williams-Horton, Ed.D., Director of PGCPS Community Schools. “Not only do they provide vital settings for learning and development, but they also serve as community anchors for social interaction, emotional support, and access to food, physical activity, and health care. We’re proud to partner with Kaiser Permanente to advance our wellness goals and create a vibrant place for learning.”
Kaiser Permanente has partnered with PGCPS on multiple initiatives to help students and educators thrive, including:
- 60 Days to Thrive Health and Wellness campaign: Developed in partnership with PGCPS, this campaign featured a variety of virtual health and wellness activities to support teachers and staff – from webinars, to trainings and virtual dance parties.
- RISE On-site Program: Launched in partnership with PGCPS and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, the RISE On-site program provides resources and support to the school system’s mental health and social-emotional policy, procedures and environments in target schools.
- COVID–19 Vaccination Campaign: Last February, Kaiser Permanente also partnered with PGCPS to administer COVID-19 vaccines to teachers and staff to help protect against the virus and accelerate the return to in-person learning.
Currently, 25 Prince George’s County schools are members of the Mid-Atlantic Community Network. An additional 40 schools are expected to join the network later this year.
“As our students and their families continue to feel the impacts of the pandemic, there is a growing need for assistance with food security, housing, academic support programs and mental health services,” said Deborah Oshinrongboye, community school coordinator at Gladys Noon Spellman Elementary School in Cheverly. “The Mid-Atlantic Community Network enables us to collaborate and provide critical resources that promote strength, health, and wellness. The Network is efficient, easy-to-use, and allows us to quickly track and document urgent requests for support. We are thrilled to be able to make a positive impact in our community.”
The network consists of three components:
- A network of organizations addressing social and health needs
- A technology platform for participating organizations to collaborate and communicate
- An expansive resource directory of providers in the region
Using a shared technology platform, powered by Unite Us, PGCPS has made 79 referrals through the Mid-Atlantic Community Network to connect community members to social service assistance. In addition to supporting community members, the MACN also links 468 participating partners throughout the Mid-Atlantic region by providing a single, coordinated network. This reduces the time it takes for staff to create and follow up on social service requests by creating a more efficient referral system and tracking services delivered and patient outcomes.
Kaiser Permanente is providing free access to this community network for community-based organizations, safety-net clinics, and other eligible health and social services providers. To learn more about the Mid-Atlantic Community Network, visit maryland.uniteus.com.
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 almost 12.5 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. For more information, go to about.kp.org
About Prince George’s County Public Schools
Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS), the nation’s 20th largest school district, has 208 schools and centers, more than 131,000 students and 20,000 employees. Under the leadership of CEO Dr. Monica Goldson, the school system serves a diverse student population from urban, suburban and rural communities located in the Washington, DC suburbs. PGCPS is nationally recognized for college and career-readiness programs that provide students with unique learning opportunities, including dual enrollment and language immersion.
About Unite Us
Unite Us is a technology company that builds coordinated care networks of health and social service providers. With Unite Us, providers across sectors can send and receive secure electronic referrals, track every person’s total health journey, and report on tangible outcomes across a full range of services in a centralized, cohesive, and collaborative ecosystem. Unite Us’ dedicated team builds authentic, lasting partnerships with local organizations to ensure their networks have a solid foundation, launch successfully, and continue to grow and thrive. This HITRUST-certified social care infrastructure helps communities transform their ability to work together and measure impact at scale. Follow Unite Us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.