Kaiser Permanente: A Strategic Dose of Prevention

By Alexandra Luterek and Vera Oziransky

In a culture of health, health flourishes across demographic, geographic, and social sectors, and society has the opportunities and means to make healthy choices. While our health system is characterized by fragmentation and lacking focus on prevention, Kaiser Permanente is promoting health at every touch point in communities, not just within the four walls of its hospitals and clinics.

Kaiser Permanente is one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit health plans. In 2014, it had approximately 9.6 million members, almost a quarter million employees, and $56.4 billion in revenue. Its size reflects its potential impact on population health through health promotion, care delivery and coordination, and its environmental footprint.

Kaiser Permanente’s “Community Health Initiative” (CHI) funds more than 50 communities to support policy and environmental changes that increase access to nutritious foods, physical activity, economic vitality, and safety and wellness. One CHI community in southern California coordinated local policy changes to develop a 10-year land use agreement to create a community garden to house family plots and stock the local farmer’s market. This resulted in increased local capacity to provide access to fresh, affordable food to its residents.

Kaiser Permanente represents how strategic philanthropy can fill unmet needs in the community while generating social return on investment. As a health plan and employer, promoting health in the community lowers long-term local health risk and disease burden, and therefore can promote the company’s financial sustainability. Read more about Strategic Philanthropy in our report Beyond The Four Walls: Why Community Is Critical to Workforce Health to be released on July 28, 2015.

Has your community organization engaged a local employer through philanthropy or a strategic partnership? We’d love to hear about it in the comment section below or on social media – tweet at us @VitalityInst and use #Beyond4Walls to share your work.


Image credit: gpsneaker.com

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