A Message from Celeste James, Executive Director
Dear Colleagues and Community Partners,

The last few months have been surreal. We have all gone from scheduled routines and social interaction to video calls and physical distancing while battling a pandemic. Amid uncertainty about the future, our country is also grappling with the effects of racial injustice. Both situations are a crisis. A public health crisis.

For far too long, inequality has burdened underrepresented communities in our country. The COVID-19 pandemic and recent uprisings have highlighted the extent of this inequality, and for many of us, compelled a commitment to do more to strengthen our nation’s collective well-being. Together, we must address the physical, psychological, economic, and social impacts of inequality and systemic racism to foster healthier, more equitable communities.

At Kaiser Permanente our work is driven by our mission: to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and our communities. It is also driven by our heritage of prevention and health promotion, and especially by our conviction that good health is a fundamental right. We know that the path to solving these issues is not an easy one, but we are committed to the journey and to working with partners like you to achieve sustainable solutions. We have much to look forward to in the coming months and want to bring you up to date:
  • In June, we were thrilled to welcome our new Regional President, Ruth Williams-Brinkley. A champion for racial and health equity, Ruth’s deep experience in integrated and nonprofit health care systems and her significant accomplishments as President of Kaiser Permanente’s Northwest Region will allow her to build upon the legacy of our past president Kimberly Horn.
    Learn more about Ruth
    .
  • We are deepening our efforts to get at the heart of inequities. To address systemic racism and the lack of economic opportunities that have prevented communities of color, especially Black communities, from thriving, Kaiser Permanente recently announced a series of actions: $60 million in joint social impact investments and $15 million in grant funding to support small businesses led by people of color. In addition, Kaiser Permanente will contribute $25 million in grant funding to support grassroots efforts to end systematic racism and break the cycles of related stress and trauma that thwart achievement of total health. Details of these funding opportunities are forthcoming.
    Read the announcement here
    .
  • The Mid-Atlantic Community Network is here! Kaiser Permanente has partnered with Unite Us to launch the Mid-Atlantic Community Network (MACN), a comprehensive community resource linking social service organizations, health care providers, and public agencies in the region. The new network launched in Washington, D.C., and suburban Maryland in June and there are subsequent launches scheduled for Baltimore (fall 2020) and Northern Virginia (summer 2021). Kaiser Permanente is providing free access to this community network for all non-profit organizations, community clinics, and hospitals.
    Learn more about the network
    .
  • And last but certainly not least, we approved nearly $900K in grants and donations to help create solutions that address homelessness and affordable housing, access to care, economic opportunity, mental health and wellness in schools, and to address food insecurity.
    Click here to learn more
    .
On behalf of the Community Health team, thank you for your commitment, your wisdom, and your willing engagement. We applaud you for your contributions to our region and appreciate your partnership as we continue to weather the storm, with optimism and the best intentions.

Yours in health, equity and justice,
Celeste A. James, Executive Director
Community Health, Kaiser Permanente Mid-Atlantic States
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