At Kaiser Permanente, we recognize that innovation is an important means by which we can increase our ability to identify, incubate and implement solutions to our most difficult community health problems. Technology and innovation allow us to increase our speed and capacity to respond to community needs and achieve equitable health outcomes.
In the Northwest Region, we are testing new approaches to community health that build on our relationships with people and organizations who represent a variety of business and social service areas. By working across sectors, we’re building new solutions to the health challenges that individuals and families are facing, helping to create meaningful change in our communities.
Imagine a place that brings together health and wellness programs, housing support, early childhood education, job training, and wraparound community support services for children and their families, laying the foundation for lifelong health and success.
That place is now a reality thanks to the 3 to PhD® initiative, a cutting-edge health and education model that aims to create safer, healthier, more educated communities so that young people can be nurtured to their full potential and pursue their highest dreams (PhD).
The 3 to PhD initiative combines a private, nonprofit university; Title I, Pre-K to 8th-grade public school; and 2,500-square-foot, on-site wellness center to create a nexus of support for students and families living in Northeast Portland. It is the result of a pioneering partnership between Kaiser Permanente, Concordia University, Portland Public Schools’ Faubion School, Trillium Family Services, and basics, a new retail food and nutrition concept from the founder of Pacific Foods.
The sleek, new learning campus opened in August 2017 and currently serves nearly 800 grade school children. Concordia University’s College of Health and Human Services is also located on the campus, providing experiential learning opportunities for its bachelor’s and master’s level degree programs. Concordia students interact with Faubion students through health care curriculum, career exploration, programming, and prevention efforts.
In fall of 2017, the Kaiser Permanente 3 to PhD® Wellness Center opened on the campus. Staffed by Kaiser Permanente clinicians, the clinic provides a full range of health care services — including dental, physical exams, screenings, immunizations, on-site lab services, and referrals — all aimed at ensuring that the community’s children and their families are given every opportunity to build strong foundations for lifelong health.
Good health requires a coordinated system of care that addresses all the factors that influence a person’s well-being. It also requires sensitivity and understanding of a person’s cultural context in order to respond effectively with care that acknowledges their dignity and worth.
Kaiser Permanente Northwest is pioneering innovative approaches to health care that build bridges between our health care delivery system and the organizations that serve people in our community with complex medical and social needs. Our Community-Clinic Integration efforts help identify ways that we can partner with community-based agencies to address gaps in community service support for our patients.
Our care innovation efforts help us make connections with local food support organizations such as Zenger Farm and Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon to enable our patients to enroll in SNAP (food stamp) benefits and use those benefits to purchase fresh, healthy foods through supermarkets, farmers markets and local farms.
We are helping build capacity and bring resources to peer support organizations such as The Alano Club of Portland and Fourth Dimension to help our patients struggling with mental health and addiction challenges enhance their recovery and long-term mental health.
By engaging in conversations with culturally-specific community groups such as the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization, and others, we are working to address the unmet health care needs of underserved communities who experience significant health disparities.
Working with local legal providers, such as Metropolitan Public Defender, we are embedding legal professionals into clinic settings to address issues such as evictions, unpaid fines and fees, and landlord-tenant issues that can dramatically affect health if left unaddressed.