Annual Report 2017 | Community Health


Leadership Message     |    Kaiser Permanente Community Fund     |     Community Engagement     |     Financials


Leadership Message

Our health is determined by much more than our medical care. In fact, recent studies show that medical care accounts for a relatively small percentage of a person’s health.

The majority is determined by genetics and the conditions present where we live, work and play. Does a family, for example, have access to nutritious, affordable food? Is a child in safe, secure housing? To create long-term, sustainable change, we must know as much about what happens in these settings as we do about what takes place in our hospitals and clinics.

Community health programs are critical in helping populations impacted by health inequities access health services. Our community health program is more than a dollar contribution; it’s an organizational commitment to improving health through community partnerships, rather than simply providing free care. It describes everything we bring to the table to improve the health and well-being of our members and communities. It lies at the intersection between the clinical, genetic, social, economic and environmental factors that affect health. It is not the work of one department or team, but of our entire organization.

In our 2017 annual report, you’ll read about innovative community health initiatives that have the potential not only to impact our Northwest region, but to serve as models for others as well. 3 to PhD, for example, is a first-of-its-kind collaboration that surrounds children with the support and services they need to be successful in school. It started with the audacious idea of a Portland elementary school principal, who mobilized others to bring her dream to life.

We are privileged to work alongside, and learn from, the many people in our region who make our community a better place through their deep expertise, insight, and compassion. In 2018, we will continue to advocate for those who may increasingly feel their voices are not heard, or welcomed. The health of our community depends on it.


Ruth Williams-Brinkley

President, Northwest
Kaiser Foundation Health
Plan and Hospitals

Dr. Dacones

Imelda Dacones, MD

President and CEO
Northwest Permanente, P.C.

Dr. Snyder

John Snyder, DMD

CEO and Dental Director
Permanente Dental Associates


A Trailblazing Effort to Create Healthier, Safer, and More Educated Communities

A Trailblazing Effort to Create Healthier, Safer, and More Educated 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, onsite 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.

“Health and wellness are foundational to ensure children come to school ready to learn, and Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to 3 to PhD is groundbreaking in the way it’s fully integrated within a public school.”
— Gary Withers, JD, Concordia University Foundation president and chief strategic relations officer




Access to Health Care icon

Access to Health Care

Access to high-quality, affordable, holistic, and culturally specific health care is critical in times of illness. It is also an important means of laying a foundation for good health for years to come.

Kaiser Permanente is committed to increasing the ability of low-income and underserved individuals in our communities to receive the right care, at the right times, in the right settings, from a diverse workforce that meets their needs.

Community-Supported Clinic Initiative

Community-supported clinics are a vital component of the health care “safety net,” delivering care services to members of our local community who, because of a lack of resources, might not otherwise be able to access care. To assist these clinics in their ability to provide high-quality health care services to more people, Kaiser Permanente and Providence Health & Services joined forces to offer a series of capacity-building grants in 2015. A total of $400,000 was awarded to 10 clinics ($40,000 per clinic) over two years to assist them in expanding and adapting their services to respond to the changing needs of patient populations and the rapidly changing health care environment.

Thanks to the funding support they received, several clinics were able to make major strides forward by 2017 — bringing on new staff members, expanding their hours of operation, and offering more services to patients. Other clinics focused on improving data collection and electronic medical records to help manage health issues proactively and report on outcomes in more detail. Still others focused on improving their ability to deliver “culturally competent care” that better meets the social, cultural, and linguistic needs of patients. Taken together, these improvements have substantially helped community-supported clinics in our region to bridge the gaps in health care for thousands of residents.

“What really means something to me is that Kaiser Permanente and Providence have made a commitment to our clinic. It’s not just a grant and some dollars to help us do our job. It’s actually a commitment to help us grow, expand, and serve our patients with the best possible care.”
— Karen Shimada, Clackamas Volunteers in Medicine



Other ways Kaiser Permanente increased access to health care in 2017:

42,947 people served as members through Kaiser Permanente Medicaid

3,731 kids covered under the Child Health Program Plus, our charitable health insurance program

$29,454,731 given in medical financial assistance to people who could not afford care

853 uninsured women received mammograms at Kaiser Permanente through the Susan G. Komen of Oregon & SW Washington Poder y Vida Latina Initiative

118 people provided with eye exams and custom-fit eyeglasses as part of our annual MLK Days of Service



Economic opportunity icon


Our health and well-being as individuals and as a community is shaped by many forces, including our ability to access basic resources like food, stable housing, and employment. Strong schools and career pathways can support us in gaining the skills and education needed to find and maintain jobs that can enrich us and help us achieve economic security.

Through Kaiser Permanente’s work in schools and our support for college and career readiness, we are supporting economic opportunity in our communities by giving people the skills, knowledge, and access to higher education that will sustain them throughout their lives.

Reducing Barriers to School Attendance Initiative

Research shows that educational attainment is correlated with physical, social, emotional, and mental wellness. But for many people, it can be a challenge just to get to the classroom. Physical and mental health issues, housing and food insecurity, economic and transportation challenges, and systemic inequities can hinder students from being able to attend school. Research shows that children who are chronically absent — missing more than 10 percent of the school year — in kindergarten and first grade are much less likely to be reading at grade level by third grade and are four times more likely to drop out by the time they reach high school.

Kaiser Permanente awarded more than $1 million in grants to seven local organizations in the Northwest region in 2017 to help stem the tide of chronic absenteeism. The grant recipients — five nonprofit organizations and two education service districts — are working with 5,600 students, family members, and educators in 36 schools across the region to improve community awareness about the importance of being at school; reduce the barriers to school attendance; and increase connections to social and health support services for students, teachers, and school staff.

“Chronic absenteeism isn’t about ‘skipping school’ or the occasional sick day. There are many root causes, like physical and behavioral health issues, institutional inequities, and housing and food insecurity. This initiative helps move the dialogue from counting days kids are absent, to understanding why and devising equitable solutions to help.”
— Colt Gill, deputy superintendent of public instruction for the State of Oregon


Kaiser Permanente-funded partners collaborate to raise awareness about chronic absenteeism.


Other ways Kaiser Permanente has supported economic opportunity in 2017:

$250,000 in scholarship funds provided for pre-health students to attend Portland State University, with an additional $250,000 matching contribution from Portland State

400+ students inspired about careers in health care through our career learning programs

$535,000 awarded to 166 high school and college students through the Kaiser Permanente Health Care Career Scholarship Program

99 college students provided with paid summer internships at Kaiser Permanente

28 Kaiser Permanente employees and leaders serve on the boards of directors of community organizations that address economic opportunity



Chronic Disease Prevention and Treatment icon


Chronic and persistent health issues such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, and cancer prevent us from living out our lives in the fullness and vibrancy we are meant for. Such conditions often lead to preventable diseases that are exacerbated by racial and economic inequalities and the unhealthy conditions that some populations are exposed to more than others.

Kaiser Permanente is committed to improving health and preventing chronic disease through strategies that create healthy places and policies and empower individuals and families to prevent, manage, and treat their chronic illness.

Safe Routes to School

The city of Tigard is working hard to become the most walkable community in the Pacific Northwest where people of all ages and abilities can enjoy healthy and interconnected lives. In 2017, the city took advantage of Safe Routes to School grant funding to develop programs that would improve the safety and enjoyment of walking and biking to school for students and their families.

The grant funding that Tigard and several other communities received is the result of years of steady work and partnership to direct much-needed resources from Metro’s Regional Travel Options (RTO) grant program to Safe Routes to School. Kaiser Permanente’s financial support laid the foundation for the Safe Routes to School National Partnership to strengthen its advocacy work, resulting in more funding for local walk/bike-to-school programs for many years to come.

“Safe Routes to School initiatives show the power of bringing public and private organizations together to create more active communities. The work we do is about more than bicycling and walking to school. It’s also about creating policies that ensure long-lasting health equity for those in the community who have been historically marginalized by transportation decisions.”
— Kari Schlosshauer, Pacific Northwest senior policy manager, Safe Routes to School National Partnership


Students from Mary Woodward Elementary School participated in a “Walk and Bike to School Day” poster contest.


Other ways Kaiser Permanente has addressed chronic disease prevention and treatment in 2017:

900+ elementary students in Cowlitz County received lessons in school gardens as part of our Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) Communities initiative

40 cities across Oregon actively promoted the health of residents and city employees through community improvements initiated as part of the HEAL Cities campaign

10 years of partnership with the City of Portland to bring Sunday Parkways to neighborhoods each summer, opening streets and parks to 100,000+ people of all ages and backgrounds in 2017 alone

$93,000 in grants provided to 53 schools across the region to inspire a lifelong love of movement and physical activity, thanks to a partnership with Nike and the Northwest Health Foundation

20 schools across the Northwest region received national recognition awards from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation for their participation in the Kaiser Permanente-funded Healthy Schools Program




Life can throw a lot at us sometimes. So, it’s important not only that we protect our physical health and well-being, but that we find strength and resilience to meet life’s challenges and opportunities in body, mind, and spirit.

Kaiser Permanente understands that good health care requires that we recognize the social and emotional challenges that individuals and communities are experiencing. We are working to improve the mental health and resilience of our communities through trauma-sensitive systems of care and prevention efforts, addiction treatment programs, and the integration of physical and mental health care in clinical and community settings.

Housing For Health Initiative

For people experiencing mental health challenges or struggling with addictions, sometimes paying the rent or even finding a safe, secure place to live can be out of reach. Sadly, too many of our community members end up homeless or at risk of losing their housing.

In 2016, Kaiser Permanente awarded nearly $2.3 million to seven nonprofit organizations actively working with community members to get them the health care and social services they need and help them find and keep permanent housing. By employing peers and community health workers, bringing together housing and health care providers, and advocating for increased funding and services, these community organizations are already making great strides. In just the first six months of the initiative, 128 individuals were given access to such services as addiction treatment, mental health support, vocation rehabilitation, primary care services, and parenting support, and 53 people were provided with safe, stable housing.

“When I think of our biggest successes with this project, I think of a client who was so suspicious of us that for the first year she wouldn’t even tell us her name. Now, she is steps away from getting housing. It’s all because of the relationship our peer support specialist was able to build with her, that eventually allowed her to trust us.”
— Margi Dechenne, Housing Transitions program manager, Catholic Charities of Oregon



Other ways Kaiser Permanente improved mental health and wellness in our communities in 2017:

Unity Center for Behavioral Health opened in early 2017 after years of planning and significant contributions by Kaiser Permanente, Legacy Health, Adventist Health, and Oregon Health & Science University

531 students and their families helped through attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) assessments and care provided by Virginia Garcia School-Based Health Centers and behavioral health funding by Kaiser Permanente

6 organizations providing peer support for people needing mental health or addiction treatment services were funded by Kaiser Permanente

19,000 students and 1,100 adults served through Kaiser Permanente’s Educational Theatre Program through Oregon Children’s Theatre, which offered workshops and productions designed to educate about mental health and well-being

12,600 students benefited from positive, inclusive play through Playworks programming in 28 elementary schools in 10 districts across 2 states



Oral health icon

Oral Health

Oral health is an often-neglected aspect of our general state of health and well-being. Conditions of the mouth, teeth, gums, and throat — from dental caries to cancer — cause pain and disability that have been shown to lead to a whole array of other health problems.

Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to improving the quality and access to affordable oral health care and assuring that attention to oral health is an integrated component of primary care in all of our community and clinical settings.

Community Dental Access Programs

The Free Clinic of Southwest Washington helped spread more healthy smiles to residents of Clark County, Washington, in 2017, thanks in large part to a partnership with Kaiser Permanente and our team of dental care providers. Through the partnership, low-income and under/uninsured residents in need of urgent dental care were able to access free services at various times throughout the year.

Individuals were provided with care either through Free Clinic’s screening and referrals of patients to Kaiser Permanente dental offices or through a series of community dental clinics offered on Saturdays. In 2017 alone, these dental access programs through Free Clinic provided care to 112 people in the community — a value of more than $67,000 in donated care.

“For the first time in years, health care professionals treated me with respect. I can’t say enough about how great they are.”
— Larry, a dental patient of Free Clinic of Southwest Washington


A child receives dental care from the Free Clinic of Southwest Washington.


Other ways Kaiser Permanente supported greater oral health in 2017:


$207,102 in free dental care provided to a total of 359 people through 11 free, one-day dental care events held across the region

73 Permanente dental associates volunteered in 106 community events to support free dental care

10 scholarships totaling $31,000 were provided to students studying for dental careers through our Community Health Careers initiative

20,000 screenings and over 21,000 sealants provided across 22 counties through support of the Oregon Children’s Dental Health Initiative for school-based oral health services



Kaiser Permanente Community Fund icon

Kaiser Permanente Community Fund

We know that it is often the social, political, and economic conditions in communities that have the potential to create or inhibit health. These systems have to be aligned in such a way that they maximize opportunity for people if they are to contribute to long-term health.

The Kaiser Permanente Community Fund at Northwest Health Foundation (KPCF) has been at the forefront of this movement in our region for more than a decade. By making thoughtful investments in our communities, KPCF has helped bring together organizations working across different sectors of society, building their capacity to collaborate and serve in the best interest of communities so that individuals and families can truly thrive.

In 2017, KPCF initiated the UnWind program with a focused investment in developing a cohort of community leaders ready to address the challenges in their communities with innovative, life-giving solutions. A strong emphasis is being placed on supporting leaders coming from communities of color. Through a series of intentional retreats, self-care learnings, and relationship-building opportunities offered over the two years, UnWind hopes to cultivate a people-powered movement of community leaders whose vision, skill, and insight can bring about a vibrant, healthy future for Northwest residents.




Kaiser Permanente works in close collaboration with our community partners to identify opportunities for advancing positive, sustainable change in the environments where people live, learn, work, and play. We value our partnerships with local safety net clinics and community nonprofit organizations, nonprofit board service, and employee volunteerism as vital ways of supporting health in the community.

We believe that the process of building healthy communities works best when all community stakeholders are invited to the table. Kaiser Permanente is intentional about creating opportunities for listening and open conversation with community partners. Our community engagement process is key to how we determine our community benefit investments and initiatives.

Health Equity Community Tour

As the often-quoted statement goes, “Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” Such wisdom reminds us that we cannot hope for a healthy and equitable future for all people if we are unaware of the roots of racism, discrimination, and displacement that are part of our communal history.

In January 2017, Kaiser Permanente and the Fair Housing Council of Oregon sought to explore those historical roots more deeply by partnering on a bus tour aimed at raising awareness about Portland’s history of discriminatory practices, particularly as they relate to housing. The goal was to provide a broad historical context for the challenges facing Portland's communities of color and greater insight into the roots of the health disparities that exist in our community. The tour visited several sites throughout Portland and featured personal stories from presenters who have experienced the effects of community racism first-hand. After the tour, participants took part in facilitated discussions to share their reactions, personal stories, and perspectives on the meaning of this history as it relates to the experience of health disparities today.

“Eliminating health disparities in communities of color is an important goal of Kaiser Permanente. Morally it is the right thing for us to be doing. It is also important for showing that our model of care can ensure good health outcomes for all people. We are not there yet but we are taking significant steps to close the gaps.”
— Tracy Dannen-Grace, director, Community Partnerships and Philanthropy, Kaiser Permanente


Kaiser Permanente employees learn about the history of Japanese internment during World War II.


Other ways our clinicians and employees give back to the community:

$758,000 in grants given to community-based organizations where Kaiser Permanente volunteers spend their time

$1.1 million donated to community organizations through our annual workplace giving campaign

32% of Kaiser Permanente employees are active and volunteering in the community

700+ individuals across 45 community service sites volunteered during our Annual MLK Days of Service event






More than $138,707,507

in total community investments

  • $113,521,241 in care for low-income people
    • Medical Financial Assistance program
    • Medicaid program
    • Child Health Program
    • Grants and donations for care and coverage
  • $4,123,197 in safety net partnerships
    • Safety net programs and services
    • Grants and donations for community clinics and other safety net providers
  • $3,695,933 in community health initiatives
    • Community health initiatives programs and services
    • Thriving Schools initiative
    • Grants and donations for community-based prevention
  • $13,890,634 in research and education
    • Educational Theatre Program through Oregon Children’s Theatre
    • Community Health Careers initiative
    • Graduate Medical Program
    • Center for Health Research support
    • Grants and donations for health care professional training and education
  • $3,476,502 in community engagement
    • Employee engagement programs
    • Nonprofit organization capacity-building
    • Strategic partnerships with nonprofit organizations
    • Community Benefit activities
    • Grants and donations for access, education, and economic opportunity