December 20, 2023

Championing inclusivity at the Fall Games

Kaiser Permanente celebrates inclusion at Special Olympics Southern California Fall Games.

More than 700 athletes competed in the Special Olympics Southern California Fall Games, including Parker White (pictured), a softball player.

More than 102 Kaiser Permanente employees and physicians joined 6,000 spectators to support 700 athletes competing for medals and ribbons at Special Olympics Southern California’s 2023 Fall Games.

Showing up for our partner

Since 2018, Kaiser Permanente has been a proud partner of Special Olympics Southern California — helping to ensure people with intellectual disabilities have access to the resources necessary to achieve their full health potential. Every year, more of our physicians and employees demonstrate their commitment to building healthy communities by volunteering with the organization. They serve as board members, medical volunteers, coaches, and event volunteers.

“Everyone at Kaiser Permanente plays a role in supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion,” said Margie Harrier, senior vice president and area manager of Kaiser Permanente South Bay Medical Center and board member for Special Olympics Southern California. “We are proud to see all the ways our physicians and employees are fostering inclusive communities for people with intellectual disabilities.”

Before the Fall Games, athletes from across Southern California train and compete in golf, soccer, volleyball, softball, and tennis. Their hard work is then on display at the Fall Games in Fountain Valley, California. Over the 2-day competition, our volunteers were on hand to help with sports activities and cheer on athletes from the sidelines.

“Regardless of the results, the goal is to raise awareness,” said Maria Reyda Roxas, addiction medicine nurse counselor for Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center, who has been volunteering since 2018. She often encourages friends and family to join her. “Special Olympics is a movement. The athletes are uniting people from diverse backgrounds to promote inclusion.”

Providing medical support and improving health and well-being

According to Special Olympics, approximately 6.5 million people in the United States have an intellectual disability. Unfortunately, people with intellectual disabilities are one of the largest and most medically underserved populations. As the official health partner of Special Olympics Southern California, Kaiser Permanente remains committed to changing this situation. We provide medical support to athletes throughout the year at sporting events and other organized events.

For the Fall Games, Aaron Rubin, MD, a physician at Kaiser Permanente Fontana Medical Center and chief medical officer for Special Olympics Southern California, assembled physicians and other medical volunteers to provide care at the event.

“It’s an honor to work in partnership with Special Olympics Southern California,” said Dr. Rubin. “Together, we are fostering inclusion and striving to change the health outcomes for people with intellectual disabilities.”

For pictures of the 2023 Fall Games, view the Special Olympics Southern California’s Flickr albums. To get involved with Special Olympics Southern California, visit