February 2, 2024

Expanding medical, social, and educational services in Watts

Kaiser Permanente opens medical offices and a new home for the Watts Counseling and Learning Center to bring next-level services to the Southern California community.

Serving 39,000 members, and fostering equity, the new Kaiser Permanente Watts Medical Office Building, opening February 6, advances a legacy of care and community.

Demonstrating Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to community health, racial and economic equity, and the well-being of our members, the new Kaiser Permanente Watts Medical Offices expands the almost 60-year legacy of the Kaiser Permanente Watts Counseling and Learning Center to make a lasting impact on the Watts community in Southern California. The Watts Medical Offices open to patients February 6.

The facility will bring high-quality primary and specialty care services to an estimated 39,000 members, who live and work in the community.

"This building is a true demonstration of Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to the community, and it will take our relationship to the next level in Watts,” said Mitch Winnik, senior vice president and area manager, Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center.

By colocating with the community-facing Watts Counseling and Learning Center on a single campus, this facility will:

  • Improve access to quality health care by providing primary and specialty care, pharmacy, laboratory, and radiology services
  • Provide counseling, educational therapy and enrichment, and outreach services
  • Provide early childhood education
  • Enhance social health and conditions for health and equity

Watch the virtual tour

Entrance picture of the Kaiser Permanente Watts Counseling and Learning Center.
Empowering futures and fostering community well-being. Step into the heart of learning and support at the Kaiser Permanente Watts Counseling and Learning Center.

Building on the legacy of the Watts Counseling and Learning Center

The Kaiser Permanente Watts Counseling and Learning Center was founded in 1967, 2 years after the 1965 Watts uprising. The center’s founding executive director, Bill Coggins, a clinical social worker, engaged extensively with the Watts community. He connected with a group of women known as the “core mothers,” who expressed their aspirations and wanted services for their children. This inspired the Center’s motto “Helping People Grow.”

The center has been providing vital services such as individual and group counseling, behavioral health internship training, educational therapy, college preparation, community outreach, and a nationally accredited preschool education program to residents for almost 60 years without regard to insurance status or ability to pay.

“This expansion will allow the center to increase enrollment in all programs and reach more children and families in the greater Watts area. We are very excited to further the legacy of service and community partnership on which the center was built. We look forward to continuing the conversation with our local schools, community-based organizations, community clinics, churches, and anyone interested in improving the health of the people of Watts,” said Maria T. Aguirre, director of the Kaiser Permanente Watts Counseling and Learning Center.

Addressing health disparities and service deficits 

With a deep commitment to equity, inclusion, and diversity, and a long history of culturally competent care, Kaiser Permanente confronted the historical underinvestment and persistent health disparities in the predominantly African American and Latino neighborhoods in South Los Angeles.

“The construction of the Kaiser Permanente Watts Medical Offices and Kaiser Permanente Watts Counseling and Learning Center is a strategic effort to eliminate health disparities and increase access to health services for the residents of Watts and South Los Angeles,” said JT Lee, MD, area medical director, Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center.

Improving health by investing in community 

The colocation of the Kaiser Permanente Watts Medical Offices and Kaiser Permanente Watts Counseling and Learning Center is not only a commitment to health, but an investment in improving conditions for health in Watts and South Los Angeles.

“This new campus for health and learning stands for Kaiser Permanente’s recognition that good health requires investment in people and community in addition to high-quality health care services,” said John Yamamoto, vice president of Community Health and Government Relations for Kaiser Permanente in Southern California. “From the conception of this project, the goal was to improve health equity by making essential services more accessible, expand the capacity of the center, leverage the construction project and our business practices to spread economic opportunity, and engage the community to cocreate ways to serve the community, as Bill Coggins once did.”

Together, we can create a healthier, more equitable future for the Watts community.