We invest and get involved in Colorado so we can improve community health and vitality. Our programs seek to improve issues such as access to health care, public health concerns such as obesity, enhancing health knowledge and future health workforce, health disparities, and our state’s general vitality given the ongoing economic climate.
We’re committed to providing resources to help the most vulnerable people in our communities and to focus on efforts in the following areas and programs:
A key component of our work in the community is done through innovative health education collaborating with schools. We’re committed to creating communities where people can be healthy in all the places they live, learn, work, and play. This is especially important in schools, where better health boosts educational success which leads to better lifelong health, employment, earning potential, and self-confidence.
Thriving Schools is our all-in engagement to improve health for students, staff, and teachers. Our vision is that every community can count on its school as a champion for good health that enables great learning.
For nearly 35 years, in Colorado we have been innovative in using the arts to inspire people to make healthy choices through our Arts Integrated Resources programs. AIR promotes greater community health through educational theatre, dynamic youth engagement projects, and hands-on experiential learning for Coloradans of all ages.
The arts have long been recognized by educators for their power to connect individuals, heal communities, and raise awareness of public health issues. Our AIR programs focus on topics such as nutrition, physical activity, healthy choices, peer pressure, conflict management, bullying prevention, domestic violence, coping with grief and loss, depression, disease, and literacy promotion, as well as drug, alcohol, and substance abuse.
Through the years, more than 3 million people in Colorado have been reached by our complimentary Arts Integrated Resources programs. Learn more about all programs at kp.org/air.
Recently we celebrated our 10-year partnership with Metro State University of Denver. Educational Theatre Internship is a partnership between Arts Integrated Resources and Metro State University of Denver. It allows college theater students to serve as educators and role models of healthy behaviors for elementary school students. Using the theater and storytelling they perform shows that address social and emotional issues, including empathy building and steps to deal with stress. This program is more than acting for students, it’s educating and making a real difference in the lives of kids. Since 2008, this program has reached over 149,210 students/adults; and visited 320 Colorado schools across 32 districts.
Housing stability is a key factor in a person’s overall health and well-being. When individuals and families experience housing instability, they are faced with mental and physical stress and are forced to make hard choices between basic life necessities and paying for health care. With homelessness affecting more than 550,000 people every day throughout our country, the need for safe, stable, and affordable housing has never been greater.
Kaiser Permanente understands the connection between housing and health. In 2018, we announced the creation of a $100 million RxHome Loan Fund in partnership with Enterprise Community Solutions. The fund provides debt financing for affordable housing development and preservation of multifamily housing in Kaiser Permanente’s service area. Loans are provided by the Enterprise Community Loan Fund; the maximum loan amount is $5 million for up to 8 years. Interested developers should email firstname.lastname@example.org
Kaiser Permanente provided a $3 million grant to support Community Solutions’ Built for Zero initiative, which uses real-time data to help local leaders better understand the dynamics of homelessness in their communities. Built for Zero enables communities to adopt problem-solving tools and technologies to end homelessness and the conditions that create it.
The Metro Denver Continuum of Care became a Built for Zero community in 2015. Additional Colorado communities interested in becoming a Built for Zero community can learn more.
We seek to advance health and quality of care through research, education, and training.
Research is an essential part of what it means to be an evidence-based organization and we are part of one of the largest health research organizations of its kind in the country. Our long history of conducting health services and medical research has addressed issues regarding health care policy, quality of care, and quality of life.
In 1992, we established the Institute for Health Research in Colorado to develop and disseminate research knowledge to the public, particularly when the results of the project have applicability to community health and clinical practice.
The vision of IHR is to improve the health of members, the community, and the nation through health care and policy research. The mission of IHR is to conduct research that can be translated into clinical practice, health promotion, and policies to influence the health of individuals and populations. IHR is organized as an integrated, multidisciplinary research department with the necessary scientific and administrative resources to carry out the mission in a highly effective and compliant manner.
Because of our long-standing commitment to medical education, we strategically create a diverse workforce by developing residents from under-represented backgrounds.
Residents and students come from clinical affiliates, including the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and Rocky Vista University. The resident and student rotations are provided through outpatient safety net clinic and inpatient hospital rotations in partnership with Saint Joseph Hospital.
Our nursing training programs offer a wide variety of educational and training opportunities for all levels of nursing experience. These programs provide participants an opportunity to gain specialized knowledge in nursing and clinical assisting. Specifically, our nursing departments support local nursing licensed practical nurse, registered nurse, nurse practitioner, master’s in nursing and doctor of nursing practice programs by providing clinical rotations for students.
Other nonphysician training programs include a variety of medical disciplines. Each discipline is exposed to a custom training program based on the skills needed post-graduation. The following are the programs in 2 categories: allied health professionals and pharmacy professionals.
Allied Health Professionals
Plus, we sponsor the following community-based programs for low-income residents and students:
Arrupé Jesuit High School Corporate Work Study Program (CWSP)
Arrupé Jesuit High School is a Catholic college preparatory, grade 9 through 12 high school serving economically disadvantaged students from Denver’s inner-city neighborhoods. Arrupé offers hope for a brighter future to some of Denver’s disadvantaged youth, who often are the first in their families to attend college.
Diversity Scholarship Program
The Diversity Scholarship Program was created as a community outreach effort to financially support diverse students pursuing an education for any health career. The objectives are to address the shortage of diverse health care and public health professionals, and to ensure the future of medical care is culturally responsive.
As a large, influential institution in our communities, we recognize that the way we do business can support economic opportunity in local communities when we are intentional about how we hire, purchase, build our facilities, and partner with communities.
Here are some ways that we’re helping revitalize and grow our communities by strengthening economic opportunity:
Active living is defined as integrating into daily routines physical activity such as walking, bicycling, or wheelchair rolling for occupational or purposeful (transportation) reasons. A lifestyle that includes exercise and being in nature improves a person’s physical and mental health. Exercise can foster social connections, especially for older adults.
However, a healthy lifestyle is the exception rather than the rule for many residents of our communities. More than half of adults are overweight or obese, putting them at higher risk for costly and debilitating diseases such as cancer and diabetes. The Colorado communities we serve have fewer per capita grocery stores and WIC-authorized outlets and more fast food restaurants than the nation overall. One quarter of residents live in food deserts, with limited access to fresh foods while more than 1 in 10 are food insecure.
We partner with communities to create environments, programs and policies that support physical activity and access to healthy, affordable foods through grantmaking, internal programs, and partnerships. Healthy eating and active living is also a flagship public health priority for Colorado and a top priority of local public health agencies.
We believe it is our obligation as a health care provider to minimize our environmental impact. We work to be environmentally responsible throughout our organization — in how we power our facilities, purchase food and medical supplies and equipment, manage waste, and invest in our communities. We also prioritize partnerships with others to develop policies and systems that strengthen community health and protect our environment.
In addition to investing financially in our state’s communities, we’re also committed to providing other Kaiser Permanente Colorado assets and resources to improve community health and overall vibrancy, including the time, talents, and expertise of more than 7,000 employees and physicians.
Every year, our employees provide thousands of hours of volunteerism to help with nonprofit efforts and community projects. These volunteer activities range from refurbishing schools to planting trees in parks to interacting with youth and seniors to supporting community walks/runs and much more. Kaiser Permanente Colorado provides our employees with an innovative volunteer release policy that allows them up to 96 hours per year to volunteer at qualifying nonprofit projects. We also have a volunteer program to place physicians at community clinics.