December 23, 2019

2020 Rose Parade® float celebrates the courage to reimagine

Kaiser Permanente’s float showcases a reimagined vision of total health for all.

PASADENA, Calif. — Kaiser Permanente’s 2020 Rose Parade® float theme, “Courage to Reimagine,” showcases our vision and commitment to creating a joyful and healthy world, and to making a lasting impact on the health of individuals and communities everywhere. It also embodies the 2020 Tournament of Roses® parade theme, “The Power of Hope,” which celebrates the influence of optimism and hope.

Kaiser Permanente’s float theme, “Courage to Reimagine,” draws its inspiration from the book, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” written by author L. Frank Baum and illustrated by W.W. Denslow. This classic tale, first published in 1900, is a story that was written with an innovative lens to transcend stereotypes and reimagine what the world could be if imagined differently.

“In honor of Kaiser Permanente’s 75th anniversary, the float highlights our founders’ vision to reimagine a world with endless possibilities — where dreams for a better future can become reality,” said Julie Miller-Phipps, regional president for Kaiser Permanente in Southern California. “At Kaiser Permanente, our dream is a world where total health is achieved, where everyone has access to high-quality affordable health care and leads healthy and joyful lives.”

The 2020 float will consist of the memorable characters Dorothy, Tin Woodman, Lion, Scarecrow, and the Great Wizard of Oz. These reimagined characters symbolize a vision of health, expert medical care, and the power of imagination. They demonstrate how partnering together leads to the road of bright futures.

At Kaiser Permanente, physicians and employees partner every day to ensure the health of our members and the surrounding communities. This year’s float will include 12 float riders who represent the medical excellence offered throughout the nation where Kaiser Permanente provides medical care. Additionally, there are 24 “out-walkers” alongside the float who include Kaiser Permanente employees, physicians, and members who embody the float’s theme, “Courage to Reimagine.”

Float participants will be joined by the award-winning Lula Washington Dance Theatre, a Los Angeles-based repertoire dance ensemble that performs innovative and provocative choreography by Lula Washington. The dance ensemble is known for its national and international uses of dance to explore social and humanitarian issues, including aspects of African American history and culture. Lula Washington Dance Theatre is also a long-time grantee and community partner of Kaiser Permanente.

The 12 Kaiser Permanente float riders:

Columbus D. Batiste II, MD, (Tin Woodman), is a chief of cardiology in Riverside County, California. Dr. Batiste exemplifies the courage to reimagine heart health through the groundbreaking virtual cardiac rehab program he leads in his region. The program uses technology through a smart watch and a virtual dashboard to track patients’ progress of their prescribed exercise regimen. It shares information between patients and clinicians via monitoring devices. Patients also receive traditional health education, counseling, and behavioral and lifestyle risk reduction techniques.

Suketu M. Khandhar, MD, (Scarecrow), is a neurologist in Sacramento, California. Dr. Khandhar’s courage to reimagine is exemplified by his work in the launch of a multi-disciplinary clinic for those with Huntington’s disease, a neurogenetic disorder, giving compassionate support and encouragement to vulnerable patients who suffer from this incurable disease.

Lindia Willies-Jacobo, MD, (Great Wizard of Oz), is the associate dean for admissions at the Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine, which will welcome its inaugural class in the summer of 2020. She believes that the courage to reimagine the future of medical care has led to the development of the school of medicine’s trailblazing approach to medical education. The school’s mission is to provide a world-class medical education that ignites a passion for learning, a desire to serve, and an unwavering commitment to improve the health and well-being of patients and communities.   

Wendy Smith, (Dorothy), is an urgent care nurse at the Cascade Park Medical Offices in Kaiser Permanente of the Northwest. Smith has the courage to reimagine new homes for hundreds of neglected and abused farm animals as the co-founder and director of Odd Man Inn Animal Refuge. The organization provides educational opportunities to the community to address the positive environmental and social impacts we make with our everyday choices. It works with local schools to help children complete community service projects, and with community farmers and retailers to reduce waste by collecting discarded produce to upcycle into nutritious meals for animals.

Magali Armenta, (Emerald City Person), is a 29-year-old Kaiser Permanente member who believes the courage to reimagine health care and a new way of living began when she arrived at Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center, unaware that she was having a stroke. She was facing the possibility of being bed-ridden. However, she credits the innovative use of Kaiser Permanente’s telestroke system, the cutting-edge clinical trial stroke team that diagnosed a very rare pulmonary arteriovenous malformation, and the treatment received at the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center Comprehensive Stroke Center with being able to walk again and participate in an intense physical rehabilitation program.

Neeraj Mendiratta, MD, (Emerald City Person), is a service chief of continuum care/complex care. Dr. Mendiratta has the courage to reimagine by providing care to the sickest and most vulnerable patients through a home health program he leads at Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States. Patients in this program (and their families) can directly contact their doctor 24-7 via the physician’s personal cell phone with a voice call, a secure text message, or video. Through this program, doctors meet their patients where they are when care is needed, efficiently coordinating their care and developing a comprehensive actionable treatment plan.

Christine Krueger, (Townsperson), is a technical writer who lives in Colorado. Her courage to reimagine is inspired by taking charge of her total health following a weight loss surgery through which she lost 150 pounds. She encourages others to reimagine their health by staying active to live happy and healthier lives.

Shelley Farr, (Townsperson), is a human resources talent strategy consultant for Kaiser Permanente in the state of Washington. Farr’s courage to reimagine carries on Kaiser Permanente’s rich history of diversity and inclusion through ongoing hiring practices that exemplify a workforce where underrepresented populations have the opportunity to secure the jobs they’ve always dreamed of in health care.

Michael S. Castillo, (Townsperson), is a home health rehabilitation services supervisor at Kaiser Permanente Antioch Medical Center in Northern California. He feels the total joint replacement program is an example of the courage to reimagine life 24 hours after surgery. This pioneering program that leverages Kaiser Permanente’s integrated system and coordinated care model improves efficiency, effectiveness, and safety for patients undergoing elective knee and hip joint replacement procedures.

Michelle Wofford, (Townsperson), is a 42-year-old Kaiser Permanente member who feels her courage to reimagine health care happened after a significant health scare led her to enroll in Kaiser Permanente’s virtual cardiac rehab program when she had a stent placed to open a blocked artery in her heart. Wofford describes the virtual program’s weekly contact with a nurse, tracking progress through a smart watch or phone app, and prescribed physical activity and access to numerous nutrition classes as “life-changing to avoid going down a path I could not come back from.”

Bertha Loaiza, (Townsperson), is an appointment center service representative in El Cajon, California. She has the courage to reimagine her life by surviving after her mother jumped off the Coronado Bridge in San Diego and died by suicide while holding Bertha, age 3 at the time, in her arms. Today, Loaiza has dedicated much of her life to help promote the importance of good mental health within the Latino community, and to reduce the stigma surrounding discussion of this topic in this community.

Rapheal Cain, (Townsperson), is a licensed vocational nurse in Georgia. The courage to reimagine how people receive care has been a driving force for the work that Cain does daily. He has implemented birthday songs for patients at his local medical center, so that every patient feels celebrated on their special day. In addition, Cain advocated for and ultimately secured a water filtration system to be installed at his medical office, so patients could have access to purified water to take their medication. Cain has also made it easier for patients to find their way to the exit at the Crescent Medical Center. He created footprints that lead to the exit so that no patient gets lost.

Float designer and builder

“Courage to Reimagine,” Kaiser Permanente’s 15th Rose Parade float entry, was designed and built by Fiesta Parade Floats. From the magical front of the float where characters Dorothy, Lion, Scarecrow, and Tin Woodman welcome you to a wonderland, the village comes to life with oversized colorful blossoms amid quaint shops and buildings that include a library to exercise your brain (Scarecrow), a vegetable stand for heart-healthy foods (Tin Woodman), and a school (representing innovation and symbolization of Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine) where the Dorothys of the world can receive their future education.

Kaiser Permanente Rose Parade history and background

Kaiser Permanente’s past float entries have received numerous awards, including the Grand Marshal’s Trophy (2016); Judges’ Special Trophy for the most spectacular in showmanship and dramatic impact (2015); Theme Trophy for excellence in presenting the parade theme (2013); Lathrop K. Leishman Trophy for the most beautiful float entry from a non-commercial sponsor (2014, 2012); Director's Trophy for most artistic merit in design and floral presentation (2011, 2008, 2006); Extraordinaire Trophy for the "most spectacular" float longer than 55 feet (2010); Tournament Special Trophy for exceptional merit in multiple classifications (2009); and President's Trophy for most effective floral use and presentation (2007).

For additional information about the 2020 Rose Parade, please visit the Tournament of Roses website. For more information about the Kaiser Permanente Rose Parade Float, “Courage to Reimagine,” please follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 12.2 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health.