PASADENA, Calif. — Kaiser Permanente Southern California has signed a three-year agreement as the “Official Health Partner” for Special Olympics Southern California. In yesterday’s contract signing, the two entities acknowledged their shared vision and commitment to diversity, inclusion and total health for individuals and communities.
“There are many reasons why this partnership works,” said Julie Miller-Phipps, president of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals, Inc., for the Southern California Region. “Special Olympics Southern California has led the charge in transforming lives through the joy of sport for people with intellectual disabilities and in doing so they have reached, touched and taught the public about the importance of inclusion and acceptance of each other’s differences. We believe that by actively supporting and participating in SOSC events, we can strengthen and spread further a message of understanding and respect for children and adults with intellectual disabilities throughout the communities we serve.”
“Improving the health and wellness of individuals with intellectual disabilities is one of Special Olympics Southern California’s goals,” said Bill Shumard, president and CEO of Special Olympics Southern California. “With Kaiser Permanente as a teammate, we’ll be able to transform even more lives through health education, health promotion and health care. We look forward to partnering with them over the years."
As part of the commitment, Kaiser Permanente has appointed Southern California Permanente Medical Group Family and Sports Medicine physician, Aaron Rubin, MD, to serve as the official chief medical officer for SOSC.
“Providing exceptional care to the communities we serve is part of what drives our physicians at Kaiser Permanente. The inspiring Special Olympics athletes will receive the highest standard of medical expertise and sideline care from our Permanente physicians, led by Dr. Aaron Rubin. SOSC can rest assured that their athletes are in good hands with him at the helm,” said Edward M. Ellison, MD, executive medical director for the Southern California Permanente Medical Group.
Dr. Rubin, who previously served as medical director of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles, will oversee approximately 40 Southern California Permanente Medical Group physicians and medical support staff at the games, providing sideline medical care and ongoing medical care to the athletes and SOSC over the next three years. The medical team will also assist SOSC’s Healthy Athletes, a program that provides free health screening to all SOSC athletes.
Kaiser Permanente staff and physicians will volunteer at SOSC competitions throughout the year, including the 2018 Summer Games on June 9 and 10 at California State University, Long Beach. More than 1,100 athletes from across Southern California will compete for gold, silver and bronze medals and ribbons. The Games feature four sports: track and field, basketball, bocce and swimming, and will introduce a new sport, flag football. The Games are free and open to the public. Learn more at www.sosc.org/summergames.
Special Olympics Southern California enriches the lives of more than 34,500 athletes with intellectual disabilities and their communities through sports, leadership and health programs. Founded in 1969 by Olympic decathlon gold medalist Rafer Johnson, Special Olympics Southern California provides free year-round sports training and competitions to children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Participation develops improved physical fitness and motor skills and greater self-confidence. Special Olympics has become the world’s largest movement dedicated to promoting respect, acceptance, inclusion and human dignity for people with intellectual disabilities. Using sports as the catalyst and programming around health and education, Special Olympics is fighting inactivity, injustice and intolerance. As a result, people with intellectual disabilities become accepted and valued members of their communities, which leads to a more respectful and inclusive society for all. Special Olympics Southern California has earned a 4-star ranking from Charity Navigator for exceeding industry standards. This ranking is the highest Charity Navigator offers to an organization and is given because Special Olympics has demonstrated strong financial health and a commitment to accountability and transparency. Learn how you can get involved at www.sosc.org.
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 more than 12 million members in 8 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.