June 29, 2023

Special Olympics athletes go for the gold

Kaiser Permanente celebrated its sixth year as official health partner of Special Olympics Southern California at the 2023 Summer Games.

Sean Logan, a Special Olympics athlete, completed the 50-meter dash in front of an enthusiastic crowd.

More than 80 Kaiser Permanente physicians and employees rallied to support Special Olympics Southern California athletes at the 2023 Summer Games, the first in-person Summer Games since 2019.

Kaiser Permanente is proud to partner with Special Olympics Southern California to provide medical support to individuals with intellectual disabilities, one of the largest and most medically underserved populations. By teaming up with Special Olympics Southern California and supporting events like the Summer Games, our employees and physicians help to foster greater understanding and inclusive communities for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

To help kick off the Summer Games, Kaiser Permanente supported 2,000 Southern California law enforcement officers who participated in the Law Enforcement Torch Run. Employees and physicians joined athletes, families, and supporters to cheer on law enforcement officers and other runners as they escorted the symbolic torch across Southern California. Three Kaiser Permanente facilities — Chino Hills Regional Reference Laboratories, West Los Angeles Medical Center, and Woodland Hills Medical Center — served as significant waypoints along the torch-run route, reinforcing Kaiser Permanente’s dedication to inclusive communities and health equity.

Three individuals holding signs with messages of encouragement in front of a medical facility.

Left to right: Lourdes E. Valdez, Lilit Zibari, and Kirk Tamaddon, MD, cheered on torch runners as they passed Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center.

When the torch finally made its way to California State University, Long Beach, the games officially began. Kaiser Permanente employees and physicians were among the 6,000 people who showed up to support athletes competing for gold, silver, and bronze medals and ribbons. Over 2 days, our volunteers were on hand to help with sports activities, cheer on athletes from the sidelines, and speak with attendees about Kaiser Permanente and Special Olympics Southern California’s shared vision to improve the health of local communities. As the official health partner of Special Olympics Southern California, Kaiser Permanente also provided medical support to the more than 800 athletes from across Southern California competing in track and field, flag football, basketball, bocce, and swimming.

Aaron Rubin, MD, family and sports medicine physician for the Kaiser Permanente Fontana and Ontario medical centers and chief medical officer for Special Olympics Southern California, assembled the physicians and other medical volunteers. He was assisted by Ramin Zolfagari, MD, chief of anesthesiology in Kaiser Permanente Orange County, and member of the board of directors for Special Olympics Southern California.

“It’s an honor to work with an organization that shares our commitment to caring for those with intellectual disabilities,” said Dr. Rubin. “The Special Olympics strives to foster acceptance and inclusion of all people, and we are proud to partner with them and promote their great work.”   

For pictures of the 2023 Summer Games, view the Special Olympics Southern California’s Flickr albums. If you’d like to get involved with the Special Olympics, visit sosc.org/volunteer