Kaiser Permanente awards $279,000 in grants to improve health across the state

Kaiser Permanente Hawaii announced that it has selected five community organizations to receive grants to improve access to quality health care, nutrition and health education across the state.

“Kaiser Permanente is always striving to deliver the message of total health caring for the mind, body and spirit  in innovative and impactful ways,” said Joy Barua, senior director of Government and Community Relations & Community Benefit at Kaiser Permanente Hawaii. “Our community partnerships allow us to deliver this message through educational theater, policy initiatives, and research.”

The following recipients will be awarded a combined total of more than $279,000 in community benefit funds:

University of Hawaii Foundation and the Hawaii Initiative for Childhood Obesity Research and Education received $95,000 to promote water consumption as a healthy alternative to sugary beverages as part of the Hawaii 5210 program. Schools will “earn” water-bottle filling stations through the adoption of policies that reduce or eliminate sugary beverage consumption. The program is a part of Kaiser Permanente’s Thriving Schools effort and will provide 12,500 students in 13 Maui schools and 14 Oahu schools with refillable water stations.

Hawaii Public Health Institute received $80,000 to research county-specific health policy priorities, conduct policy and advocacy trainings, and develop a health policy agenda to be distributed to lawmakers prior to the 2018 legislative session start. Priority topics include: healthy eating, increasing physical activity, promoting oral health, increasing immunization rates, decreasing tobacco use, and protecting the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which provides invaluable funding for the state of Hawaii’s public health agencies.

The Kohala Center was awarded $60,000 to expand its farm-to-school pilot program, now in its second phase, to increase access and effectiveness of school nutrition programs for underserved families. The Kohala Center will implement USDA child nutrition programs, improve nutritional quality and taste of student meals, and source locally procured meals. The program is expected to benefit 2,500 students at nine schools on Hawaii Island; 71 percent of students at these schools qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.

Honolulu Theatre for Youth received $25,000 to bring educational theater to more than 16,000 preschool children in Hawaii. The program will promote emotional and behavioral health through original theatrical productions designed specifically for preschool children. The initiative will integrate core behavioral health concepts into two theatrical productions, “Ouch!” and “The Red Balloon,” focusing on empathy for others and effective communication for emotional and physical pain. Parents, teachers, students and staff from ten schools across the state will engage in interactive workshops and classroom activities related to behavioral health education.

The Hawaii State Rural Health Association was awarded $19,750 to expand its Extension for Community Health Outcomes program, developed to address barriers to health care access and workforce shortages by bringing behavioral health skills and resources to primary care providers in rural and underserved areas. The organization will train 20 primary-care providers, psychologists, social and case workers, psychiatrists and pharmacists that serve low-income, rural and underserved communities. Participants will earn continuing medical education credit and training is free at virtual ECHO clinics.

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 by Henry J. Kaiser, and in Hawaii since 1958, 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. 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 Hawaii is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education, community health, and providing patient-centered total health for the people and communities of Hawaii. For more information, go to: kp.org/share.