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As we release our 2019 Community Health Snapshot amid the global COVID-19 pandemic and a renewed struggle for racial equity and social justice across the United States, we recognize our communities face significant, unprecedented challenges. This is a critical time for the health of our nation.
The public health crisis brought on by the pandemic and the response around the world to the tragic killing of George Floyd are shining a spotlight on what we already know. Systemic racism and lack of economic opportunities prevent communities of color, especially Black communities, from creating the conditions and environments people need to achieve total health. The pandemic is also clearly demonstrating the health inequities that exist in our nation, with data showing that Latinx and Black Americans are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and its economic impacts.
As a nonprofit organization with a 75-year history of equity and inclusion and an unwavering commitment to the health of the communities we serve, we understand that supporting the needs of underserved communities is more important than ever. In 2019, we invested $1.37 billion in improving the health of our Northern California communities, including nearly $235 million to ensure people in need have access to care through our charitable health coverage and medical financial assistance programs.
We also focused on addressing the root causes of health: housing more than 500 homeless seniors in Oakland, investing in affordable housing; food security; economic opportunity in underserved communities; mental health and wellness in schools; and a healthy environment.
While we are proud of our work in 2019, we know it would not have been possible without the collaboration of government leaders and a host of community partners. We will continue to work together as we face the formidable community health challenges in the days ahead.
Kaiser Permanente is well positioned in this effort, supporting our communities and taking a comprehensive approach toward prevention of and recovery from COVID-19. As you will see in this report, we have also pledged to address systemic racism and the lack of economic opportunities that have prevented communities of color from achieving total health.
We are committed to using our expertise, reach, and resources to help build healthier and more equitable communities.
President, Kaiser Permanente Northern California
Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plan
Vice President, External & Community Affairs
Kaiser Permanente Northern California