In 2021, Kaiser Permanente continued to respond urgently to the staggering health and economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on the communities we serve.
Together with our partners, we addressed the most critical health needs in our community: COVID-19 prevention and vaccination; food, housing, and economic security; and mental health and wellness. We prioritized support of low-income communities and communities of color, who continue to bear an unequal burden from the pandemic.
Protecting hard-hit communities
COVID-19 vaccines became widely available in 2021, but some communities hard hit by the pandemic faced barriers to getting vaccinated. Kaiser Permanente collaborated with public health departments, community health centers, and other trusted community and faith partners to address vaccine concerns and make it easy for people to get vaccinated.
Kaiser Permanente funding helped community partners to do vaccine outreach and education in communities with low vaccination rates and to vaccinate thousands of people at convenient pop-up vaccine clinics. Our support included grants to School Health Clinics of Santa Clara County, Asian Americans for Community Involvement, Indian Health Center of Santa Clara Valley, Redwood City Together, Coastside Hope on the San Mateo County coast, and United Way of Santa Cruz.
Providing critical support for social health needs
Good health requires more than high-quality medical care. Social health factors such as having enough healthy food and a safe place to live are also essential. As the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic wears on, Kaiser Permanente is intensifying efforts to meet the critical social health needs of our community.
We supported Second Harvest Silicon Valley’s distribution of free, nutritious food to low-income students and their families in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. We also provided funding to The Health Trust’s Meals on Wheels program to deliver nutritious, hot meals to homebound, older adults in Santa Clara County. In Santa Cruz County, we provided a $500,000 grant to Housing Matters that will help fund construction of 120 studio apartments for chronically homeless individuals.
Improving access to mental health care
Against the backdrop of a national shortage of mental health care professionals, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated mental health needs in the community. In response, Kaiser Permanente is using its resources, reach, and partnerships to improve access to community mental health services and expand the mental health workforce pipeline.
Our funding included a grant to Adolescent Counseling Services to provide screenings, therapy, and other support to more than 4,600 youth in San Mateo County, including LGBTQ youth. Our funding also supported Encompass Community Services’ capital campaign to expand its Watsonville treatment center, enabling it to provide residential and outpatient substance use disorder and mental health treatment to an additional 1,300 community members annually.
By the Numbers
and South Bay
Medical Financial Assistance
care and coverage
Youth and adults reached
through Educational Theatre
In grants, donations
and direct support
Medical residents trained
in our Graduate Medical
Community health priorities
As part of our commitment to improve health and health equity in our community, every 3 years we conduct a rigorous and collaborative community health needs assessment. For 2021, Kaiser Permanente identified the following significant health priorities in our Peninsula and South Bay communities.