Kaiser Permanente gives $5.2 million to endow Center for Health Equity at UCLA

October 29, 2009

The UCLA School of Public Health has received a $5.2 million gift from Kaiser Permanente to endow the UCLA Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Equity. The center, formerly known as the Center to Eliminate Health Disparities, is dedicated to improving the health of underserved populations through research, community collaboration and leadership development.

"This generous funding from Kaiser Permanente will enable the center to expand its ability to bring critical resources and attention to communities with the greatest needs," said Linda Rosenstock, M.D., M.P.H., dean of the UCLA School of Public Health. "Until now, the center has lacked the core support necessary to most effectively address the unacceptable gaps in health status among some in our communities."

"Kaiser Permanente is deeply committed to addressing issues of social inequality in all communities," said Raymond J. Baxter, Ph.D., senior vice president for community benefit, research and health policy at Kaiser Permanente. "Our investment in the UCLA Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Equity is designed to foster greater collaboration between academia, health care providers and the community to help ensure that health equity becomes the norm for everyone in our state and across the nation."

The center will support partnerships with community-based organizations to conduct innovative research and develop effective programs and strategies to eliminate health disparities.

"The very health of our communities is now in the spotlight, but the issue of health equity has persisted under the radar for far too long," said Benjamin Chu, M.D., M.P.H., M.A.C.P., president of Kaiser Permanente Southern California. "We must challenge assumptions and open our minds to the possibilities of what focused research and collaboration can mean to the lives of thousands of families who are struggling to preserve their health. This new center has the potential to inspire positive change, and we will be there with them every step of the way."

The center will also expand its training and technical assistance services, including the development and dissemination of multilingual, culturally appropriate materials, distance learning programs and training tools. It will place a heavy focus on attracting and training new talent determined to eliminate disparities. Stable support for the center will allow community leaders and academics to devote sustained efforts toward raising awareness about health disparities, setting priorities and formulating short- and long-range solutions to urgent health issues.

The center was established in 2004 by co-directors Roshan Bastani, Ph.D., professor of health services and associate dean of research at the UCLA School of Public Health, and Antronette K. (Toni) Yancey, M.D., M.P.H., professor of health services, as a collaborative "center without walls," with members from academia, government and private and nonprofit organizations, to address the increasing disparities in health status and health care in Los Angeles County caused by poverty, lack of health insurance and unhealthy home and work environments.

The center conducts population-based intervention research for health promotion and disease prevention, including developing effective strategies to increase uptake of the recently approved human papillomavirus vaccine among young girls, increasing cancer screening in diverse populations, integrating physical activity and healthy eating into the workplace and preventing chronic disease among farmworker housing communities. Many of these programs have now been replicated in cities, counties and states throughout the country.
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Kaiser Permanente, America's leading health care provider and not-for-profit health plan, is shaping the future of health care. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente's mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services to improve the health of its members and the communities it serves. Kaiser Permanente currently serves 8.6 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. 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.

The UCLA School of Public Health is dedicated to enhancing the public's health by conducting innovative research; training future leaders and health professionals; translating research into policy and practice; and serving local, national and international communities.

For more news, visit the UCLA Newsroom or follow us on Twitter.

University of California - Los Angeles

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