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The Kaiser Permanente Board and Cynthia Telles Take a Comprehensive Approach to Creating Healthier, More Equitable Communities

At Kaiser Permanente, we are deeply honored by the many awards we routinely win for providing best-in-class health care.  And, we are not even remotely shy about saying we have the very best physicians and nurses in the industry.  But, we also know top-notch healthcare (alone) is not enough to address the root causes of poor health. 

The conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age have a profound impact on health outcomes.  The World Health Organization refers to these critical factors as the “Social Determinants of Health.”

Simply put, the root causes of poor health do not begin in a hospital or medical office. In fact, access to high-quality clinical care only accounts for 20% of health outcomes.

Increasingly, Kaiser Permanente is asking if healthcare accounts for only 20% of health outcomes, how can we influence the remaining 80%?  

“As advocates of healthy people and communities, we must expand our scope and understanding of the myriad factors that influence health and wellness,” said Dr. Cynthia Telles, Chair of the Community Health Committee for the Kaiser Permanente Foundation. “We must embrace and continue to forge a holistic approach to wellness that takes into account the impact of economic stability, housing, education and the environment, in addition to medical access.”

Kaiser Permanente strives to improve the conditions for health and equity at the community level by addressing the root causes of health, such as economic opportunity [LINK], affordable housing [LINK], safe and supportive schools [LINK], and a healthy environment [LINK]. These improvements grow from our collaboration with each community to co-design and co-create solutions that truly make a positive impact. By engaging members, communities, our sizeable workforce and all our organization’s considerable assets, we are working to create communities that are among the healthiest in the nation, and that inspire greater health for America and the world.