Business

Kaiser Permanente Donates to Local Programs

March 12, 2015, 11:59 AM HST
* Updated March 12, 12:07 PM
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Five nonprofit organizations in the state will receive a total of more than $243,000 from Kaiser Permanente Hawai’i, three of which will directly impact the Big Island. The money will be used to implement community health programs throughout the state. The programs awarded aim to increase access to healthy foods, safe pedestrian paths, and improved health care standards with a special focus on Hawai’i’s low-income and vulnerable populations.

One of the organizations to receive funds is The Food Basket, Hawai’i County’s Hawai’i Food Bank branch. The organization will receive $39,974 to help support its Ho’olaha Ka Hua community-supported agriculture program. The CSA program aims to increase access to healthy foods in low-income and rural Big Island communities through a food box model. Organization officials say that over the course of the next two years, 10,000 Big Island residents will benefit from food box distribution, which provides fresh, seasonal produce to participants.

Another Big Island beneficiary of the funds will go to the Baby-Friendly Hawai’i Program of the Hawai’i Department of Health. The program will receive $75,000 to use towards supporting the Kona Community Hospital and the Hilo Medical Center in attaining a Baby-Friendly designation. Baby-Friendly Hawai’i aims to increase the rate of breastfeeding among mothers in the hospital. Through training, education, and technical assistance, the two hospitals will work towards improving their maternity care policies in alignment with national standards of quality care. Baby-Friendly is a nationally recognized status that has been based on guidelines developed by the World Health Organization and United Nations Children’s Fund.

People’s Advocacy for Trails Hawai’i, better known as PATH, will receive $45,000 in funds for its Queen’s Lei project. The project plans include a 17-mile pathway that will connect North Kona in a safe, shared-use pedestrian and cycling loop. A variety of stakeholders at both the county and state levels will be mobilized to advocate for the project, which will promote active living and a pedestrian-friendly community.

“We stand behind these organizations and applaud their commitment to improving the health and wellness of everyone in Hawaii. Addressing shortfalls among our most vulnerable populations is particularly important in ensuring our community as a whole can thrive,” said Joy Barua, director of Community Benefit and Health Policy at Kaiser Permanente. “We will continue to support their efforts to improve access to programs across the state.”

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In addition to the programs set to receive funds that will impact the Big Island, the following programs will also receive funding from Kaiser:

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The Hawai’i Primary Care Association, which will be awarded $64,545 to implement its Social Determinants of Health Initiative, which is a two-pronged approach to increasing awareness and addressing issues related to health inquires. A variety of partnerships will be created by HPCA to screen a documentary illustrating the impact of social determinants of health among school-aged children.

Set to receive $19,000 for its advocacy of healthy and accessible food systems on Oahu is the North Shore Community Land Trust. NSCLT and its stakeholders wish to establish a data-driven plan to increase the utilization of agricultural lands further than the five percent currently being used.

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