Earth Day

Join the Center for Total Health and the entire Kaiser Permanente family today (and every day) in working to improve the health of our planet. Whether through large-scale efforts, like our partnership with the Alliance for Climate Education, or through individual decisions to recycle or create less waste, there are things each of us can do. For ideas, check out this list from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Of course, we particularly like the suggestion to use active modes of transportation!

Happy Earth Day!


let it snow!

Today is Our Birthday!

Today marks the third birthday for the Center for Total Health, which is hard to believe! We spend a lot of time looking forward to the many great things that lie ahead, but we wanted to take a moment to celebrate the first three years and thank those who have made them so memorable.

We’ve had thousands of visitors from more than 20 countries with interests ranging from maternal & child health to end-of-life care, walking to diversity, urban planning to farming. We have played with Playworks, brought healhy meals to our events, and spread the benefits of walking meetings.

healthy lunch

healthy lunch

To see photos from our first three years, visit our Flickr group. If you have photos you’d like to share with us, please feel free to add them to that group (now or anytime down the road).

Special thanks to our amazing, supportive colleagues within and outside Kaiser Permanente, including those who conceived of, designed and built the Center before any of the current team was here.

Here’s to another great year of hard work and lots of fun!

Our first Playworks ever! (2012)

Our first Playworks ever! (2012)

On a more personal note, my first day as a Kaiser Permanente employee was also three years ago today. I’ve had a great time meeting so many people working in so many ways to make health more achievable for all of us.  I’m three in Kaiser Permanente years now, too!

Transportation Techies Meet at CTH

Capital Bikeshare at the CTH

Obligatory Walking Wall Shot – Capital Bikeshare

Thanks to all who attended the Transportation Techies Meet Up at the Center for Total Health tonight, and special thanks to organizers Michael Schade and Tom Fairchild. Michael started this Meet Up just four months ago to meet other (self-described) “data nerds” who love transportation.

Presentations ranged from uber-technical to practical to futuristic, but all looked to data to improve transportation. Learning where people walk, bike, and ride (metro or bus) can help planners, architects, and residents make informed decisions.

If you’re interested, check out their meet up calendar – there’s lots going on in the coming months!

Special thanks to Kaiser Permanente’s Community Benefit and Innovation & Advanced Technology teams, who made tonight possible. 


Random Acts of Total Health

Every year, thousands celebrate Mardi Gras on the streets and in the bars of New Orleans. The next day, Ash Wednesday, marks the beginning of Lent for Christians around the world.

In my childhood, these two days were a little confusing – I get cake and parades on Tuesday, and then have to fast and go to mass on Wednesday? Lent always meant giving something up, as if punishing ourselves. That doesn’t make any sense when you’re six years old. As an adult, it seems to fit much better – a day of indulgence followed by a day (or several) of recovery, with time to reflect.

As an adult, my Lenten sacrifices aren’t actually sacrifices at all. Instead, I  aim to improve myself and my community through conscious, deliberate (but often small) changes. And, thanks to Catholic guilt, I take Lenten resolutions far more seriously than those made at the start of a new year or any other time. For the next six weeks, I will do at least one good deed each day. This morning, for instance, I helped an elderly man onto the bus over a snow bank. It’s small, but it seemed to make his day. And, in turn, maybe he’ll make someone else’s.

As for improving myself, I’m focusing on my diet and aiming to eat the recommended two cups per day of fruit and veggies.

It’s not much, but it’s what I can do to improve my total health.

Photos of the Week: A Busy Thursday

Today was a busy day at the Center for Total Health. We were excited to welcome a range of guests from across the total health spectrum. Guests included a  group of nursing students from George Washington University, the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care (C-TAC), and Hal Ruddick, Executive Director of the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions.

Lu Casa, ARNP, welcomes George Washington Nursing students

Lu Casa, ARNP, welcomes George Washington Nursing students

C-TAC's Advanced Care Project Kick-Off Meeting

C-TAC’s Advanced Care Project Kick-Off Meeting

Keith Montgomery, Executive Director of the Center for Total Health, and Hal Ruddick, Executive Director of the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, wearing two different types of fitness/activity tracking devices

Keith Montgomery, Executive Director of the Center for Total Health, and Hal Ruddick, Executive Director of the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, wearing two different types of fitness/activity tracking devices

African American History Month: A Prescription for Healthy Living

David Satcher, MD

David Satcher, MD

David Satcher, MD, has had a storied career that includes time as U.S. Surgeon General under two presidents, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and president of Morehouse Medical School in Atlanta.

While serving as surgeon general from 1998 to 2002, Satcher adopted what he called “Prescription for Healthy Living” that provides a great blueprint for all of us:

  • 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least five times a week
  • 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day
  • Avoidance of toxins – drugs and alcohol
  • Responsible sexual behavior
  • Daily participation in relaxing and stress-reducing activities

Today, Satcher heads the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse.  He is working to “develop a diverse group of public health leaders, foster and support leadership strategies, and influence policies and practices toward the reduction and ultimate elimination of disparities in health with the focus on neglected diseases and under-served populations, while giving priority to health promotion and disease prevention.”

Read more about Satcher’s work as a public health hero here.

Photo of the Week: Community Innovators Tour

Community innovators across the landscape of total health met yesterday at the Center for Total Health’s February Community Tour. Attendees included physician and health leaders from Johns Hopkins Health System, Anacostia Watershed Society, American Institutes for Research, Trust for Public Land, and the DreamIT Health Baltimore 2014.

February Community Tour

Total Health & Tech Focus: It’s a Wrap!

Thanks to all who joined us today for our Total Health and Technology Focus. The final video will be up soon. In the meantime, here are a few photos from today’s filming.

Dr. Tesoriero gets mic'ed in advance of filming.

Dr. Tesoriero gets mic’ed in advance of filming.

Panel conversation

Panel conversation

Manik & Karen, ready for their close ups!

Manik & Karen, ready for their close ups!

The CTH team preps with our broadcast team.

The CTH team preps with our broadcast team.

Dr. Tesoriero and Erin rehearse before the show.

Dr. Tesoriero and Erin Meade rehearse before the show.

The Next Total Health Focus at CTH: Connecting Patients & Social Support for Better Health

Posted by | Care Delivery, Center for Total Health, Community Health Initiatives, Experts, Health Innovation, Healthy Communities, Live Chat, Video | No Comments

Bookmark this post in your browser and return January 23 (3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern, noon to 1 p.m. Pacific) to watch the webcast live.


On January 23, the Center for Total Health will host the next Total Health and Technology Focus, this time looking at tools to support the social needs of patients.

Total health is about the mind, body and spirit. but there are other influences on our health — such as the community a person lives in, the environment that surrounds them and all their relationships that influence healthier behaviors.  Unrecognized needs such as support for housing, food/nutrition or other psycho-social stressors also have an impact on health.  Clinicians often feel unable or unprepared to address these needs.

Our January 23 event will feature Healthify and Health Leads, two organizations with innovative models that help people with unmet social needs connect to available community services.  Join us for a discussion on how clinicians can be part of a health system solution.

About the Organizations
Healthify  is:

  • a dynamic screening tool that identifies and quantifies the social and behavioral needs of your patients
  • a matching algorithm that finds, refers, and texts patients about the best resources for their needs
  • a dashboard to allow staff to search for resources and gain insight into their population

Health Leads works with clinics to connect patients to basic resources, improving health outcomes and patient satisfaction while lowering the cost of care. Health Leads enables doctors and other healthcare providers to “prescribe” basic resources like food and heat just as they do medication. The organization recruits and trains college students to “fill” these prescriptions by working side by side with patients to connect them with the basic resources they need to be healthy.


Please note that Kaiser Permanente does not endorse the products featured in these discussions.


Community Commons Seeks to Advance the Movement Toward Building Healthy, Sustainable Communities

There’s a movement afoot to build more sustainable, livable, healthy communities. It is a movement that is growing in momentum and collective will, despite what many feel are overwhelming statistics showing the rise of obesity and chronic disease in this country. It is a movement being led by people serving across disciplinary fields and political perspectives—community leaders, health activists, philanthropic organizations, and government agencies—all seeking the goal of thriving, healthy communities.

The healthy, sustainable communities movement is getting a tremendous burst of momentum these days from the internet, and more specifically from the creation of a unique online interactive space where folks can go to network with others, find targeted resources, and see what kinds of health and sustainability initiatives are happening in their community and across the country. One space where this is taking place is called the Community Commons.

The Community Commons went live in October 2011 and has recently launched its 2.0 version that features enhanced resources and functionality. It is gaining wide acclaim and is being heralded as the online space for public health advocates to learn, connect with each other, and share resources. Earlier this month, the Community Commons was the recipient of a first place award at the “Healthy People 2020 Leading Health Indicators App Challenge” announced at the 2012 National Health Promotion Summit in Washington, D.C.

Kaiser Permanente’s Catherine Brozena recently sat down with social entrepreneur Tyler Norris, who has played a fundamental role in shaping the creation of the Community Commons. We asked Tyler to share more about this movement for healthier communities and how the Community Commons is playing a pivotal role in advancing that movement.



Norris will be moderating a special Dialogue4Health web forum tomorrow on HBO’s Weight of the Nation documentary and accompanying public health campaign. Sponsored by the Public Health Institute and Kaiser Permanente, the forum will focus on exploring the key themes of the films and discuss how the assets available to individuals, organizations, and place-based partnerships can help create healthier built, food and beverage, social, and community environments. For more information or to register for the event, which is scheduled for Tuesday, May 1, at 1 p.m. EDT/10 a.m. PDT, visit here.

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