Nurses Week 2017

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National Nurses Week is May 6 to 12. It’s a time to honor, celebrate and thank America’s 4 million nurses for the countless ways they make us healthier in mind, body and spirit. At Kaiser Permanente, more than 54,000 nurses serve our members across multiple settings and care specialties. Whether they’re working on the front line or as managers, executives, researchers, and policy specialists, Kaiser Permanente nurses are enhancing patient care experiences. Read more about Nurses Week and take time to celebrate and thank our nurses here.

Sticking to our New Year Resolutions

By | Food | No Comments

The Center for Total Health team — and extended staff members — have kicked off a three-day clean eating challenge. We’ll be sampling local seasonal flavors and focusing on soups and juices as the core of our program.  Our goal is to reset our taste buds and to refocus our efforts on healthier eating.  Over the next three days we’ll search out fresh, local vegetables and juices along with select nuts and grains. Some might question our timing before the big football game this weekend, but there’s probably never a perfect time to start eating healthier.  It’s easy to worry about your work schedule, family and social gatherings as possible excuses for not watching your diet. We also know that  social support is a huge help, especially in the office setting. As colleagues who spend many hours working together, we can help reinforce healthier habits starting with all our food choices at work.


As always the Center for Total Health supports healthier choices for meetings and events held here. We do not endorse any particular diet or meal vendors. Check with your health care provider if you have any questions or concerns about eating healthier. There are a number of resources available to assist you on

Strengthening Medicaid as a Critical Lever in Building a Culture of Health

By | Charity Care and Coverage, Uncategorized | No Comments

The National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) hosted its annual membership meeting and reception at The Center for Total Health,  prior to its 29th Annual Policy Research Conference on January 26.

Joy Lewis, senior health policy leader of Kaiser Permanente’s Institute for Health Policy served on the panel that looked at Medicaid’s role as an insurer of more than 70 million people and its capacity to address the underlying social determinants of health.

“We approach today’s discussion with the belief that Medicaid will continue to serve a pivotal role as an insurer of low-income populations. More and more, health care leaders, providers, and others in the health care ecosystem are giving recognition to the fact that health is greatly influenced by complex social factors,” said Lewis.

The report, Strengthening Medicaid as a Critical Lever in Building a Culture of Health, is the result of a study panel that included state Medicaid program directors, public health and health policy experts, health researchers, medical and health professionals, and health plans, and was convened by the nonprofit NASI.

“The panel approached this project with several key goals in mind,” said Trish Riley, co-chair of the study panel and Executive Director at the National Academy of State Healthy Policy. “We aimed to discuss strategies that could increase Medicaid’s potential to help move the dial on individual and population health, while improving health care quality and program efficiency.”

To learn more about the report:

To read the entire press release about the conference and highlights of the repor:

The National Academy of Social Insurance is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization made up of the nation’s leading experts on social insurance. Its mission is to advance solution challenges facing the nation by increasing public understanding of how social insurance contributes to economic security.

Pictured above keynote speaker: Ai-jen Poo, Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) and Co-director, Caring Across Generations

Fighting Hunger During the Holiday

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We know that “total health” is about more than absence of sickness, it’s about having a safe place to live, food to eat and nurturing, supportive relationships among other things. The holidays are always a great time to do what we can for our communities to support their total health. At the Center for Total Health, one community partner we wanted to call out this upcoming holiday is DC Central Kitchen. We offer a guest post from DC Central Kitchen’s Alex Moore below. Alex is featured in our Farmers Market display where we talk about food as a strategy for designing healthier communities. Keep his thoughts in mind as you think about giving back to the community this holiday season.

Happy holidays,

Keith Montgomery


Fighting Hunger During the Holiday Season

Alex Moore, Chief Development Officer at DC Central Kitchen

The holiday season is a time for giving back and helping others. At DC Central Kitchen, for example, we fight hunger by providing meals for our community each day while making longer-term investments in career training and job creation that strengthen local food systems and reduce disparities in health and economic opportunity, but we can’t do it alone! Here are some fun ways that you can help us and other food resource programs reach our goals:

  • Organize a turkey drive with your co-workers – Turn it into a friendly competition by making teams to see who can collect and/or donate the most turkeys! This will help provide the ultimate Thanksgiving meal for those in need.
  • Help plan a food drive through in your neighborhood or apartment building – By collecting staples such as beans, brown rice and canned goods, you can really food resource programs prepare daily meals on a large-scale.
  • Register to volunteer – Volunteers are needed daily – not just during the holidays to help prepare meals for our community 365 days a year.
  • Make a donation – If you are interested in making a financial contribution, check to see if there are matching donation programs to make you financial gift go further.

Whether you choose to support an organization like DC Central Kitchen or another important community organization, partnerships like the one with Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Total Health, help to highlight the many initiatives underway that are needed to address real problems in our community. I’m even featured in the Center’s farmers market display where you can hear me talk about my perspective on solving hunger, as well as the perspectives of others on food as a strategy for healthy communities. Check it out for yourself by visiting the Center for a tour!

About DC Kitchen:

DC Central Kitchen, located near Union Station in Washington D.C., is a nonprofit developer of innovative social ventures that break the cycle of hunger and poverty. Our mission is to use food as a tool to strengthen bodies, empower minds, and build communities. At DC Central Kitchen, we do more than just feed those in need. We run a 14-week culinary job training program to create economic stability for unemployed adults so they can leave hunger behind. Our social ventures provide 1.8 million meals for our community as well as healthy, locally-sourced meals to students at 15 low-income schools in DC.
If you would like to drop off items to DCCK, here are a few drop-off guidelines to follow, once you have successfully collected your items, you can drop them off during our regular hours, as follows:

  • Our regular hours for drop-offs are 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. on weekends.
  • DC Central Kitchen’s physical address is 425 2nd St. NW, Washington, DC 20001. Please ensure that you receive a receipt for your donation from our on-site staff as we need to keep track of all food we receive. Donations are tax-deductible.
  • DC Central Kitchen is often able to pick up especially large donations. However, we greatly appreciate it if you are able to bring donations to our location. Please contact our food recovery team ( or 202-400-2804) in advance if you need to schedule a pick-up.


Employers As Innovation Partners

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Earlier this month at the Center for Total Health, Kaiser Permanente invited members of its Employer Innovation Councilmy preg to participate in discussions on innovative employee health initiatives. One such initiative is KP My Pregnancy, a pilot program created by Kaiser Permanente and Comcast for expectant mothers and their families. The on-demand maternity education program has three main parts: an immersive TV app, a web-based video portal, and library of over 150 new, short form videos to assist new mothers with planning their pregnancy. The program launched in August 2015, with additional corporate partners that included Lowes and IBM, as well as members in Kaiser Permanente’s Northwest region. Expectant mothers start by entering information to personalize the TV app experience – e.g., their due date and notification preferences.  Then, content specific to milestones in their pregnancy is made available for viewing. Since last year’s launch, more than 200 people have used the TV app which is available to Comcast Xfinity users. More than 6,500 additional video views have been counted on the My Pregnancy video portal which is available to anyone with a high-speed Internet connection. In fact, 28 percent of video views were watched on mobile phones and tablets. As the initiative gains more feedback from participants, the team will better understand how to help consumers proactively engage in their health using short form video and to use technology to make physicians more productive in informing & motivating patients.

For more information on the My Pregnancy  program, check out the full article on KP Share.

Coming This Fall….

By | Center for Total Health | No Comments

Health care is changing at an amazing pace.  Here at the Center for Total Health, we’re changing too. The center is closed through September 8, 2015, for its first full-scale renovation since opening in 2011.

Before: Empty and ready for (some light) demolition!

The Before: empty and ready for (some) demolition!

We’re re-imaging our space to reflect the future of total health, and to better engage our guests in the journey. Some of you may have participated in the designing of the new exhibits. We’re excited for the new, improved center to open and for all of you to come see it.

As construction moves along this summer, we’ll periodically provide updates here on our blog and give you a sneak peak of things to come. You can get more frequent updates by following the center and our construction hashtag – #CTHNext – on Twitter.

If you haven’t seen our new multimedia wall, the theme of “Total Health Across America” sets the stage of things to come in new exhibits. The new exhibits will be anchored by several personae – a young millennial, a couple expecting their first child, an office worker who spends a little too much time at his desk. Perhaps one (or maybe a few) of these personae will ring a bell with you, or remind you of a friend or family member.

As always, we’ll feature cutting-edge technology and highlight innovations leading the way in improving the health of Americans — whether the initiatives are led by Kaiser Permanente or other industry leaders.  Our hope is that you will continue to be inspired and learn from the many events and exhibits hosted at the Center for Total Health. We look forward to seeing you this fall!

A Q&A with FoodCorps DC

By | Community Health Initiatives, Food, Schools | No Comments
FoodCorps DC Service Sites

FoodCorps DC Service Sites

On Monday, the Center for Total Health was delighted to host a meeting for FoodCorps DC.

FoodCorps is a national nonprofit organization that has nearly 200 AmeriCorps leaders throughout the country who are connecting kids to real food so they can grow up healthy.

These service members help schools in communities with limited resources, where they educate kids on how to make smart choices around food and nutrition.  They also lead hands-on activities like gardening and cooking that foster skills and pride around healthy food.  They even help make it possible for nutritious meals from local farms to make it onto school lunch trays. FoodCorps recently expanded into Washington, D.C., where they work in partnership with OSSE and many of D.C.’s wonderful food organizations such as D.C. Greens and City Blossoms.

After Monday’s “supervisor summit” at the CTH, we asked FoodCorps DC Supervisor Maddie Morales to answer a few questions for us.

Q: What is the mission or goal of FoodCorps? 

A: Together with communities, FoodCorps serves to connect kids to healthy food in school.

Q: What are some of the FoodCorps programs in DC? 

A: FoodCorps works with community partners to place service members into DC schools. We have 13 service members serving in 17 schools across the city. Our service members have been placed at schools through our service sites which are DC Greens, City Blossoms, FreshFarm Markets, Capital Area Food Bank, Marie Reed Elementary, Washington Youth Garden, Metz Culinary, and SEED Public Charter.

Q: Where should someone go to see your work in action in DC?

A: One of our 17 partner schools! Cleveland Elementary, Eastern High School, Kimball Elementary, or Hart Middle School, to name a few.

Q: If FoodCorps could change one thing, what would it be? 

A: We would create a future in which all of our nation’s children––regardless of class, race, or geography––know what healthy food is, care where it comes from, and eat it every day.

Q: What attracted you to working with FoodCorps? 

A: I originally applied to be a service member, because I saw this as a position that aligned my goals and personal values with tangible work. After a year of service, I wanted to continue my journey with FoodCorps as a fellow to further support the amazing work this organization has been able to accomplish.

Q: How can others get involved? 

A: Apply to be a service member! Applications are open until March 31st. Spread the word or volunteer at a service site.

Q: Who won during today’s pre-meeting warm up (physically active video) games? 

The FoodCorps team took an active meeting break on Monday morning with the help of an X-Box game.

The FoodCorps team took an active meeting break on Monday morning with the help of a physically active video game.

A: Rebecca Lemos. That girl has a mean uppercut punch. (Sorry Sam.)

Q: What healthy strategies does FoodCorps employ for its employees? 

A: FoodCorps supports an environment of wellness for employees. Through access to health care, support for eating healthy and reminders to take personal time, I know that my health is a priority for the entire organization. Also, potlucks and sharing delicious, healthy food is huge around here.

Q: Besides Kaiser Permanente, what other organizations does FoodCorps partner with to succeed? 

A: We are grateful to have support from a plethora of generous organizations, foundations and individuals who think kids deserve the chance to grow up healthy and happy. Take a look at our funders’ page for a complete list.

Q: What is your goal or personal mission at FoodCorps? What do you enjoy most? 

A: As a fellow with FoodCorps, I hope to support our service members and promote the amazing work being done in DC to support healthy lives for our students. I hope my passion for improving the food environment for children and families in DC is motivational to the service member cohort and our larger community! I most enjoy working alongside fantastic and dedicated people already doing this work and learning from the strong foundation that they have created. I also have a personal mission of learning how to cook like all of my colleagues…they are amazing!

You can read more about FoodCorps on their blog and follow their work on Twitter.

Learn more about Keith Montgomery and Alice Patty through their answers to our Total Health Questionnaire.

Bring Walking Meetings to Your Office!

By | Obesity Prevention & Treatment, Walking, Workforce Health | No Comments

Studies continue to roll in on the health risks of sitting at work all day.  According to the latest update from the BBC, employers in Denmark are required to offer workers the option of a standing desk. And while most studies focus on adults, new research on workers of the future aims to see whether children can benefit from standing lessons.  Research suggests a combination of sitting and standing meetings may be a healthier solution.  Add walking meetings to the mix and the potential benefits expand. CBS news recently visited the Center for Total Health and filed the following story on the growing popularity of walking meetings.

Can you benefit from standing desks or walking meetings? Check out the BBC video here and many more resources on healthy meetings from Kaiser Permanente.

Your Feedback Wanted: How Would You Like Total Health to Be Supported and Promoted?

By | Center for Total Health | No Comments

This post is part of a campaign to invite feedback and ideas that will help inform the next generation of content for exhibits at the Center for Total Health.

Now that we’ve established why it is important to focus on total health and what total health may look like when implemented in a variety of ways and locations, the final question remains:  How should total health be supported and promoted to health care consumers?

To answer this question, it’s helpful to look at what resources and access we each need to focus on our total health and live healthier lives.  Some examples may include the following:

  • Expert medicine:  Medicine based on the real-life experience of caring for millions of members, not just clinical research studies of a few hundred or thousand people.
  • Innovative technology:  Appropriate for the individual’s ability to understand and use it, smartphones for those who can afford them or community kiosks and other solutions for those who need alternative access.
  • Innovative programs:  Designed to fit the individual needs of health care consumers at home, at work, while out and about or in a clinical setting. Personalized scenarios for how different individuals may receive maternity care, senior care, well-child visits, behavioral health and more.
  • Telemedicine:  Video visits with specialists while meeting with your primary care physician or from your home, office or while on the go – via video chat on smartphones.

In a current display at the Center:
Crowdsource Pic for How
Interactive video displays demonstrate how My Health Manager (Kaiser Permanente’s personal medical record and portal for its members) and Kaiser Permanente Health Connect (the system-wide electronic health record connecting patients with all of their care providers) demonstrate how technology and connectivity can enable better care.

One idea for an alternative display:

Exhibits could present different examples for how total health might be experienced or supported – such as using common home video game technology to conduct video visits with physicians; terminals where someone could enter data and estimate likelihood or risk for developing diabetes; or examples of the latest mobile devices to help manage their health.

What are your thoughts?  How would you like to see a focus on total health supported and promoted to you and other consumers?  Tell us in the comments!

Share Your Ideas: What does total health look like?

By | Center for Total Health | No Comments

This post is part of a campaign to invite feedback and ideas that will help inform the next generation of content for exhibits at the Center for Total Health.

When most people think about health care, they think of a hospital or doctor’s office.  The truth is, total health is about much more than just clinical care. It’s also about living your definition of health, and imagining care anywhere – in the workplace, at school, in the park or at home.

Total health is also about access to care and health resources when you are sick and need them…or when you need to be reminded of them.  It’s been said that less than 20 percent of your health care is actually received in a health care setting.  So, whether it is care received through a health care system or access to health resources online or in the community, a focus on your total health should surround you and be available 24/7.

What does total health look like to you?  How would you want to see a focus on total health represented in how you receive care through your provider, in the community or in the environment that surrounds you?

Some ideas to get you started:

  • Integrated care:  You, your doctor or other health care providers connected through electronic health records
  • Access to care anywhere: Email your doctor, or have access to your care provider via mobile or video chat
  • Increased access to care:  More access increases mammography screening rates, decreases heart disease/attacks, and helps control chronic conditions
  • Day-to-day health:  Being able to live the life you want to, whether that means playing with your kids or climbing mountains, walking around the block or running a marathon
  • Spiritual & Emotional Health:  Feeling supported in your life, being able to look back at each day and know you accomplished the things you’d hoped to do

Tell us what you think in the comments!