Defining the Next Generation of Behavioral Health Strategies

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Today, one in five American adults experiences a mental health issue, and one in 10 young people experiences a period of major depression. The number of people struggling with conditions such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance abuse disorders (collectively called behavioral health conditions) is staggering, and health care systems are seeking better ways to provide care for those of us affected.

Exacerbating the problem is the fact that some populations, such as women and children with low incomes, face unique barriers to accessing behavioral health services. Factors such as poor educational attainment, inadequate housing, barriers to workforce participation, and poor health status can create structural hurdles that prevent individuals from taking the first step to accessing critical services.

These are just some of the daunting challenges that a group of more than 30 experts from various sectors – including leaders from the fields of health and human services, higher education, think tanks, and philanthropic organizations – gathered to discuss at the Center for Total Health on Friday, September 22.

Behavioral Health Leaders Come Together to Find Solutions

The Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality and Mental Health America, with support from Kaiser Permanente, are leading an effort to identify creative ways to engage and coordinate community assets to transform the delivery of behavioral health supports, with a focus on treating the “whole person,” inclusive of the many factors that impact prevention and access to care. This day-long meeting marked the first in a series of four that will explore innovative ways to address these challenges facing the lowest income families and individuals.

As someone who suffers from depression and anxiety, I was encouraged to see leaders come together to learn from one another and identify opportunities for cross-sector collaboration. Notable speakers such as Don Mordecai, MD, National Leader for Mental Health and Wellness for Kaiser Permanente and Director of Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Services for The Permanente Medical Group; Peter Edelman, Faculty Director of the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality; and Patrick Courneya, MD, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for National Health Plan and Hospitals Quality of Kaiser Permanente were among those who shared their unique insights and encouraged thoughtful discussion with attendees.

Throughout the day, participants created a vision for the future of whole-family care, discussed capacities needed at the community level to realize that vision, and brainstormed solutions to identified barriers, including changes at the policy level. A central theme was the need for multi-sectoral collaboration inclusive of finance, accountabilities, and outcomes.

An Important Step Forward, with Miles to Go

While I left the meeting with the reassurance that, by coming together and facilitating this important conversation, we’ve taken a big step in the right direction, I know there’s lots more work to do. Over the next two years we’ll continue to build upon the groundwork we laid today. We’ll constantly refine our strategies, informed by the real-world experiences and the knowledge we’re sharing with one another.

Ultimately, the findings gleaned from these meetings will result in a public report that summarizes our collective thinking on how best to address the daunting behavioral health challenges facing families with low incomes. The conversations I heard and participated in today make me hopeful that we will rise to the challenge and increase access to whole family behavioral health services for current and future generations.

Author Cecilia O. Echeverria, MPP, MPH, is the senior director for Public Policy, Strategy & Operations for Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Policy, Government Relations

 

The Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health hosts internal and external educational events. All events – including annual banquets, quarterly meetings, trainings, interviews – can be customized to incorporate the interactive exhibits that make the Center for Total health experience both fun and informative for attendees. If your organization is interested in hosting an event, please send us an event request via our website. We look forward to hearing from you!

Kaiser Permanente Invites You to Thrive After 60

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Earlier this year, Kaiser Permanente Mid-Atlantic hosted nearly 1,000 members and non-members for “Thriving After 60 Day” – a day when seniors, their families, and friends discovered ways to be healthy, fit, and active – both physically and mentally.

Participants attended educational workshops led by expert physicians, therapists, and health educators, in addition to wellness activities including yoga and meditation sessions, sexual health seminars, massages, and more. Check out a video of the event and participants here.

The event was so well received that we’re taking “Thriving After 60” on the road!

This fall and winter, Kaiser Permanente is offering a series of free workshops, seminars, and social events – with a healthy twist. These “Thriving After 60” events will take place in many of our medical centers throughout the Washington, D.C. region and provide attendees not only with advice on staying active and maintaining their health, but also with new ways to meet like-minded friends.

The workshops and seminars will include topics like:

  • Life Care Planning
  • Medication Management
  • Nutrition After 60
  • Technology Basics
  • Healthy Aging
  • Mindfulness and Meditation

There will also be a small festival event at the National Zoo on October 7, a free Halloween-themed scavenger hunt at the Maryland Zoo on October 28, and free admission to Cox Farms’ Pumpkin Madness on November 4. Visit the “Thriving After 60” site to register and sign up for updates.

Regardless of age, we can all work toward achieving total health. Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Total Health in Washington, D.C. explores total health at all ages. The Center’s interactive exhibits allow visitors to explore the many physical, mental, social, and environmental factors that may impact individual health and the health of communities. Stop by the center to “meet” Rosemary and Leo – a couple enjoying their golden years – and explore ways to care for individuals at home, keeping them safe and healthy in an environment where we know they will thrive.

The Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health hosts both internal and external educational events. All events – including annual banquets, quarterly meetings, trainings, interviews – can be customized to incorporate the interactive exhibits that make the Center for Total health experience both fun and informative for attendees. If your organization is interested in hosting an event, please send us an event request via our website. We look forward to hearing from you!

Physician researchers build bridges to health care innovation

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A new joint program of The Permanente Medical Group and the Division of Research in Northern California encourages Kaiser Permanente clinicians to devote part of their careers to conducting research.

The six physicians in the  inaugural class of the Physician Researcher Program will devote 20 to 40 percent of their time to research projects designed to systematically evaluate and improve clinical care. The physician researchers will then have the opportunity to disseminate and implement the relevant learnings across Kaiser Permanente Northern California.

“We will invest in them becoming researchers, while they remain active in clinical practice the majority of the time,” said Philip Madvig, MD, TPMG associate executive director.

To learn more, go to the Division of Research’s Spotlight blog.

The Importance of Immunizations as Kids Head Back to School

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As the new school year approaches, pediatricians are reminding parents of the crucial role immunizations play in keeping kids healthy.

“Immunizations can help your body develop resistance to specific diseases and increase your immunity to them,” said Karina Maher, MD, a pediatrician at Kaiser Permanente’s Santa Monica Medical Offices. “It’s very important for the whole family to be up to date on vaccines to protect themselves, their children and the community.”

August is also National Immunization Awareness Month, and Dr. Maher says following the recommended immunization schedule is one of the most important things parents can do to protect their child’s health.

Disease can quickly spread among groups of children who are unvaccinated, and the child’s body may not be strong enough to fight the disease. Before vaccines, many children died from diseases that vaccines now prevent, such as whooping cough, measles and polio.

In fact, the flu causes more deaths each year than any other vaccine-preventable disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some parents are concerned about the impact of vaccines, and are fearful that certain vaccines may play a role in children developing autism.

“There have been a lot of false claims in the news, but thorough studies have found no link between vaccines and autism,” Dr. Maher said. “Immunizations are very safe, even if your child has, or is, recovering from a minor illness such as a cold or ear infection, or even if they have a slight fever.”

To read the full story, check out KP Share for news and views from Kaiser Permanente.

Celebrating Breastfeeding Awareness Initiatives at the Center for Total Health

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During National Breastfeeding Month, Kaiser Permanente is highlighting the importance of breastfeeding as one component of good maternal and child health. Through several initiatives, including our breastfeeding pledge and educational and health-focused opportunities through our Center for Total Health, Kaiser Permanente is working to promote a variety of healthy lifestyle choices for infants and mothers – including new moms returning to the workforce. Check out KP Share for a recent article, “Catching On to Latching On: A Formula for Breastfeeding Success.”

mother laying down with newborn resting on her chest

At Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Total Health, interactive exhibits give visitors an opportunity to explore maternal and child health needs. The Center also provides a variety of health-related options for businesses convening meetings or other events, such as healthy catering options and meetings that incorporate physical activity to stimulate both the mind and the body.

The Center for Total Health hosts both internal and external organizations educational events. All events – including annual banquets, quarterly meetings, trainings, interviews – leverage Healthy Meeting Tools. The Center for Total Health Staff thrive to create an environment that is both fun and informative. Most of all, we take great pride in supporting your event and our high guest satisfaction scores prove it. If your organization is interested in hosting an event, please send us an event request via our website. We look forward to hosting you!

 

 

 

Walking Meetings: Taking Total Health Outdoors

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“Total health is more than a visit to the doctor, and more than your medical care,” says Keith Montgomery, Executive Director of the Center for Total Health. “It is all those things, but it’s also your environment and your community.”

Walking meetings are one way the Center implements its community-focused approach to total health. Offered for events hosted at the Center, the on-the-move meetings are designed to get attendees’ minds and bodies active. Walking meetings don’t have to be a break from productivity – the ten to thirty-minute routes can be used as a brainstorm, ice-breaker or reflection.

Celebrating its 50th Anniversary Conference in Washington, D.C., the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior (SNEB) joined the Center for a tour and walking meeting in late July. SNEB’s mission is to increase nutrition education at the individual, community and policy level. Its members work to address nutrition needs around the world, aligning with the Center’s efforts to help underserved communities gain access to healthy food.

The Center took SNEB members on a 20-minute walking meeting through the neighborhoods surrounding Washington’s Union Station. As we walked, SNEB member and founder of The Harvest Kitchen Jean Crum-Jones discussed the many benefits of being active outside, even on a hot D.C. summer day. Just a few minutes of physical activity can boost focus and creativity, an asset for meetings, classrooms and conferences.

As we walked through D.C.’s Stanton Park, Jean was excited to learn about the Center’s involvement with Park Rx, a program which connects people to safe, public spaces in their communities. By prescribing park visits to families, Park Rx can improve physical and mental health through exercise, foster a love for nature and encourage families to spend time together away from screens. Like walking meetings, our partnership with Park Rx is an example of the Center’s commitment to integrating total health into communities and lifestyles.

For Jean, this common-sense approach to improving total health for businesses and communities was the most impactful part of visiting the Center. Because of the Center’s walking meeting, she learned about a program that she can implement through her volunteer work in her home state of Connecticut.

The Center for Total Health hosts hundreds of events for organizations like SNEB every year, many of which take advantage of the Center’s walking meetings. If you are looking to host an event – whether it’s a small meeting, set of interviews or elaborate gala – the Center provides the perfect venue for highlighting innovation in healthcare. Our staff will work with you on how to create a healthier meeting that is fun, unique and informative. We have a wide array of event options to make the most out of your gathering. If you’re interested in planning an event, visit our events and tours page and send us a request.

Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine Will Care About Student Wellbeing

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In 2019, Kaiser Permanente will be opening a Medical School located in Southern California. Currently, medical leaders are convening to put the finishing touches on an academically advanced curriculum incorporating total health for the incoming Fall 2019 class.

Part of total health is improving the environment and the support systems around you.  This is especially important for medical students who often tend to become burned out from their academic and career demands.  Improper environments from academics can have a negative impact on a persons’ physical and mental health both short-term and long-term.  Directors of the Kaiser Permanente Medical School are aware of the health impacts medical students often face and are working towards reversing these statistics.

This past April, the directors of the Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine established a plan to combat student burn-out.  To learn more about their accomplishments, please click here!

Kaiser Permanente Welcomes IADB Division of Social Protection and Health

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Here at the Center, Kaiser Permanente International offers a forum for sharing Kaiser Permanente’s knowledge and experience with governments, health plans, health care providers, and other global organizations that are striving to improve their health care systems. Recently, Kaiser Permanente International presented their customized, educational program for health specialists in the Division of Social Protection and Health of the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB).

If you are unfamiliar with IADB Division of Social Protection and Health, it is composed of health specialists primarily from Latin America and the Caribbean. The purpose of IADB Division is to promote equity and empower vulnerable populations throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.  The IADB’s Division hopes to improve health outcomes to individuals living in extreme poverty through three goals: increasing access to redistributive programs in areas, increasing care for children to stimulate cognitive development, and promoting social inclusion services.

Kaiser Permanente International exposed the IADB Division to innovative, technical and managerial tools Kaiser Permanente currently uses in their medical model that could be applied to Latin America and Caribbean health care practices. During the two-day event, the IADB Division health specialists participated in two informative tours: one with Ted Eytan, MD, the medical director of the Center for Total Health, who shared the concept of “total health” with our guests through our interactive displays and a second tour, led by Carla Sandy, MD, service chief, Obstetrics and Gynecology and Ashlee Metcalf, MD,Adult and Family Medicine, Kaiser Permanente Mid-Atlantic region.

If you are interested in the work of Kaiser Permanente International, please click here to learn more.

The Center for Total Health’s location is ideal for hosting events with guests located around the nation and even around the world!  The Center’s proximity and accessibility to Union Station and D.C.’s national airport is perfect for individuals who are traveling to attend a meeting or an event.   All events– annual banquet, quarterly meeting, training, interviews, etc—follow the Healthy Meeting Tools created by the Kaiser Permanente. The Center for

Total Health Staff thrive to create an environment that is both fun and informative.  Most of all, we take great pride in supporting your event and our high guest satisfaction scores prove it. If your organization is interested in hosting an event, please send us an event request located on our website.  We look forward to you joining us!

National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention

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On June 20, the Center for Total Health welcomed the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Action Alliance), the nation’s public-private partnership championing suicide prevention as a national priority, for their biannual executive committee meeting.  They covered an array of topics around suicide prevention including:

  • aligning the national response to suicide to achieve the national goal to reduce the suicide rate 20% by 2025
  • transforming community-based suicide prevention
  • changing the national conversations about suicide and suicide prevention to ones that promote hope, recovery, and resiliency
  • identifying opportunities for the public and private sectors to come together to prevent suicide and advance suicide prevention efforts

Executive committee member and director of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Anne Schuchat, said the CDC is working towards enhancing existing morbidity and mortality tracking systems to improve data collection around the issue of suicide. Kaiser Permanente has been a member of the Action Alliance EXCOM since 2015 and is active in the Action Alliance’s initiative to Transform Health Systems to Reduce Suicide and implementation of the Action Alliance’s Zero Suicide initiative.

The Action Alliance – established in 2010 – aims to champion suicide prevention as a national priority, catalyze efforts of the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, and cultivate resources to sustain progress. The Action Alliance’s Executive Committee, representing senior leaders from diverse private and public sector groups, is the driving force of the Action Alliance by providing strategic direction to advance this important work.  Learn more about the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention.

The Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health supports organizations that are working towards preventing suicide in communities.  All events– annual banquet, quarterly meeting, training, interviews, etc—follow the Healthy Meeting Tools.  The Center for Total Health Staff thrive to create an environment that is both fun and informative.  Most of all, we take great pride in supporting your event and our high guest satisfaction scores prove it. If your organization is interested in hosting an event, please send us an event request located on our website.  We look forward to you joining us!