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


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

CDC Foundation Board of Directors Welcomes New Member Raymond Baxter


raymondBaxterThere’s a new face on the CDC Foundation Board of Directors with the election of Raymond J. Baxter, PhD, senior vice president for community benefit, research and health policy for Kaiser Permanente.

The CDC Foundation focuses its work on building partnerships between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and corporations, foundations and individuals that, in turn, support the CDC’s 24/7 work to fight threats to health and safety.  

Baxter, who has a distinguished career in public health, has long been recognized as a leader in the space.  In 2006, he was the recipient of the 2006 CDC Foundation Hero Award in recognition for addressing the health consequences of Hurricane Katrina, as well as for his longstanding commitment to improving the health of communities.  In 2001, U.C. Berkeley School of Public Health honored Baxter’s efforts working at the San Francisco Department of Public Health during the AIDS epidemic.

Today, Baxter leads the work that fulfills Kaiser Permanente’s social mission, which includes care and coverage for low-income people, community health initiatives, health equity and environmental stewardship.  He also leads the health organization’s efforts in research and health policy.

In a recent interview with the CDC Foundation, when asked about the source of his passion for improving the health of communities, Baxter points out, “the health of communities is a matter of social justice that literally affects everyone’s health and quality of life….It’s about equity.” 

He goes on to note that his mission-driven work at Kaiser Permanente means addressing health needs across the board, “from individuals and families to homes, schools, worksites, neighborhoods, and the broader society.”

You can read Baxter’s Q&A in its entirety on the CDC Foundation blog.

Committed to Advancing Public Health


NPHW_Logo_2In honor of National Public Health Week, our friends over at the Kaiser Permanente News Center have put together a list of 10 ways the health organization demonstrates its commitment to public health.  The list includes the Every Body Walk! public awareness campaign, the Educational Theatre Program (celebrating its 25th year bringing important health information and conversations into schools), Safety Net grants and fellowships, and its efforts to fight this country’s obesity epidemic.

It is actually part of Kaiser Permanente’s mission to help improve the health of the communities it serves.  For more on KP’s contributions in the public health space, visit here.

Supporting the Total Health of Our Communities


A significant part of total health is the overall health and well being of our communities, and we try to highlight examples of programs working toward total health on this blog.  After all, with the number of American adults without health insurance increasing to 17.1 percent in 2011, there continues to be a growing need for programs and initiatives in our communities that support good health and healthy living.

Kaiser Permanente recently released its community benefit report, which highlights programs that benefited from the $1.8 billion the health organization devoted to its community benefit activities in 2011.   These investments included $68 million for community health initiatives and environmental stewardship, $24.6 million for grants to safety net partnerships, and $119 million for medical research (that’s 4,000 research and evaluation studies conducted and 1,100 articles published in professional journals on topics like diabetes, childhood obesity, HIV, and genomics).

You can read more about the report here, including great stories of total health in action at the community level.