Kaiser Permanente (No. 2 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list) has announced an additional commitment of $1.7 million to launch a neighborhood revitalization project in partnership with Bon Secours that will advance health equity and economic opportunity in West Baltimore.
Building on previous planning grants to Bon Secours Community Works of $140,000, this combined investment of more than $1.8 million cements a long-term partnership between Kaiser Permanente, Bon Secours and several communities in ZIP code 21223.
The key component of this project will be the construction of a community resource center that will serve youth and adults with economic, health and social services, supported by an array of local partners. The partnership between Kaiser Permanente and Bon Secours will, within five years, support the establishment of new businesses, a decline in the ZIP code's unemployment rate, and availability of new mental health services for residents.
"Kaiser Permanente is eager to partner with Bon Secours to work toward making Baltimore City one of the healthiest cities in America. Economic security has a tremendous impact on the health of individuals and communities," said Kim Horn, president of Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States. "This partnership will create comprehensive support for this community, going far beyond what either of us could do alone."
The project is the first of its kind in West Baltimore and will serve as a model for community health and development projects across the region and the country and for "anchor institutions" as agents of community revitalization.
"Bon Secours is excited about the partnership with Kaiser Permanente and is truly grateful for the faith and trust they have placed in us," said Samuel Ross, MD, MS. "We are committed to the long-term partnership that supports revitalization of west Baltimore."
This partnership aligns two national health care delivery systems to rebuild the social, emotional and economic fabric of the most depressed ZIP code in the state of Maryland. Residents of West Baltimore face significant societal barriers to health and well-being, identified in the recent community health needs assessments of both Kaiser Permanente and Bon Secours. Within the 21223 ZIP code, which includes the neighborhoods of Boyd-Booth, Fayette Outreach and Franklin Square, life expectancy is 68.3 years, a full 11 years lower than the statewide average.
As Kaiser Permanente's presence in Baltimore grows, a commitment to addressing core drivers of health — comprehensive health care, supports for mental health and economic opportunity — is a top priority. Recently, Kaiser Permanente launched the Institute for Equitable Leadership, which brings together nonprofit and for-profit leaders serving Baltimore City for coaching and training to strengthen their organizations and develop leadership skills grounded in equity, diversity and inclusion.
Kaiser Permanente is also expanding its 2016 pilot program with local barbershops and beauty shops to offer no-cost preventive health screenings. Last fall, a partnership with a West Baltimore neighborhood to renovate a park in Park Heightscreated a safe place for children to play.