Safety Net Clinics Adopt New Approach to Improving Community Health

Sep 19, 2011, 11:00 ET from Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States

Kaiser Permanente Community Ambassador Program Populates 15 Local Health Clinics with Skilled Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners

ROCKVILLE, Md., Sept. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States is taking a unique and innovative approach to improving community health, with the commencement of the Kaiser Permanente Community Ambassador Program. The Community Ambassador Program matches highly skilled Kaiser Permanente nurse practitioners and physician assistants with select safety net health clinics throughout the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia.  

Following a two week orientation and training, the Community Ambassador Program has matched 35 of Kaiser Permanente's nurse practitioners and physician assistants directly with 15 area health clinics.  The skilled clinicians are employed by Kaiser Permanente and will serve their roles directly with safety net clinics on a full-time basis.

"These passionate community ambassadors are an extension of Kaiser Permanente's commitment to building healthy communities," said Maritha Gay, senior director of external affairs, Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States.  "Their work with partnering safety net health clinics will improve access to quality health care and expand the clinics' treatment capacity for the vulnerable communities we serve."

The program aims to serve vulnerable populations, make measurable improvements in community health, and serve as a long-term, sustainable collaboration between Kaiser Permanente and safety net clinics providing clinics with additional resources such as training, education, and grants; and ultimately improving care delivery in the community.

Kaiser Permanente's Community Ambassador Program will cultivate the exchange and sharing of best practices.  Ambassador-clinic relationships will also identify, implement, and evaluate health outcomes in targeted areas of clinical focus such as cardiovascular risk reduction, infant mortality reduction through increased prenatal care, and improvements in childhood immunization.  

Piloted in 2007, the program placed three nurse practitioners with safety net health clinics in Baltimore, Md., Herndon and Fredericksburg, Va.  Results of the pilot revealed the potential that with greater resources, Kaiser Permanente could have a greater and measurable impact on community health.  A key takeaway from the pilot was that ambassadors stay connected to Kaiser Permanente through routine gatherings allowing ambassadors to share best practices while learning from challenges.

Before matching ambassadors with their safety net clinic home, clinicians receive a robust orientation including training and acclimation to a community clinic setting.

Kaiser Permanente clinicians have been matched to serve in the following safety net clinics:

  • Alexandria Neighborhood Health Services
  • Arlington Pediatric Center
  • Children's Health Project of D.C.
  • Community Clinic, Inc.
  • Community Health Network
  • Community of Hope Health Services
  • Greater Baden Medical Services, Inc.
  • Greater Prince William Community Health Center
  • Jeanie Schmidt Free Clinic
  • Lloyd F. Moss Free Clinic
  • Muslim Community Center Medical Clinic
  • Pregnancy Aid Centers, Inc.
  • Prince William Area Free Clinic
  • Proyecto Salud
  • Spanish Catholic Charities

Through the Community Ambassador Program, Kaiser Permanente is deepening its relationship in the communities it serves.

About Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States
Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States region, headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, provides and coordinates complete health care services for almost 500,000 members through 30 medical centers in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.  Founded in 1980, Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States is a total health organization comprised of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, Inc., and the Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group, P.C., an independent medical group that features approximately 900 physicians who provide or arrange care for patients throughout the area.  Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States is considered one of Maryland's "Top HMOs," according to the Maryland Health Care Commission.  The health plan was ranked in the nation's 100 top commercial health plans and 20 top Medicare health plans – and the #1 Medicare plan for Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. – by "NCQA Health Insurance Plan Rankings 2010-2011 Private."  For more information about Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States, visit or follow us on Twitter,

SOURCE Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States