Leading a healthcare system that takes care of nearly 5 million people’s well-being in Southern California is a responsibility Julie Miller-Phipps takes to heart as president of Kaiser Permanente in Southern California. Many of those people live in Los Angeles County, and she recognizes working in partnership with United Way L.A. is essential to ensure people receive access to quality healthcare and the opportunity to thrive.

Her vision for people’s well-being goes beyond access to healthcare. She explains economic mobility and house insecurity, for example, are significant social predictors of health. 

“Having secure housing is a huge factor to health and well-being, having educational attainment and food security,” she said. “We have a seat at that table, and we are there working alongside United Way with this common interest for common good in improving the health and well-being of this community.”

As president of Kaiser Permanente Southern California and United Way L.A. Board member, Miller-Phipps highlights that the financial support they provide should go hand and hand with the work United Way does, so her goal with this partnership is to address poverty and other social factors that affect people’s health in communities across the L.A. region.

“The relationship between the United Way and Kaiser Permanente is really powerful because poverty has many health drawbacks that come alongside with it,” Miller-Phipps said. “And United Way is working to lift people out of poverty to really make sure that there’s equitable opportunity for all people in the community, and so is Kaiser Permanente.”

She understands that trying to solve complex issues in these communities requires not only investing in them but being a part of and engaging others collectively.

“United Way just serves that role so beautifully in the L.A. area, and we just couldn’t do it without them. It wouldn’t be as effective. The partnership is critically important to us,” she says. “Part of our mission at Kaiser Permanente is to improve the health and well-being of the members that we serve, but also the communities that we’re in.”

Kaiser Permanente of Southern California’s investment commitment to provide housing stability for many residents in Los Angeles County is reflected in the $6 million investment that United Way has distributed to local community organizations. These organizations are working to prevent senior homelessness and provide wraparound services to vulnerable older adults.

“That’s just one example of how we can partner together, not only providing the money, which is always critical and always important but also having our teams work side by side and making that come alive and making it actually happen so that we can see the lives that we’re touching,” she said.

Miller-Phipps believes this kind of work needs to continue and expand because “we are part of something that is bigger than any of us individually. And that can really help change the stars, that can change the stars for families and individuals that live in the Los Angeles area.”

Esmeralda Fabian, United Way of Greater Los Angeles