As we enter our fifth year as the “official health care partner and team physicians” of the Los Angeles Football Club, our commitment to the team and the greater Los Angeles community shines on and off the pitch. With Kaiser Permanente’s full range of health expertise, we have served as a trusted health resource for this professional soccer team and its fans by providing player care and supporting meaningful initiatives that build healthier communities.
Providing care and more
Team physicians of LAFC include sports medicine and orthopedic physicians to care for the athletes on the pitch and in training.
“The beloved athletes of LAFC receive the highest standard of medical expertise and sideline care from our Kaiser Permanente physicians,” said Nolan Chang, MD, executive vice president of strategy, corporate development, and finance, for The Permanente Federation.
In addition, specialists across Kaiser Permanente have provided team members health care services from administering flu shots and annual physicals to other advanced clinical treatments. Our LAFC team physicians have provided more than care for the athletes; Robert Sallis, MD, Gregory Maletis, MD, and others have participated in community events and other partnership touchpoints to provide critical health information and resources.
“Providing exceptional care and support to the communities we serve is part of what drives our physicians at Kaiser Permanente,” said Dr. Chang.
Commitment to community health
As part of our partnership and our shared commitment to community health, we have worked together to positively impact the communities we serve, through our health and wellness programs, healthy food donation events, and construction of futsal courts at schools — all designed to build stronger, healthier communities. We have jointly addressed vital health topics, such as COVID-19 safety practices, vaccine education, healthy eating, and the importance of both physical and mental health via in-person events and social media.
In 2019, the community engagement program LAFC Fit was launched as an after-school health and wellness pilot program that engaged students across 5 Los Angeles middle schools in a month-long wellness curriculum developed collaboratively by LAFC and Kaiser Permanente. Since its inception, the LAFC Fit program has benefited hundreds of students and their families.
Although the initial plan for 2020 was to expand on the in-school initiative, COVID-19 required the program to pivot and address pressing community health priorities. In 2020, a virtual 30-day health and fitness challenge was developed. The challenge included weekly LAFC player videos promoting health tips, and participants were eligible to receive a package filled with healthy living items and LAFC merchandise.
In 2021, LAFC and Kaiser Permanente partnered with 2 Healthy Living Pick-Ups. More than 1,000 families received grocery boxes of healthy food, COVID-19 safety items, and healthy living resource kits during the events.
Each year of the partnership, LAFC and Kaiser Permanente team up with school districts, such as the Los Angeles Unified School District and Lynwood Unified School District, to create futsal courts at schools, expanding access to fitness opportunities for students and providing an opportunity to play the world’s game of soccer.
“Play is essential to total health — mind, body, and spirit,” said Julie Miller-Phipps, regional president for Kaiser Permanente Southern California and Hawaii, Health Plan and Hospitals. “We are proud to have made this futsal court commitment to provide youth with a fun way to exercise.”
Our aligned mission
Kaiser Permanente’s roots run deep throughout Southern California, with a long history of expanding health care access to communities, shaping health knowledge, and improving environments. The collaboration with LAFC falls in line with our mission to enhance the total health of our members and the communities we serve. Health and wellness will continue to lead this partnership focusing on health education, fitness programs, mental resilience, and healthy eating.
“Having strong community partners like LAFC, with a shared commitment to improving our communities, makes this all possible,” said Miller-Phipps.