• Suzy

Providence St. Joseph Health – Impacting Community Health and Well Being

Someone recently asked me why it would matter to me if a health provider invests, or not, in my community. The answer is easy. Resources play an important role in a community and I believe social needs are medical needs. Recent studies support and suggest that behavior and social circumstances such as living, working and access to services make-up about 60% of our health (genetics=30% and only 10% is actual health care).

If you follow me you know that I am a military veteran, working mom, cancer warrior and daughter of Mexican immigrants.  Health care, social services, wellness, community and culture are all very important topics to me.  I’m very excited to partner with Providence St. Joseph Health to talk about their Community Benefits program, the fundamental belief that health is a human right and share all the great work they are doing across the Western States, especially in SoCal.  

What is the Providence St. Joseph Health Community Benefits Program?

The Community Benefits program is a series of partnerships with non-profit organizations to address the needs of the vulnerable and economically and socially disadvantaged.  Focused on community engagement and system change to improve the physical, emotional and spiritual health with a range of community-based and needs-based programs, interventions and services. The result of a $370 million annual investment by Providence, part of $1.6 Billion nationally. 

One interesting and unique approach to this program is the health needs assessment.  By engaging the community every three years they can identify and prioritize the most pressing needs of each community they serve. 

Services like the Mission Hospital Promotores program serving the economic disadvantaged in the neighborhoods surrounding Lake Forest, San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano where immigration is also a major concern.  Many of these families avoid health care services for fear of being reported to Immigration Services.  The Promotoras visited over 4200 households in 2018 reaching over 6,000 individuals and connected families to much-needed services addressing a critical access issue in these SoCal communities. 

Programs like Communities of Excellence by St. Mary Medical Center in the High Desert that includes helping local residents become certified physical fitness trainers, sponsoring weight loss challenges, conducting nutrition education programs, and teaching Spanish-speaking residents to advocate at the city level for policies that support a healthy lifestyle.

I’m also impressed with Move More, Eat Healthy and Resident Leadership Academy sponsored by St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton that in 2018 engaged 25,337 participants at events such as health fairs, clinics in the park, 5K runs, and nutrition and physical activity classes. It also boasts 195 healthy lifestyle classes, which taught skills such as cooking healthy meals on a budget, making healthy snacks and engaging in physical activity using local resources, such as parks and bike paths. The program also funded 13 outdoor fitness centers to provide residents of low-income neighborhoods a safe place to exercise.  RLA is a specialized course that empowers residents by providing them with the knowledge, tools, strategies and commitment to make healthy environment and policy changes at the community level.

All so impressive but only a few of the many programs that are part of the Providence St. Joseph Health Community Benefits / Health for a Better World vision.

Click Here (  to read more about what’s happening in SoCal and across the family of Providence organizations and communities they serve.

Contact your local hospital to find out about volunteer opportunities with Community Benefits Programs across the seven Western states. 

  • Promotoras:

  • Move more eat healthy:

  • St. Mary

This post was created in partnership with Providence St. Joseph Health. All opinions are my own

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