Elected officials, celebrities, KP officials, staff and community members gathered to officially welcome Kaiser Permanente to the Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw area. (Photo By Brian W. Carter)

“It’s just amazing, I don’t know that I can describe it in words, it’s this swell of joy, pride, appreciation and gratitude to so many because this really is the outcome of so many who have poured their time, hearts, souls, talent and skills into making this happen,” said Georgina Garcia, RN SVP, Area Manager of Kaiser Permanente West L.A.

In November 2016, the Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw Medical (KPBHC) facility celebrated its topping off signaling the end of major construction. Then, in August 2017, KPBHC had an open house where thousands of community members came to view the new facility, which later opened to the public on Sept 7. Recently, all the celebrations culminated with a ribbon cutting ceremony where elected officials, celebrities, KP officials, staff and community members gathered to officially welcome Kaiser Permanente to the Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw area.

Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, along with other elected officials like U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, Congresswoman Karen Bass, State Senator Holly Mitchell, Assemblymembers Autumn Burke and Sebastion Ridley-Thomas were in attendance to welcome KPBHC. Certificates were presented on behalf of those offices to KPBHC officials before the ribbon cutting. Wesson commented on the long rode it took to get to this point and commended former LAPD police chief and councilman, Bernard Parks for his early hand in the project. Both Wesson and Ridley-Thomas have seen this project through ups and downs and spoke on how they felt about KPBHC.

“I’m so excited to have a partner with Kaiser, in our community, one that recognizes the health needs of our community, specialize in obesity, diabetes, hypertension—we couldn’t have picked a better partner than Kaiser,” said Wesson.

“It’s a big deal, it’s an important deal and it’s going to help this community in a substantial way,” said Ridley-Thomas. “We’re proud of what’s going on and why it’s going on right here in the Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw community.”

The KPBHC facility is a cutting-edge, four-story medical office building complete with LEED Gold certification. The facility will home to world class providers, technologically advanced exam rooms, equipped with the ability to conduct real time virtual consults with other Kaiser Permanente providers throughout the region.

The 100,000-square-foot building includes a conference room and outdoor event space that will be available to local community groups. In keeping with a healthy community, the grounds have incorporated a 2.5 acres of “green” space, including a contiguous, two-mile walk path. The Baldwin Hills – Crenshaw Medical Offices will be a part of the West Los Angeles Medical Center Service Area, which includes nearly 220,000 members.

The Baldwin Hills – Crenshaw Medical Offices will be a part of the West Los Angeles Medical Center Service Area, which includes nearly 220,000 members. (Photo by Brian W. Carter)

Members of the community came to welcome KPBHC and watch the ribbon cutting ceremony. Guests were also welcomed to lunch and a tour of the facility. One of KPBHC’s neighbors came personally to offer a warm welcome.

“When I saw the groundbreaking and it was going up and it was so big, I said ‘is it a theater?’” said actress, dancer, choreographer, television director and television producer, Debbie Allen.

“Well, we can turn it into that.”

The veteran of the arts also spoke about the relation between health and the arts.

“I’m thrilled to be here, I love my community,” said Allen. “Why am I here because what does dance have to do with medical and healthcare—everything, everything.

“Dance is a transformative art, as all the arts are and we’re changing lives. The arts give [youth] character education and mental health is a big [part] of it.

“I was thrilled to know that Kaiser was coming here and I was looking forward to how we could continue to network between the arts, health and care.”

Some of the proposed services for KPBHC will include a full range of primary care and specialty services, including: Adult Primary Care, Pediatrics, Pharmacy, Diagnostic Imaging, Laboratory, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Ophthalmology, Behavioral Health, Dermatology, Nurse Clinic, Physical Therapy, Optometry, Vision Essentials (contact lens & eyeglass wear), Health education classes, which some classes may require a fee.

“I think the Crenshaw Chamber of Commerce [CCC] is very happy and pleased to have this Kaiser open,” said Armen D. Ross, president and C.E.O of the CCC. “We look at it as an economic shot in the arm for this community and we hope that it serves as a catalyst to bring other high quality retail and commercial establishments here.”

“I mean the brain power that has gone into making this all come together is really a powerful thing and we’re just thrilled,” said Garcia.

For more information, please visit kp.org/baldwinhillscrenshaw. For general information, please visit https://thrive.kaiserpermanente.org.