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Cynthia Telles: Education and Wellness are Keys to Community Transformation in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES, CA / ACCESSWIRE / September 5, 2019 / Kaiser Permanente and Los Angeles-based social service non-profit El Nido Family Centers joined in partnership to strengthen families and enrich youth throughout the city of Los Angeles. On August 8, the two organizations collaborated for the eighth consecutive year to provide school supplies to more than 300 children in the Pacoima neighborhood. During this event, Kaiser Permanente also donated $15,000 to El Nido Family Centers to increase access to health care and wellness education in San Fernando Valley.

Guided by the philosophy that “a child cannot grow up twice,” the El Nido Family Centers serves as a safe space for disadvantaged and at-risk populations throughout Los Angeles. The event focused on setting the school year off on a positive path. Children and families in the Pacoima neighborhood were greeted by Kaiser Permanente, the El Nido Family Centers, and the Pacoima Neighborhood Council as the three organizations distributed 400 backpacks filled with school supplies, such as writing utensils and notebooks. In addition to receiving educational supplies, families were also given wellness resources via information booths, interactive games, free dental screenings, and giveaways.

“Ensuring children have a healthy start and the community support needed to build a strong foundation is a shared mission of Kaiser Permanente and the El Nido Family Centers,” said Dr. Cynthia Telles, chair of Kaiser Permanente’s Community Health Committee and director of the University of California, Los Angeles' (UCLA) Hispanic Neuropsychiatric Center of Excellence. “This amazing organization serves more than 10,000 children and provides critical support to families facing a myriad of challenges. We are honored to help amplify their efforts this school year.”

As the founder of UCLA’s Spanish Speaking Psychosocial Clinic, Dr. Telles has been a long-time advocate for wellness services for underserved communities. She established the clinic in 1977 and has since encouraged more inclusivity among mental health care professionals. Recently, Dr. Telles commented on the need for greater bilingual care and services for Hispanic and underserved communities.

“While a bookbag drive or a donation may seem straightforward, the end-result levels up to a greater impact that is influential for both families and communities,” said Dr. Telles. “It is important for youth and families in our communities to be equipped with the resources, be encouraged to engage in educational and academic pursuits, have access to quality care, and be informed about services. Just as important, people must see firsthand that community organizations understand their daily challenges and take into account cultural norms when engaging and supporting them.”

Since its partnership began in 2012, Kaiser Permanente and El Nido Family Centers have assisted hundreds of families.


Cynthia Telles, PhD has dedicated her professional career to expanding access to high-quality health and mental health care, especially to underserved communities. She has served on Boards of Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. since April 2003, where she is also dhair of the Community Health Committee. Additionally, she has chaired the boards of the California Endowment, and the California Community Foundation. For over three decades, Dr. Telles has been the director of the UCLA Spanish-Speaking Psychosocial Clinic, which provides psychiatric and psychological services to low-income Latino patients and training to mental health professionals. Currently, she is also director of the UCLA Hispanic Neuropsychiatric Center of Excellence.

For more information, please reach out to John Nelson at John.E.Nelson@kp.org.

SOURCE: Kaiser Permanente

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