UCI Health, community partners launch groundbreaking healthcare initiative

Creating a systematic culture of wellness for Orange County’s underserved

June 17, 2016

UCI Health and several Orange County community partners are launching an initiative designed to improve health outcomes for the underserved through an integrative approach to medicine. “Live Healthy OC – Empowering a Community of Wellness” seeks to shift the focus of community health centers from disease treatment to disease prevention and wellness.

The initiative is supported by a generous grant from the UniHealth Foundation to support the project between 2016 and 2019. Joining UniHealth and UCI Health are Health Funders Partnership of Orange County, the UCI School of Medicine, the Samueli Foundation, the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine, the Blue Shield Foundation of California, the Children and Families Commission of Orange County, the Kay Family Foundation, and the Coalition of Orange County Community Health Centers.

“An integrative health approach emphasizes prevention and creating wellness, improved quality of life and patient empowerment,” said Rhonda M. Smith, project manager. “This broader, integrative model combines traditional western medicine with evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine practices that address the whole person. The name of our initiative reflects our goal – patient empowerment through transformation of the healthcare delivery system.”

Two groups of clinics will participate in an 18-month training period to put integrative medicine practices and principles into action. The first group includes:

  • Center for Comprehensive Care & Diagnosis of Inherited Blood Disorders
  • Children’s Hospital of Orange County, Orange Primary Care Clinic
  • North OC Regional Health Foundation
  • Serve the People Community Health Center
  • Vietnamese Community of Orange County, Inc.

The second group of clinics will be selected in 2017.

“Integrative health addresses some of the fundamental needs of patients living in our underserved communities,” said Dr. David Kilgore, the initiative’s principal investigator. “It is not fluffy add-on therapy, but powerful, evidence-based medicine that is critical in disease prevention and helps relieve the unnecessary suffering from chronic diseases widely prevalent in so many of our patients.”

Kilgore, who is also director of the integrative medicine track for the UCI School of Medicine Family Medicine residency program, says the initiative will increase knowledge of integrative medicine and strengthen the required skills among the community health centers’ doctors and staff, enabling them to effectively empower the county’s most vulnerable and underserved patients to take an active role in their own health and wellness.

“When we refocus from managing illness and disease to creating a community of health, wellness, and well-being, we will transform the way healthcare is delivered and empower patients,” said Gerald Solomon, executive director of the Samueli Foundation.

The official launch of the Live Healthy OC initiative will be held from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., Friday, June 24, 2016 at the UCI Health Gavin Herbert Eye Institute, 850 Health Sciences Road, Irvine, CA 92697.

Learn more about the event and RSVP to attend ›

Live Healthy OC is a comprehensive initiative created to transform the culture, practice and care delivery models of participating clinics serving the underserved from a disease-based management model to a sustainable integrated health approach. The initiative will support a three-year process for approximately eight Orange County clinics that have demonstrated the readiness and capacity to implement an integrative health and medicine delivery model that uses proven methods focused on prevention and creating wellness. The initiative is engaging and supporting Orange County community health centers and clinics in a collaborative learning and implementation process. Live Healthy OC partners believe that supporting clinics during this change is critical to transforming how health care is delivered to the underserved and improving health outcomes across Orange County.

UCI Health comprises the clinical, medical education and research enterprises of the University of California, Irvine. Patients can access UCI Health at physician offices throughout Orange County and at its main campus, UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange, Calif., a 411-bed acute care hospital that provides tertiary and quaternary care, ambulatory and specialty medical clinics, behavioral health and rehabilitation. U.S. News & World Report has listed it among America’s Best Hospitals for 15 consecutive years. UC Irvine Medical Center features Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal/neonatal program, Level I trauma center and Level II pediatric trauma center, and is the primary teaching hospital for UC Irvine School of Medicine. UCI Health serves a region of more than 3 million people in Orange County, western Riverside County and southeast Los Angeles County. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About the University of California, Irvine: Currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 30,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $4.8 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit www.uci.edu.