SANTA ROSA -- Kaiser Permanente today said it will distribute a round of grants totaling $660,000 to 11 community clinics across Northern California to help them "increase their ability to connect patients to important community and public resources."

Among such resources are food banks, job training programs and homeless and domestic violence shelters, according to the health maintenance organization. The grants also will enable the clinics to screen patients for public benefit programs such as CalFresh/SNAP food stamps, earned income tax credit and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children program.

A North Bay organization in the latest round of grants is Petaluma Health Center, where the funding will help support the Doorways to Greater Health program that links patients to public benefits and community resources. The federally qualified health center will offer a drop-in resource clinic and train clinic staff to enroll patients in public benefit programs and make referrals.

"Nearly 70 percent of patient health issues are related to emotional issues -- and often for our patients this is the stress and anxiety related to the very basic needs for healthy food, housing and jobs," said Kathie Powell, chief executive officer of the center. "If we can help people find the resources to address these basic needs, then we are actually preventing illness. We so much appreciate how Kaiser is incredibly forward thinking, and so generous to fund services at community health centers."

In addition, Petaluma Health Center is collaborating with outside resource agencies to send staff or volunteers to provide information for patients. The collaboration will allow additional training for the center's clinical support staff about public benefit programs.

“Kaiser Permanente is committed to keeping people healthy -- and health means much more than just health care,” said Dr. David Shearn, director of Physician Education and Development and Community Benefit physician liaison for Kaiser Permanente Northern California. “It's also healthy food, safe places to live, a job to support one's family. When people have their essential needs met, the whole community benefits, and community clinics offer a trusted place for people to access these essential services. Kaiser Permanente is proud to support the safety net in this work, which helps create better health for all.”

Other recipients of the $60,000, one-year grants were: Curry Senior Center, San FranciscoNorth East Medical Services, San Francisco, Daly City and San JoseRavenswood Family Health Center, San Mateo CountyGardner Family Health Network, San Jose, Santa Clara and GilroyLa Clinica de la Raza, Alameda, Contra Costa County and Solano CountiesLifeLong Medical Care, Alameda CountyTri-City Health Center, Fremont, Newark and Union CityMidtown Medical Center for Children and Families, SacramentoSacramento Native American Health Center, Sacramento areaUnited Health Centers of the San Joaquin Valley, San Joaquin Valley