Kaiser Permanente: Official Health Partner

We are thrilled to work with our Official Health Partner, Kaiser Permanente, to make the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games a success. Kaiser Permanente’s mission and belief in total health closely align with our own mission to transform lives through the joy of sport.  Kaiser Permanente is committed to supporting the health of its members and patients in body, mind and spirit and is bringing this unique approach to the 2018 USA Games.

Jessie Fudge, MD, chief for Activity, Sports & Exercise Medicine at Kaiser Permanente Washington, is passionate about delivering world-class care to our athletes in her role as the 2018 USA Games Chief Medical Officer.

Dr. Fudge has jumped right into her role. She will be leveraging best practices established through the experiences of Special Olympics events and has spent time observing the success of the 2017 Southern California Summer Games in Long Beach, California, and providing medical care during the 2017 Special Olympics North America Golf Championship.

“I am really excited to work with Kaiser Permanente and Special Olympics to create a safe and fun event that highlights the talents of these amazing athletes,” said Dr. Fudge. “We are proud to bring the commitment and clinical expertise of our medical providers, nurses and employees to this world-class event, and we will ensure the athletes competing receive the health care and medical support they need to perform at their best at the USA Games and beyond.”

In addition to overseeing the medical care provided throughout the 2018 USA Games, Dr. Fudge has carefully selected a group of talented Kaiser Permanente physicians and clinical staff to serve as Healthy Athletes Clinical Directors and Sideline Care Directors. Under her direction, these individuals will be responsible for leading and providing specialized medical care to our 4,000+ athletes and coaches, and managing sideline care and logistics across the week-long event.

One of the Healthy Athlete Directors selected is Pam Rock, manager of rehabilitative services at Kaiser Permanente Washington, who believes that Special Olympics is a cause that hits close to home for many of the employees at Kaiser Permanente.

“As someone with a brother who has Down Syndrome, the Special Olympics has a special place in my heart. I have been involved with the organization for many years as a volunteer and as a fan, cheering my brother and the other athletes along. This opportunity to serve as a Healthy Athlete Director is really the perfect opportunity for me to combine my professional work as a physical therapist with my personal desire to support Special Olympics,” said Rock.

Finalizing this medical leadership team is a significant milestone in preparing to serve as the Official Health Partner of the 2018 USA Games, and Dr. Fudge and her team look forward to welcoming, onboarding and training the numerous medical volunteers leading up to next summer.

“At our core, we believe in health care for everybody, and that means total health. It must be affordable and accessible, and as each of the athletes will demonstrate, it must include the mind, body, and spirit,” said Dr. Fudge. “We are honored to contribute our medical expertise to supporting the athletes of the 2018 USA Games and making this an incredible experience for everybody.”