Kaiser Permanente will hand out more than $200,000 in community grants to 18 local groups at a reception Thursday.

The grants from Kaiser Permanente Kern County are for agencies that deal with the following issues: access to health insurance coverage and health care services, obesity prevention and management, and improving teen pregnancy and infant health rates, according to a Kaiser news release. The grants are for July 2013 through June 2014.

A total of $213,868 in grants ranging from $2,500 to $22,500 will be distributed to the following recipients:

Advanced Center for Eyecare, Alzheimer's Disease Association of Kern County, Bakersfield Homeless Center, Clinica Sierra Vista -- HIV Rapid Testing, Clinica Sierra Vista -- Homeless Mental Health Care, Cal State Bakersfield Department of Nursing, Flood Bakersfield Ministries, Kern County Medically Vulnerable Care Coordination Project, Society for Disabled Children, Children's Health Initiative, Afford Foundation, American Heart Association, Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County, Girl Scouts of Central California South, Housing Authority of the County of Kern, Kern County Superintendent of Schools, Community Action Partnership of Kern and Love INC of Greater Bakersfield.

The grants will pay for myriad projects including community gardens, programs that teach healthy eating habits and materials for presentations on health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act. The full list of projects is available at bakersfield.com.

Bakersfield Memorial Hospital will unveil an addition $5 million and five years in the making Thursday.

The hospital will hold a ribbon cutting for its new Bi-plane Interventional Suite at the catheterization laboratory in the Sarvanand Heart and Stroke Center. Ron Clyde, the hospital's director of cardiac services, said the new Innova IGS 630 imaging system at the heart of the suite produces clearer images of a patient's anatomy from two different views with less radiation than other systems. The equipment is made by GE Healthcare.

"It's like a big X-ray that moves around the patient," he said.

The equipment, which cost just more than $2 million, will serve a variety of uses, including imaging for stroke, cardiac and pediatric patients.

"It's very versatile. It's going to address the needs of all these different specialists," Clyde said, adding that this is the only equipment of its kind in Kern County.

The new technology will be used on patients for the first time this week.

"We're real excited about having this equipment and getting it up and going," Clyde said.

The Central Valley Lactation Association will host its first fundraiser next week with a Western-themed dinner.

The association is "a collective of experienced breastfeeding clinicians and educators," according to a news release. The group's website said the association's mission "is to enrich, promote, support and provide continuing education for lactation consultants, health care providers and all others working to support breastfeeding babies and their mothers."

The dinner will be held 6:30 p.m. July 19 at San Joaquin Valley College, 201 New Stine Road, according to the group's website. Tickets are $25, $45 for two or $180 for a table of eight. Call 241-3495 to purchase tickets.

-- Californian staff writer Rachel Cook