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Kaiser Permanente to Name Med School After Late Chairman and CEO Bernard Tyson

Analysis  |  By Steven Porter  
   November 19, 2019

The prominent leader's commitment to social determinants of health 'will be woven into medical education at the new school.'

Oakland, California–based Kaiser Permanente will name its new medical school after late Chairman and CEO Bernard J. Tyson, who died unexpectedly in his sleep earlier this month.

The decision was announced Monday during a memorial service in San Francisco. The school, which is slated to welcome its first cohort of medical students next summer, will be in Pasadena.

"Bernard spent his entire career focused on ensuring greater access to affordable, high-quality health care for all, and I know the school that now bears his name will help carry this legacy into the future," said interim Chairman and CEO Gregory A. Adams in a statement.

Holly J. Humphrey, MD, board chair for the Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine and president of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, said the board decided to honor Tyson's backing for the school, his courageous leadership, and his commitment to equity and diversity.

"These same values are at the core of the mission and vision of this school and will serve to inspire current and future generations," Humphrey said.

Plans for the med school were announced in 2016, with the stated goal of reorienting physician education around five pillars: patient-centered care, population health, quality improvement, team-based care, and health equity. The school began accepting applications earlier this year and announced that it will waive all tuition for the full four years of schooling for its first five classes.

Tyson worked for Kaiser Permanente more than three decades. He was named CEO in 2013 and chairman in 2014. During his tenure, he earned a reputation as a proponent of health systems investing in social determinants of health, through housing, transportation, and food initiatives, said Ed Pei, chair of the board executive committee of Kaiser Foundation Health Plans and Hospitals.

"Bernard drove us as an organization to take a stake in housing and food security, clean air, safe recreational space, and reducing gun violence, among other concerns," Pei said. "These and other topics will be woven into medical education at the new school, and that consciousness among generations of newly minted physicians will be a lasting part of Bernard's legacy as a national health care leader."

Related: Strike Postponed After Sudden Death of Kaiser Permanente CEO Bernard Tyson

Steven Porter is an associate content manager and Strategy editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.

Photo credit: Provided/Kaiser Permanente


The new school, which was announced in 2016, is slated to open in 2020.

Tuition will be waived for the first five cohorts of students.

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