Kaiser Permanente to name new medical after late CEO

Kaiser Permanente, the Oakland, Calif.-based non-profit health system, will name its new medical school after its late CEO and chairman Bernard Tyson, who died suddenly in November.

Tyson passed away unexpectedly Nov. 10 at age 60. Gregory A. Adams, executive vice president and group president, was immediately named interim chairman and CEO.

Kaiser’s medical school, which is expected to open in 2020, is based in Pasadena, Calif., and will offer tuition-free schooling for the first five graduating classes. The health system’s board of directors decided to name the school the Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine. The school is scheduled to open its doors to the first class of medical students in the summer of 2020.

"Bernard Tyson's passion for this medical school was a driving force in its creation and will be a daily reminder of his own lived commitment to equity, diversity, and courageous leadership," Holly J. Humphrey, MD, Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine board chair and president of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, said in a statement. "These same values are at the core of the mission and vision of this school and will serve to inspire current and future generations."

Tyson was with Kaiser for more than 30 years and was named CEO in 2013 and chairman of the board in 2014. Over his years with the non-profit healthcare entity, Tyson managed nearly every major part of Kaiser’s health plan and hospital system. He served in many roles, from hospital administrator and division president to chief operating officer before taking the helm of the entire organization.

"Bernard understood that social determinants of health such as housing, transportation and food––circumstances outside the walls of our clinics and hospitals – have a huge impact on personal and community health," Ed Pei, chair of the executive committee of Kaiser Foundation Health Plans and Hospitals, said in a statement. "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. 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 healthcare leader.

Kaiser Permanente is also in the process of building a new headquarters with a $900 million price tag, expected to be completed in 2023.