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Kaiser Permanente’s Innovative Approach to Care Delivery Defines Its New National School of Medicine Opening in 2019

Medical school will educate physicians to meet 21st-century demands of diverse consumers and communities

December 17, 2015



Kaiser Permanente logo in white on blue background

OAKLAND, Calif. – Kaiser Permanente today announced plans to open the Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine as part of the organization’s ongoing effort to lead in meeting America’s demands for 21st-century health care.

Extending the innovation of the Kaiser Permanente approach to patient health and care, the school will redesign physician education around strategic pillars that include providing high-quality care beyond traditional medical settings, acknowledging the central importance of collaboration and teamwork to inform treatment decisions, and addressing disparities in health.

“Opening a medical school and influencing physician education is based on our belief that the new models of care mean we must reimagine how physicians are trained,” said Bernard J. Tyson, chairman and CEO, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals. “Training a new generation of physicians to deliver on the promise of health and health care demonstrates our belief that our model of care is best for the current and future diverse populations in this country.”

“When fully realized, the school will enhance the health care provided nationwide and beyond as the newly graduated physicians bring to bear their training and knowledge wherever they choose to practice,” said Edward M. Ellison, MD, a national Permanente leader, an executive sponsor for the School of Medicine, and executive medical director, Southern California Permanente Medical Group. “Kaiser Permanente has been a catalyst for change in care delivery, and we will be a catalyst in medical education, through the opening of the Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine.”

Shifts in the U.S. population have created more diverse communities, which require greater cultural competency and understanding. The Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine will teach advanced skills in decision-making, teamwork, the use of technology, evidenced-based medicine and communication tailored to specific populations.

Today, people are conducting their business and their lives using mobile technology. They want to use that same technology where and when they get their care, and they expect partnership in pursuit of their health goals. Physician education — originally built around care delivered in hospitals and medical offices — has not evolved as rapidly as patient and community needs. Keeping pace with that change, Kaiser Permanente now delivers care and supports better health using every site, technology and digital mobile device available, all connected to its world-class electronic health record.

The creation of the school also advances work the organization already does in physician education — with more than 600 new physicians currently completing their residency programs at Kaiser Permanente, and several thousand more from 50 affiliated programs who complete a portion of their training at Kaiser Permanente each year.

Many national advocates calling for a transformation of medical education agree that Kaiser Permanente has the expertise, capacity and commitment to train a new generation of physicians.

“Medical education needs to change to keep pace with the changing health care delivery system and changing patient needs,” said George Thibault, MD, president of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, which is the only national foundation dedicated to improving the health of the public by advancing the education and training of health professionals. “Kaiser Permanente is in a position to make important contributions to these changes by bringing its vast experience with teamwork, coordinated care and technology to medical education. Kaiser Permanente’s proposed new medical school will join other new schools and reform-minded existing schools in this effort to better align medical education with contemporary societal needs.”

In the coming months, the organization will move to establish the legal entity and organizational structure for the new medical school and begin the accreditation planning and process. The school is scheduled to open in the fall of 2019 and will be located in Southern California, where physicians-in-training will be immersed in an environment of cultural and economic diversity.

The planning, design and implementation of the Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine will be led by a multidisciplinary team of physician, health plan and operational leaders. Nationally recognized care quality leader, Christine K. Cassel, MD, will be joining the team responsible for designing this innovative new approach to training the physicians of tomorrow. Recruitment for the founding dean will begin in the coming year and the school will welcome its first class of students in the fall of 2019.

About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 10 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: kp.org/share.