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Kaiser Permanente and United Nations Celebrate 70th Anniversary of UN Charter in San Francisco

Both organizations share origins in the waning days of World War II, and a vision for making the world a safer, healthier place

June 25, 2015



Badge for the United Nations 70th anniversary is the numeral 70 with an image of the UN logo in the middle of the zero

OAKLAND, Calif. — Kaiser Permanente is proud to announce that it will be a co-host at the United Nations Foundation’s celebration of the UN’s 70th anniversary in San Francisco on June 26. Both Kaiser Permanente and the United Nations originated in the Bay Area in the summer of 1945, and share a common vision of a better world, especially in terms of the environment and its role in community health.

“We are honored to be part of this important observance,” said Kaiser Permanente Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bernard J. Tyson. “Both of our organizations have been working for 70 years to improve the quality of life and to make the world a safer and healthier place.”

The anniversary-observance events include a daylong series of meetings and panel discussions on topics ranging from the private sector’s role in the UN’s sustainable development goals, job creation, human rights protection and gender equality and support for the LGBT community around the globe.

Kaiser Permanente’s Raymond J. Baxter, senior vice president for community benefit, research and health policy, will be part of a roundtable with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that will discuss how to build momentum for bold action at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in December, which aims to establish a binding and universal international agreement on climate.

Kaiser Permanente, which recently crossed the 10-million-member mark, has a well-established record for environmental stewardship and a dedication to increasing its use of renewable energy. Kaiser Permanente is one of nine health organizations in the world committed to a 30 percent reduction in its carbon footprint by 2020, and its efforts to achieve mercury-free hospitals led to a treaty that 120 countries, including the U.S., have now signed.

“We know that environmental health has a direct effect on human health, and that communities cannot thrive without clean air, clean water and clean soil,” Baxter said. “Climate change is not an abstract threat. The effects already are being felt here and around the world in the form of higher asthma rates and communicable-disease transmission, as well as death and dislocation due to more frequent severe-weather events. Climate change needs to be addressed for what it is — a serious threat to public health.”

Another topic of discussion at the anniversary celebration will be innovation and its role in improving the lives of people everywhere. As it turns out, Kaiser Permanente innovation had a role in helping the UN over a rough spot in the process of getting a charter signed in San Francisco 70 years ago.

A black and white photo from the 1940s with three men standing together in an industrial yard

USSR Foreign Commisar Vyacheslav Molotov, Henry J. Kaiser, American Ambassador to the Soviet Union Averell Harriman; Kaiser Richmond shipyards, May 6, 1945.

At one point in the spring of 1945, negotiations about how to form the UN deadlocked. The U.S. Secretary of State called delegates’ attention to Henry J. Kaiser’s highly efficient shipyard across the bay in Richmond, and held it up as an example of what was possible when people put aside their differences and concentrate on innovation. At the same time, Kaiser was busy turning his wartime health plan for shipyard workers into the first fully integrated, public health plan and health care delivery system, which eventually took the name Kaiser Permanente. Following tours of the shipyard, delegates broke their deadlock and resumed negotiations that resulted in the UN charter being signed.

“We are proud of our shared history,” Baxter said, “and we are proud to be part of this global, meaningful push to address climate change and improve global health.”

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, Kaiser Permanente has a mission 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.