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Kaiser Permanente Plans to Open Medical School in 2019

December 21, 2015
by Heather Landi
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Oakland, Calif.-based integrated healthcare system Kaiser Permanente announced last week plans to open its own medical school in Southern California.

Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine will enroll its first class of students in 2019, and Christine Cassel, M.D., president and CEO of National Quality Forum, will take a leadership role in designing the new medical school, according to a release from Kaiser Permanente.

Kaiser has a long history of innovation in healthcare delivery and its goal is to use that knowledge to build a school that 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,” the company said.

“Opening a medical school and influencing physician education is based on our belief that the new models of care mean we must re-imagine how physicians are trained,” Bernard 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.”

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, according to the company’s release.

While traditionally medical education has been centered on care delivered in hospitals and medical offices, as more consumers are using mobile technology in every aspect of their lives, they expect to use that same technology where and when they get their healthcare.

“Medical education needs to change to keep pace with the changing health care delivery system and changing patient needs,” George Thibault, M.D., president of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation. “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.”

Kaiser’s proposed medical school with begin the accreditation planning process in the coming months.  Recruitment for the founding dean will begin in the coming year.


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