June 1, 2020
Over the past few months, our nation has been suffering from a pandemic that has taken more than 100,000 lives—and disproportionately affected communities of color. While many of you are still on the front lines fighting that battle, we are also facing a new crisis—borne of generations worth of pain—this one precipitated by the horrifying murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others. Across the country, millions are standing up to be heard, expressing deeply ingrained pain at the injustice that has been experienced for centuries.
As I wrote on Twitter over the weekend, everyone who works in medicine does it to save lives, and weeks like this one remind us it’s not enough to lead in the workplace. We also have a duty to advocate for what’s right and fight against injustice. That was a big part of our motivation in starting this school, training students not only to be leaders in medicine but also to be leaders in their communities.
Right now, our community is hurting. We’re trying to make sense of this moment in history and reckon with our place in it. That’s why I convened the leadership team this past Friday to begin a process to identify more ways we can share our perspectives and support each other and our community during these trying times. I also encouraged anyone who is experiencing mental or physical trauma of any kind to reach out to the Kaiser Permanente Employee Assistance Program, which is available to everyone, free of charge.
We will be convening an optional Zoom meeting of the school community from 3 to 5 p.m. PT this Friday, June 5. At this gathering, we will break into small, facilitated groups to discuss how we are coping with the moment and how we as a community can better address the individual and structural racism that permeates our culture. If you are unable to attend, we will share any follow-up at our next school-wide team meeting on June 11.
I know our country feels fractured and broken right now. But if there’s anything the medical community knows how to do, it’s to strive to help our fellow human beings in their time of need, no matter how deep our wounds may be.
So, I hope all of you stay safe—and take care of yourselves. And if you need anything at all, you know where to find me.
When I first heard that Kaiser Permanente was starting a medical school, I thought it made perfect sense. I could immediately see the potential of a school embedded in our nation’s leading integrated healthcare system, with its focus on team-based care, population health, technological innovation, and continuous quality improvement. It was clear that this school would make a major contribution to medical education, to healthcare, and, ultimately, to health. Two years later, I was extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to join the school.
My enthusiasm was shared by many others who have come on board as senior leaders, faculty, and staff, often leaving behind key positions around the country. What drives all of us at the school is the opportunity to draw on evidence-based educational approaches from across the globe to provide our students with an outstanding experience.
Our graduates will be excellent clinicians in every field of medicine, wherever they choose to make their careers. They will practice person-centered care, appreciate the many social factors that influence heath, and seek to understand and meet the needs of people from diverse backgrounds. They will be lifelong learners who assess new evidence and new technology and adapt to a changing healthcare landscape. And they will serve as advocates for their patients’ overall well-being–in homes, schools, workplaces, and communities.
Thank you for taking the time to learn more about our school.
Mark A. Schuster, MD, PhD
Founding Dean and Chief Executive Officer, Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine
To provide a world-class medical education that ignites a passion for learning, a desire to serve, and an unwavering commitment to improve the health and well-being of patients and communities.