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From Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine:

Honoring the Legacy of Bernard J. Tyson

Leaders and students unveil official portrait of the school’s namesake and reflect on his commitment to medical education

September 22, 2020

The Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine (KPSOM) held a private ceremony with national leadership to unveil an official portrait of school namesake and champion, the late Kaiser Permanente Chairman and CEO Bernard J. Tyson. The painting, created by Delfin Finley, a Los Angeles-based painter and alumnus of the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, where the school is also located, celebrates Tyson and the integral role he played in the school’s formation.

On hand for the physically distanced ceremony were Mark Schuster, MD, PhD, founding dean and CEO of KPSOM; Greg Adams, chairman and CEO of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Hospitals; Edward Ellison, MD, executive medical director and chairman of the Board, Southern California Permanente Medical Group; Julie Miller-Phipps, president of Kaiser Permanente Southern California Health Plan and Hospitals; Ramin Davidoff, MD; Denise Bradley-Tyson, Bernard’s widow; and four students selected by lottery. 

“Opening this school was a labor of love for Bernard. His enthusiasm for this institution and for our mission was infectious. He bubbled over with joy at every milestone we reached,” said Dean Schuster. “Although Bernard wasn’t a doctor himself, it’s no exaggeration to say we want to support the development of future doctors here in his image ─ to be intellectually curious, creative, thoughtful, and kind, and to find constant joy and purpose in their life’s work.”

Following opening remarks from the dean, Mrs. Bradley-Tyson shared touching recollections of her late husband’s commitment to the school before the 48-inch-by-54-inch portrait by Finley was unveiled. The artwork has a prominent home on the first floor of the state-of-the-art medical education building.

Finley, an L.A.-based, contemporary realism artist is known for his representational portraits of people of color, which present each figure powerfully but with an intimacy and sensitivity that reflect the personal experience of his subjects. Finley has been commissioned to create a second portrait of Bernard to be hung in the Ordway Building at Kaiser Permanente national headquarters in Oakland.

The unveiling was attended by four students from the medical school’s inaugural class, including Artem Osherov, Samir Fierro, Shannan Moore, and Nicholas S. Rodriguez.

The former Chairman and CEO was a driving force behind the formation of the medical school, which supports students in becoming skilled advocates for their patients and communities. The school was designed to offer an outstanding, forward-thinking medical education built on the three pillars of Biomedical Science, Clinical Science, and Health Systems Science. It incorporates the most innovative and effective educational practices available today. Students will learn about health disparities and social factors that influence health and have the opportunity to learn from the physicians and care teams in Kaiser Permanente’s integrated health care system. KPSOM’s Board of Directors renamed the school after Mr. Tyson following his untimely passing in November 2019 to honor his deep commitment to the institution and tireless work on behalf of health equity and community health.