Awards and Recognition

KPSOM Receives VCH Legacy Award

Honor Acknowledges Healthcare Partnership between School, FQHC

June 19, 2024

Various KPSOM members at the Valley Community Healthcare anniversary celebration.

Valley Community Healthcare (VCH) honored the Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine (KPSOM) with the VCH Legacy Award for Partners in Healthcare during the organization’s 54th anniversary celebration at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles on May 23. The award recognizes KPSOM’s commitment to VCH and its patient community. Lori Carter-Edwards, PhD, MPH, KPSOM Associate Dean for Community Engagement and Government Affairs; Maureen Connelly, MD, MPH, Senior Associate Dean for Academic and Community Affairs; and James Folz, MD, KPSOM Instructor of Clinical Science, were on hand to accept the award on behalf of the school.

“This was an incredible moment for our Service-Learning course, the Health Systems Science Department, the Office of Community Engagement, and our entire school,” said Carter-Edwards. “Receiving the award, the feedback, and the love from last night is a clear testament that what we do matters and has immeasurable impact.”

The event helped highlight VCH’s Workforce Development and Training program that gives medical school students clinical hours in a community health environment, with the goal of creating a pipeline of new physicians dedicated to providing equitable healthcare to community members who need it most. In addition, the event celebrated the retirement of Paula Wilson, VCH CEO. Because VCH was established in 1976, the celebration centered on a disco/Studio 54 theme and was attended by many, including Kaiser Permanente physicians, KPSOM staff, and numerous students who completed their Service-Learning coursework at VCH.

During the event, Dr. Roger Peeks, VCH Community Clinic Preceptor for the Service-Learning Course, shared how the relationship between VCH and KPSOM began with his and Wilson’s outreach to Connelly and has since extended to partnership with KPSOM Health Systems Science instructors Rebecca Deans, MD, a faculty lead, and Alma Lopez, MD, co-course director for Service-Learning. Dr. Peeks also commented on how notably different KPSOM students are, in that they are kind, intelligent, and “will undoubtedly make excellent physicians given my experience with them.”