Kaiser's Halvorson to receive Marketing Visionary award

George Halvorson, former chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente, has been named this year's winner of the Healthcare Marketing Visionary IMPACT Award.

The award, which Modern Healthcare launched in 2014 with sibling publication Advertising Age, is given each year to an outstanding individual who has ethically advanced the public's understanding of healthcare issues and made a lasting contribution to the industry. The winner must have consistently demonstrated the ability to communicate complex healthcare information in a manner that is compelling, reliable and responsible.

Halvorson led Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser, one of the nation's largest integrated healthcare systems, from 2002 until his retirement in December 2013. During his tenure, he raised Kaiser's prominence and influence within the industry by making it a top priority to spread the word about Kaiser's diverse objectives and achievements to constituents inside and outside of the organization.

That was especially true for the system's more than 180,000 employees. Every week, without fail, Halvorson would pen a letter highlighting their achievements, and the challenges facing the organization. Dubbed “Celebration Letters,” they covered a broad variety of themes. When not touting systemwide clinical accomplishments, he encouraged frontline healthcare workers to tackle thorny public health issues. In 2012, Halvorson compiled a compendium of the letters in a book titled KP Inside: 101 letters to the people of Kaiser Permanente.

Key to his messaging methodology was the use of strong data points, as well as an emotional story to humanize the medical side of his weekly topic.

Halvorson also has been active in the organization First 5 California, a not-for-profit, publicly funded initiative emphasizing the importance of optimal early childhood development. The initiative focuses on children's first five years of life, offering assistance and guidance for parents and families through a comprehensive network of education, healthcare, child care and other services. Halvorson has chaired the commission that oversees the program since 2013.

The award will be presented at an Oct. 29 dinner in Chicago during Modern Healthcare's Strategic Marketing Conference. For more information, visit