This is a special year in the history of Modern Healthcare’s Health Care Hall of Fame, a partnership between Modern Healthcare and the American College of Healthcare Executives.
Each year, the panel of judges typically awards Hall of Fame status to two or three leaders whose decadeslong contributions changed healthcare forever. For the first time, the Hall of Fame departs from its tradition of inducting multiple luminaries. This year’s panel of judges decided—unanimously—to bestow the honor on a single leader: Bernard J. Tyson, the former chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente, who passed away in November 2019 at the age of 60.
Bernard will be in good company in the Hall of Fame. Inductees have taken on this industry’s toughest challenges via innovation, collaboration, tenacity and grit. From charity care to diversity and inclusion to population health, the Hall of Fame honors breakthroughs made real by people who mobilized resources, expertise and talent to reshape this business and mission we call healthcare.
The Health Care Hall of Fame represents the essence and epitome of leadership. Look back across the decades and you’ll notice a cluster of common traits:
Vision: Inductees saw what could and should be and knew how to make it happen. They merged inspiration with implementation.
Perspective: Inductees understood the trade-off between quick hits and short-term results and long-lasting impact and legacy. They saw their careers not as sprints but as marathons.
Dedication: Inductees pitched in to close out the project and achieve the mission—no matter how difficult the journeys to get there.
Aspiration: Inductees set blue-sky expectations for the people around them—and themselves. They’re always searching for a better way—in their organizations, professions and communities.
Authenticity: Inductees are who they say they are. They never forgot where they came from. No matter what their race, gender, education or religion, they embrace their uniqueness.
Bernard didn’t just exhibit these characteristics. He refined and expanded upon them.
Bernard empowered everyone around him. He wanted to hear what they thought and felt so they could make the best possible decisions and move Kaiser forward.
Bernard was a master of big-picture thinking. He reached beyond Kaiser’s walls to the dream of healthy communities. He understood that Kaiser served complex people with complex needs—from food and housing, to transportation and safe streets.
It surprised no one that Bernard launched programs that took on the social determinants of health. Who but Bernard would have pushed back on food deserts with farmers’ markets or built a multimillion-dollar fund to tackle housing and homelessness?
And yet, Bernard never forgot who he was and where he came from. He confronted the high price tag of racism and discrimination, never veering from Kaiser’s promise to treat each patient with dignity and respect. In doing so, Bernard transformed the national conversation on race, diversity and inclusion.
Bernard J. Tyson lived his values, fulfilled Kaiser’s mission, and raised up the people around him. He was an authentic change agent who leaves healthcare with a vibrant legacy of achievement.
We’re honored to welcome Bernard J. Tyson into the Health Care Hall of Fame. For decades to come his legacy will be an inspiration to us all.