The Importance of Graduate Medical Education for Permanente Physicians, Kaiser Permanente, and American Medicine

Scott Rasgon, MD, Senior Editor

Fall 2007 - Volume 11 Number 4


In this tribute, the voices of Kaiser Permanente (KP) Graduate Medical Education (GME) leaders highlight the rich history of resident education in KP, its importance to Permanente physicians and the organization, and its current and future impact on American medicine. Managed care organizations have often been criticized for not participating in GME--financially and with scholars.1 Most of these organizations are not vertically integrated medical care systems like KP, and their competitive bargaining with hospitals has had an unfortunate negative effect on GME. However, KP has a six-decade experience of independent residency training programs. In an interview, Benjamin Chu, MD, KP Southern California Regional President, shares a comparative view of American medicine and KP on the basis of his years of work with GME at New York University School of Medicine; program leaders Bruce Blumberg, MD, and Marc Klau, MD, review GME in Northern and Southern California, respectively; program leaders Thomas Tom, MD, and Peter Chee, MD, outline the UCLA-KP connection; Jimmy Hara, MD, with Sandra May Gonzales, PhD, delineates the required competencies for residents; and, with Walter Coppenrath, MD, describes a Community Service Program. Twenty-year perspectives are shared by two physicians who were residents in the KP system: one, Barry Rasgon, MD, who trained at the Oakland Medical Center and stayed on to become the Director of Research at the Oakland Medical Center Head and Neck Residents Training Program; and another, Richard Schwartz, MD, who left the KP system to become the Medical Director of the North Shore Medical Group and Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at Stony Brook University Hospital, where he has also served as Chief of General Medicine. Albert Palitz, MD, reminisces about the teachers who helped him to find the direction of his life. Finally, Barry Rasgon, MD, and Janell Rasgon, RT, share a story of a third world residency experience in Guatemala.


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