Kaiser Permanente’s new medical school in Pasadena brought in its first class of 50 students.
The Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine was named after Kaiser Permanente’s late CEO, who unexpectedly died in November.
Plans for the school first began a decade ago and were shared with the public in 2015. The focus was on having smaller-than-usual classes of students, and training students on the managed care organization’s brand of medicine.
The school will waive tuition costs for its first five classes through 2024. Thereafter, tuition is expected to be about $55,000, though students will be able to receive financial aid.
Another unique feature of the school is that students will be able to get hands-on experience starting with their third week of classes. Most medical students begin clinical clerkships in their third or fourth year of school, but Kaiser Permanente says students will be able to care for patients in “longitudinal integrated clerkships” in their first two years.
Some of those plans have shifted slightly with the Covid-19 pandemic. In their third week, students will begin working with simulated patients, but a large portion of this will be able to take place virtually, a company spokeswoman wrote in an email. For classes, the school will opt for a hybrid approach, with some taught in-person and others taught virtually.
SARS-CoV-2 will also be making an appearance in students’ curriculum, with students learning about the biology of virus, the clinical implications of Covid-19, the pandemic in the context of racial and ethnic health disparities, and vaccine development and delivery.
“As our nation grapples with a devastating pandemic, long overdue attention to social injustice, and entrenched disparities in health and health care, we are excited to train students who will become outstanding clinicians and skilled advocates for patients and communities,” the school’s founding dean and CEO Dr. Mark Schuster said in a news release. “I am thrilled about our incoming class as well as the faculty and staff who have come together to participate in their education.”
Prospective students for the school’s second class can submit their applications by October 1.