Statement from Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science on the passing of Bernard J. Tyson

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (November 14, 2019) - The entire Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU) Family—students, faculty, staff and board of trustees—joins the healthcare world in grief as we note the untimely passing of Bernard J. Tyson, President and CEO of Kaiser Permanente.

An industry and community leader, Tyson was an example and standard-setter for us all in healthcare and health professions higher education.  

He sought not just to remake the healthcare delivery system of this country—he was an early advocate of the Affordable Care Act—but also to incorporate the social determinants of health, such as violence, food insecurity and poverty, into the national discussion on care and wellness.  Tyson was dedicated to community benefit, eliminating health disparities due to race and ethnicity and increasing access to healthcare in under-resourced communities, especially communities of color.

“CDU has been one of countless healthcare and community organizations and educational institutions that have benefited from the support of Kaiser Permanente and the leadership of Bernard Tyson,” said CDU President/CEO Dr. David M. Carlisle.  “We know that his legacy and influence will endure within Kaiser, but at the same time, we deeply mourn his loss:  as a transformative healthcare leader, as an influential voice for medically underserved populations and as a powerful role model for African-American business executives.”


CDU is a private, non-profit, student-centered, minority-serving medical and health sciences University that is committed to cultivating diverse health professional leaders who are dedicated to social justice and health equity for underserved populations through outstanding education, research, clinical service and community engagement.

Located in the Watts-Willowbrook area of South Los Angeles, CDU has graduated, since its inception, more than 600 physicians, 1,225 physician assistants and nearly 1,600 other health professionals, as well as training over 2,700 physician specialists through its sponsored residency programs. Its School of Nursing has graduated over 1,300 nursing professionals, including over 950 family nurse practitioners.  CDU is a leader in health disparities research with a focus on education, training, treatment and care in cancer, diabetes, cardiometabolic diseases and HIV/AIDS.

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