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Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine Opens in Pasadena Today

Tuition waived for the first five graduating classes

Published on Monday, July 27, 2020 | 3:00 am

Fifty students will begin their journey in medicine when the new Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine on Los Robles Avenue opens today.

The school will hold tours of its state of the art, four-story building with flexible open classrooms, and anatomy resource center, a garden with meditation, yoga and fitness area for student and faculty wellness from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The building is located at 98 S. Los Robles Ave.

“We’re at a critical stage right now in the healthcare industry,” said Walter Harris, senior vice president for the school of Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine.

“This is a great chance for them to actually learn their way through.”

According to Harris the students are extremely passionate about medicine.

Not a single student has voiced concerns or backed out of the program due to the current pandemic.

“They actually have been asking us, ‘what can we do to make our environment safe and healthy and strong,'” Harris said. “These are the students talking. Of course, the faculty, students, and leaders of the school, we’re all about health and safety. We want to make sure they’re going to be able to come to the school and be healthy and safe. It’s amazing how these minds are coming together and making a really unique culture.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the school to make adjustments, including adopting a “hybrid model” that includes in-class and virtual programs and more frequent cleaning, Harris told City News Service. He said some classes could be held with some students in one classroom and others watching from another classroom via Zoom videoconferencing.

The school will bring together forward-thinking, evidence-based medical education approaches. Using a non-traditional approach, the school’s curriculum is built on the three pillars of Biomedical Science, Clinical Science, and Health Systems Science.

Students will develop medical knowledge and clinical skills across these categories during four years of studies and in an active learning environment through various settings and contexts.

The school features an Anatomy Resource Center where the traditional cadaver dissection will be replaced by AR/VR, plastination, and imaging to ensure the study of anatomy is more clinically relevant.

Students will also take a class devoted to building well-being and resilience skills, as well as participate in small-group, case-based learning used throughout the first year. Students will begin interacting with patients beginning their third week of school, and learn from Permanente physicians and care teams at six of its medical center campuses.

The school has waived tuition, fees and disability insurance for students entering through the fall of 2024, and students in those classes will receive a waiver for the cost of a health plan from Kaiser Permanente unless they have an equivalent health plan, according to the school’s website.

The School began accepting applications from prospective students in May 2019.

The first year of training will end on July 2, 2021.

“We want to make sure that we have a robust healthcare system and the students come into the medical school get a really good view of that in real time,” Harris said.

The school is also doing its part to stop the spread of the Coronavirus.

Physical distancing will be enforced throughout the school, constant hand washing and face masks are also required.

“We’re going beyond the duty of that with our students and our faculty and staff,” Harris said. “So we’re taking all the standard measures that everyone needs across the country, but we’re also going much further than that as well.”

Kaiser Permanente, the largest integrated health care system in the nation, announced its School of Medicine would be located in Pasadena four years ago.

According to company officials, the community was chosen because of its proximity to affordable housing, public transit and major freeways.

The school began accepting applications from prospective students in May 2019.

Of the 45 states in the U.S. with medical schools, California ranks 43rd in the number of medical-school spots per capita.

In February, Heidi Kato, the school’s chief of staff, said the school has already received preliminary accreditation, the first of three steps toward full accreditation by the national Liaison Committee on Medical Education.

The next steps will be “provisional,” accreditation, which a school receives when its first class completes two years of study; and then “full” accreditation, which will occur when the school’s first class graduates.

“I think Kaiser Permanente itself and the school of medicine really is focused on primary and community care,” Harris said. “The whole balancing of the healthcare model within communities, it’s a huge passion of Kaiser Permanente and the school has the exact same passion.”

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