Kaiser Permanente CEO Bernard Tyson, A Dedicated Changemaker And Advocate For Racial Justice, Dies At 60
Tyson just spoke at the AfroTech conference over the weekend.
Dedicated changemaker Bernard Tyson, the CEO of Kaiser Permanente, passed away in his sleep at the age of 60 on Sunday reports CNN.
Tyson, who led Kaiser Foundation, a nonprofit health organization which provides medical care for over 12 million people throughout the nation, was revered as an exemplary leader by colleagues. Tyson spoke at Blavity Inc.'s AfroTech conference in Oakland on Friday, which sadly marked his last public appearance. The Blavity community deeply mourns this loss.
.@aboutKP we believe that #healthcare is high-tech and high-touch. Thanks, @AfroTech, for the chance to speak about how to build a better future. The road to health equity includes Oakland. pic.twitter.com/AATyItfucO— Bernard J.Tyson, CEO (@BernardJTyson) November 9, 2019
"The Blavity Inc. team sends our deepest condolences to the family of @bernardtyson and his colleagues at @aboutKP. He was a true leader!," Blavity Inc. CEO Morgan DeBaun wrote in a statement on Instagram Sunday. "We're honored to have shared his presence and learned about his journey at #AfroTech. We join his loved ones in mourning this sudden loss and celebrating his legacy."
Tyson was a big advocate for racial justice and workplace diversity. He spoke about these issues on stage at AfroTech, as well as how to achieve equity in health care and technology.
"An outstanding leader, visionary and champion for high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans. [He was] a tireless advocate for Kaiser Permanente, our members and the communities we serve. Most importantly, Bernard was a devoted husband, father and friend. We all will miss his tremendous presence in our lives,” a company statement obtained by Heavy read.
Kaiser, an Oakland-based company, was founded in 1945 by Henry J. Kaiser and physician Sidney Garfield.
Tyson started his career with Kaiser as an intern in 1984. He became chief executive officer of the Kaiser Foundation Hospital in Santa Rosa, California, in 1992. Seven years later, he took over as senior vice president and chief operating officer for regions outside of California and for Kaiser’s brand strategy.
After working as senior vice president for health plan and hospital operations, he was promoted to president and chief operating officer of Kaiser Permanente in 2010. The trailblazer became Kaiser's first African American chairman and chief executive officer in 2013.
Many public figures expressed their sorrow after hearing news of Tyson's death. Rep. Barbara Lee, (D-Oakland), expressed her sentiments on Twitter, saying she is heartbroken.
“Bernard dedicated his life to making health care more accessible for our communities. My prayers and condolences are with his family and loved ones during this time,” she said.
I am heartbroken upon learning of the passing of Bernard Tyson. Bernard dedicated his life to making health care more accessible for our communities. My prayers and condolences are with his family and loved ones during this time. https://t.co/fm4jad0SRW— Rep. Barbara Lee (@RepBarbaraLee) November 10, 2019
Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statement, saying Tyson's vision and influence made an impact at home and abroad.
"He led with excellence on behalf of millions of Kaiser patients and thousands of employees," Newsom said. "We will always remember how he made health care accessible for so many while paving the way for countless professionals of color to pursue leadership roles in health care and corporate America."
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Tyson was fighting to protect Obamacare as the Trump administration sought to repeal the policy. The 60-year-old was also an advocate for racial justice, speaking on issues such as police brutality.
Tyson had just spoken at the AfroTech conference in Oakland over the weekend before he died. The cause of death was not revealed, Heavy reported.