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Kaiser Permanente Medical Care

Photo of Kaiser Permanente buildingThe Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Oral History Project was an in-depth, interview-based research project into many facets of Kaiser Permanente medicine and medical research, medical care delivery, and the politics, business, and economy of medicine in the United States since 1970. Interviews were conducted from 2005 through 2009.

Project Team

Richard Cándida Smith, Principal Investigator
Martin Meeker, Project Director and Interviewer


This project has been funded by a grant from Kaiser Permanente Foundation Hospitals and Health Plan.

Statement of Scholarly Independence

Although funded by KP, this project was designed and is being executed as an independent scholarly research project; individual interviewees are covered by UC Berkeley Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects guidelines that provide for sealing portions of interview transcripts at the discretion of the interviewee. While the research design and interviewing are independent of KP, we have been assisted by KP staff in identifying research themes and in selecting and locating potential interviewees.

See all interviews

Project Resources

Video Excerpts

"Managed Care in the 1990s: Politics, Policy, and Oral History Perspectives" Archived Video
A panel discussion held April 8, 2009 featuring: Alain Enthoven, James Robinson, Martin Meeker, and Richard Candida-Smith, with written remarks by Robin Einhorn.

"The Development of the Electronic Medical Record in Kaiser Permanente" Edited Video
In this video, Dr. Al Weiland, former director the Northwest Permanente Medical Group, offers an account of how and why electronic medical records emerged from Kaiser Permanente's Northwest Region in the 1990s.

"Dr. Cutting Reflects on the Life and Career of Dr. Sidney Garfield" Video Excerpt

Project Themes

Kaiser Permanente 'Core Values'

Business Model and the Economics of Health Care

Diversity in the Workplace and in the Provision of Health Care

Government Relations

Health Care and the Information Revolution

The Managed Care Crisis of the 1990s

Research at Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente Before 1970, The Founding Generation

Interviews with nineteen KP pioneers were conducted in the mid-1980s. Two were added during the 1990s to continue the story of national leadership up to 1992. Twelve interviewees were KP physicians, eleven of whom had served as administrators. Six physicians came from the Northern California region, three were from Southern California, and one each were from the Colorado, Ohio, and Northwest regions. Eight interviewees were Health Plan administrators, three of whom had worked in Kaiser Industries during the formative stages of the Kaiser health plan. One of the other two interviewees was interviewed as a representative KP Health Plan member. A final interview was conducted in 2002 with a pioneer in KP’s nursing program. The interviews range in length from 2 to 16 hours. A total of 162 hours of conversation was recorded and transcribed. More than half the pioneers are now deceased. Their recollections are valuable historical resources that cannot now be replaced or duplicated.