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If You Build It… Kaiser Permanente’s Latest Approach to Talent Acquisition

In February, Kaiser Permanente doubled down on its prior commitment to open a new medical school in Pasadena, CA in 2020 by announcing that it would provide free tuition to its first five classes. Kaiser Permanente said the school will focus on teaching population health and the health system’s model of integrated and coordinated care.

Key Details

  • Kaiser Permanente is one of the largest healthcare providers in the United States with tightly integrated care delivery networks and has long espoused a model of highly integrated and team-based healthcare
  • Consistent with its care model, students will be matched with practitioners in various specialties for mentorship and exposure to different clinical areas. Training will focus on practical elements of a medical school education with a heavy focus on learning clinical technologies to provide data-driven, outcomes-based care
  • Although Kaiser Permanente is among few health systems to have taken this approach, it isn’t alone. In recent years, the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine expanded its reach outside of Rochester, MN, most recently opening up schools in Arizona and Florida, while Geisinger Health System (32,000 employees across 13 hospitals and two research centers) acquired a medical school in northeastern Pennsylvania


As the demand for physicians continues to outpace supply, healthcare providers are pursuing more innovative talent acquisition strategies. With a medical school footprint, healthcare organizations like Kaiser Permanente can expose future talent to their unique healthcare model and philosophy before the onset of their careers. Additionally, the students will develop a network of contacts in the health system by the time they graduate. In this respect, a clinically based medical school like Kaiser Permanente may be able to create a captive audience of talent similar to academically affiliated healthcare institutions.

ScottMadden believes that a foundational element of successful talent acquisition organizations is to create a pipeline by tapping into skilled talent pools through internships, co-op programs, STEM initiatives, universities, technical schools, etc. To that end, a “build versus buy” talent acquisition strategy like Kaiser Permanente’s takes this notion a step further by bringing the pipeline almost in-house.

Additional and Related Resources

ScottMadden: The Race to Recruit: How Leading Healthcare Organizations Are Winning the Talent Acquisition Challenge

New York Times: Kaiser Permanente’s New Medical School Will Waive Tuition for Its First 5 Classes

athenahealth: A Pipeline of Talent for Population Health

Contributing Author: Scott Roulston

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