March 15, 2022

Honoring the contributions of women in health care

During Women’s History Month, we reflect on the importance of women throughout history and some of the trailblazing women of Kaiser Permanente.

March is Women’s History Month, observed annually in the United States since 1987 to honor the many contributions of women to American history. The 2022 theme, Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope, acknowledges the tireless, ongoing efforts of front-line workers and care teams during the COVID-19 pandemic and the infinite ways that women have provided healing and hope throughout history.

Throughout Kaiser Permanente’s history, women have made significant contributions and opened doors for future women leaders.

From trailblazing leaders like Beatrice Lei, MD, the first female and first Asian physician in The Permanente Medical Group, to Alva Wheatley, the first Black woman to serve as a Kaiser Permanente hospital administrator, to Fatu Forna, MD, winner of the 2022 George Halvorson Community Health Leadership Award, our organization and the health care industry have benefitted greatly from the skills, dedication, and leadership of women.

Supporting and empowering the women of Kaiser Permanente

Jennifer Llarenas

Jennifer Llarenas

“Women’s History Month provides the opportunity to learn more about the accomplishments of women in every industry and honor the pioneering women who led the way for others,” said Jennifer Llarenas, systems project coordinator for Kaiser Permanente in Washington and member of the Kaiser Permanente business resource group called Women Empowered, or WE@KP.

Kaiser Permanente’s 10 business resource groups bring people from shared life experiences together to foster a culture of belonging, support Kaiser Permanente’s mission, and advance equity and inclusion in our workforce, care delivery, and community.

WE@KP supports and encourages the women of Kaiser Permanente by providing personal and professional development opportunities. One of the first WE@KP events Llarenas attended after joining Kaiser Permanente in 2018 was hosted by Be Bold Now, a nonprofit that spotlights women driving change around the globe and reducing the gender gap.

“Women from all walks of life shared personal stories about their struggles and successes in the workplace and society. I left the event feeling informed, uplifted, empowered, and inspired,” said Llarenas. “I’m so thankful that We@KP provides these types of events and other opportunities to connect with other women, share our stories, and encourage one another.”