May 14, 2003

Distinguished health care leaders appointed to Board of Directors for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan

OAKLAND, Calif. – Christine Cassel, MD, MACP, and Cynthia Telles, PhD, have been appointed to the Board of Directors for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals (KFHP/H). Dr. Cassel will chair the Quality and Health Improvement Committee of the board.

"Both of these highly accomplished women bring unique experience and insight in delivering innovative health care," said George Halvorson, chairman and CEO of KFHP/H. "Dr. Cassel has, literally, helped to 'write the book' on 21st century health systems. Dr. Telles understands the interplay of different communities in delivering quality care. The future of Kaiser Permanente requires their understanding of the complex issues we face if we are to lead health care in the 21st century."

Christine Cassel, MD, is a leading expert in geriatric medicine, medical ethics, and the quality of clinical care. She is currently the dean and VP for Medical Affairs at the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, Oregon. On July 1st Dr. Cassel will become the new executive head of the American Board of Internal Medicine. In addition, Dr. Cassel is a member and leader of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and was one of the people responsible for the IOM studies, Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health Systems for the 21st Century and To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System. She is an active author and editor whose textbook, Geriatric Medicine, is used extensively in medical schools and is now in its fourth edition. Soon to be published is Older Americans and the Future of Medicare.

Dr. Cassel was formerly chair of the Department of Geriatrics and Adult Development, and professor of geriatrics and medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. During ten years at the University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine, Cassel was chief of the Section of General Internal Medicine, professor of geriatrics and medicine, director of the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, and director of the Center for Health Policy Research.

In accepting her appointment, Dr. Cassel said "I am looking forward to working with the leaders of Kaiser Permanente. I admire their comprehensive integrated system and their serious commitment to quality improvement and public accountability."

Cynthia Ann Telles, PhD, has been the director of the Spanish-Speaking Psychosocial Clinic of the Neuropsychiatric Institute and Hospital at the UCLA School of Medicine and an associate clinical professor with the UCLA School of Medicine for the last two decades. She brings a great level of expertise in the area of community service and health care education.

As the daughter of the first Latino mayor of a major U.S. city, El Paso, Texas, she has a long history of community leadership at the national level, and of extending health care to diverse populations, particularly in California. She led the Los Angeles Commission on the Status of Women, served on the City of Los Angeles Ethics Commission, and was a member of the Commission on Children, Youth and Families. She served on both the Los Angeles Police Department's Independent Review Panel and the Selection Committee that chose the new Los Angeles Chief of Police. Appointed by Secretary of Health & Human Services, Donna Shalala, Dr. Telles also served on the National Advisory Council to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Dr. Telles is currently vice chair of The California Endowment, and vice president of the Board of Library Commissioners. She also serves on the boards of The Music Center, the Public Policy Institute of California, and the board of trustees of Alliant University. Throughout her career, Dr. Telles has been published extensively in leading psychology and psychiatric journals and is a well-known media personality.

"I am pleased to be offered the opportunity to play a role at Kaiser Permanente which has always been on the cutting edge of innovative, integrated health care," stated Dr.Telles. "I am especially eager to work with George Halvorson whose demonstrated track record of addressing the needs of our multi-cultural society mirrors my own experience and concerns."

In addition to the new board appointments, new committee chairs were approved April 30th, 2003. Barbara Davis Blum, president of BDB Investment Partnership, a closely held company specializing in equities and real estate in Washington, D.C., will chair the Executive Committee. Robert L. Ridgley, JD, the retired chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Northwest Natural Gas Company in Portland, Oregon, will chair the Governance and Conduct of Business Committee, and the Finance Committee. Finally, Mary E. Reres, EdD, Director of Human Resource Associates, will chair the newly constituted Community Benefit Committee.