May 21, 2009

New medical director for San Diego area

Paul Bernstein, MD, FACS, elected to lead Southern California Permanente Medical Group in San Diego.

SAN DIEGO – Paul Bernstein, MD, FACS, has been elected San Diego Area Medical Director for Southern California Permanente Medical Group, which provides care for nearly 500,000 Kaiser Permanente San Diego members – about one in every six people who reside within the county.

Selected by his peers, Dr. Bernstein joins Medical Group Administrator, James G. Malone, to provide executive leadership to the Southern California Permanente Medical Group here in San Diego. SCPMG's executive team works in tandem with Nathaniel L. Oubré, Jr., Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals' senior vice president and executive director, to ensure access to convenient, quality, and affordable health care throughout San Diego County.

"Dr. Bernstein brings 30 years of medical expertise and leadership to his new role as Area Medical Director," said Oubré. "He is known for his aggressive emphasis on innovative, cost effective care with the focus on improving patient outcomes and experience, and will be a strong addition to our executive team."

Dr. Bernstein joined SCPMG in 1980. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Dr. Bernstein earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, graduating Summa Cum Laude. He received his medical degree from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, and completed his residency in Head and Neck Surgery at the University Hospital in San Diego. He is board certified in Head and Neck Surgery and a fellow in both the American College of Surgeons and American Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery.

As chief of head and neck surgery for SCPMG in San Diego for more than 24 years, SCPMG's regional chief for 14 years, and assistant clinical professor for University of California San Diego's Department of Otolaryngology, Dr. Bernstein is a well-respected, compassionate clinician. His commitment to innovative leadership and focus on quality improvement, efficiency, affordability, and treating each patient "like family" are well suited to address the challenges facing Kaiser Permanente and the health care industry.

As KP-HNS program coordinator for the University of California San Diego, Navy residency, and fellowship programs for HNS-San Diego, Dr. Bernstein has been instrumental in guiding the education and training of head and neck surgery physicians for more than 25 years.

An active member of the national health care community, Dr. Bernstein has served as chairman for the Head and Neck Division of the American Cancer Society since 1987 and is a member of the organization's board of directors. As Chairman of the ACS Head & Neck Conference for more than 20 years, he has helped make it one of the most well attended ACS educational conferences in the United States. Dr. Bernstein earned the ACS Community Service Award in 1990 and again in 2005.

Dr. Bernstein also has published numerous scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals, including the Single Procedure method of MOHS surgery. His quality outcomes for MOHS have set the standard in the nation, and he was featured on the cover of MD Magazine.

His novel, Courage to Heal, a work of historical fiction about the unique and proud history of Kaiser Permanente's struggle to improve health care in America has won numerous awards, including first place in the San Diego Book Awards, Asilomar Writers' Conference, the London Book Festival, and the 2009 San Francisco Book Festival. Royalties from the novel go to the Sidney Garfield Fund for Health Care Innovation. The novel is available at bookstores and online at both and Barnes and

Dr. Bernstein succeeds Arthur M. Flippin, MD, San Diego's area medical director for the past nine years, who is retiring this year and recently accepted an appointment with Kaiser Permanente's regional offices in Pasadena, California.

"Paul Bernstein has incredible drive, energy, intellect, and passion for SCPMG," said Dr. Flippin. "Under his leadership, we can all be certain that Kaiser Permanente will continue to be the health care provider of choice for San Diego."