January 14, 2015

Kaiser Permanente history on display

Historic photographs at the Garfield Innovation Center

Contributed by Lincoln Cushing, Archivist and Historian

Kaiser Permanente’s archives serve as a source of historical content for many uses within and outside the organization. Two examples of “heritage on display” in 2014 included a large history wall at the new Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center and components of the permanent exhibition at the U.S. National Park Service’s Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, Calif.

Interactive digital signage at the Garfield Innovation Center
Interactive digital signage at the Garfield Innovation Center

Two recent projects at Kaiser Permanente facilities are the latest to draw upon the rich materials in our archive to tell compelling stories.

The Garfield Innovation Center in San Leandro, Calif., which opened in 2006, connects groups who want to work collaboratively to develop technologies and facilities. The center contains 37,000 square feet of simulated care delivery environments and prototyping space designed to test and innovate clinical workflows, architectural designs, technology, interoperability, and products. Among its features are a mocked-up inpatient unit as well as an outpatient clinic and a home environment. The Center is not open to the public, but does offer limited opportunities for tours. Readers might enjoy seeing the Garfield Center’s virtual tour.

Recent remodeling at the center included various nods to Kaiser Permanente history, including photographs of founding physician Dr. Sidney R. Garfield and digital signage showing medical innovations over our 70+ years of health care practice.

Installation of historic Kaiser shipyard and Northern Permanente photographs.
Installation of historic Kaiser shipyard and Northern Permanente photographs in Portland

Kaiser Permanente’s administrative headquarters in Portland, Ore., recently installed a stunning display of ten suspended 36” square Plexiglas panels with local history images and text that share the role of medical care in the World War II Kaiser shipyards and the postwar evolution of the health plan. The panels can be individually replaced over time to offer a more complete history.