Sculpture dedicated to Kaiser Nursing school

posted on July 1, 2015

Lincoln Cushing
Heritage writer

 

“We found our voice, we found our place.” Phyllis Moroney, Kaiser Foundation School of Nursing class of 1957 and President of the KFSN Alumni Association Board.

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Nurses Dorothy Thomas Hackett, class of 1955 (on left), and Bonnie Davis Grunseth, class of 1968, enjoying the sculpture.

The powerful legacy of the Kaiser Foundation School of Nursing was honored on June 20 when a sea of white caps came to dedicate a sculpture installed at the new Kaiser Oakland hospital, a few hundred yards from the site of the original school. Nurse Moroney, herself a Kaiser baby of World War II Kaiser shipyard workers, hosted this culmination of a multi-year project.

At the end of World War II when the Permanente health plan opened to the public, qualified nurses were in short supply. The Permanente Foundation established the school in 1947 to train more nurses and help alleviate the shortage. Before it closed in 1976 it had produced 1,065 nurses and boasted numerous accomplishments. It trained a diverse pool of highly skilled nurses, and student scores in State Board Examinations consistently ranked in the top three of all California programs, including university schools. California’s first nurse practitioners were trained there by physicians from The Permanente Medical Group so they could better work in a pre-paid healthcare system that focused on prevention and wellness.

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Phyllis Moroney with sculpture maquette

Betty Saletta’s sculpture is an homage to all nurses in the profession, and the nurse’s image was a composite of characteristics of multiple ethnicities, representing the diversity of KFSN students.

The dedication was attended by scores of nurse graduates and Kaiser Permanente officials and physicians, including James Vohs, Health Plan and Hospitals CEO 1975-1992. The school administration reported to Vohs, and he recounted efforts to keep the school alive when California changed its accreditation requirements. Dr. Marilyn Chow, Vice President of National Patient Care Services, pointed out that nurses constitute about a third of the Kaiser Permanente workforce – over 50,000 people. Dr. Chow reminded us of how far the nursing profession has come since the earlier days, when many treatment responsibilities previously only held by physicians are now widely practiced by today’s nurses.

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Dorris Facey Lovrin, class of 1950 and Lynn DeForest Robie, class of 1957B, watching unveiling

Dorris Facey Lovrin was present, a proud graduate of the first class in 1950 who retired last year after 63 years of nursing at Kaiser Permanente. Also present was Clair Lisker, class of 1951A, who became a faculty member of the school of nursing early on and touched the lives of every single student of the school. She was Chief Nursing Office of the Oakland Hospital before retirement. Other nurses added their support for this tribute.

 

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Henry J. Kaiser and the founding of the United Nations

posted on June 26, 2015

Lincoln Cushing
Heritage writer

 

“Peace means so much more than a cessation of hostilities! Peace is a state of mind. It is based on the sense of security. There can be no peace in the individual soul, unless there is peace in the souls of all with whom we must live and work. Jobs for all could well be the first slogan for a just and lasting peace.”
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Henry J. Kaiser, “Jobs for all” address before the Herald Tribune Forum, Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York City, October 17, 1944.

http://www.kaiserpermanentehistory.org/tag/world-war-ii/page/2/

United National Clothing Collection campaign poster, United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration; April, 1945

Although Henry J. Kaiser earned the sobriquet “Patriot in Pinstripes” for his industrial contributions to the war effort during World War II, he was no hawk. Kaiser’s moral compass always aligned with constructive cooperation rather than conflict, and as the war neared its end he looked toward a better new world.One of Kaiser’s campaigns was the United National Clothing Collection Committee, to which President Roosevelt had appointed Kaiser as the National Chairman in the spring of 1945. Kaiser spurred the month-long drive in April – collecting used clothing for refugees in Europe while the war there was still being fought – by saying: “Our people are going to demonstrate their gratitude for being spared from the horrors which have descended on other lands.” Five months later President Truman would ask Mr. Kaiser to repeat his service. His request stated: “I am…calling upon you again to lead the Nation in this campaign to alleviate incalculable hardships which will be endured next winter unless we act without delay. The results achieved under your leadership earlier this year were magnificent.”

Mr. Kaiser also played a smaller role in a much larger endeavor – the creation of the United Nations. Beginning on April 25, 1945, delegates of 50 nations met for two months in San Francisco for the United Nations Conference on International Organization. Those delegates, and their alternates, drew up the 111-article Charter. It was adopted unanimously on June 25 in the San Francisco Opera House and the next day they signed it in the Herbst Theatre auditorium of the Veterans War Memorial Building. Copies were printed by the University of California Printing Services in Berkeley.

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U.N. Ambassador Vyacheslav Molotov, Henry J. Kaiser, and American Ambassador to the Soviet Union Averell Harriman; Kaiser Richmond shipyards, May 6, 1945.

The negotiations were challenging and tiring. On May 3, 1945, 25 members of the French delegation took a break and visited the Kaiser Richmond shipyards, and on May 5th a Cuban delegation came to see the famed yards, followed by representatives of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The war in the Pacific was still raging, and the enormous productive capacity of the yards was displayed in full view of our Allied colleagues. The USSR group included Foreign Commissar Vyacheslav Molotov and Ambassador to the United States Andrei Gromyko. The soviets were accompanied by American Ambassador to the Soviet Union W. Averell Harriman.

Historian Stephen Schlesinger, in Act of Creation: The Founding of the United Nations, described this break in the process: “[Secretary of State Edward] Stettinius…took Molotov to visit the Kaiser shipyards outside San Francisco to see the five-mile-long factory where ships were being manufactured at the rate of two or three a week.” And Mark S. Foster’s excellent Henry J. Kaiser: Builder in the Modern American West tells the story of Molotov’s reaction through an intermediary: “Mr. Molotov was profoundly impressed. You gave Mr. Molotov a splendid demonstration of the sources of our economic strength.”

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“Russia and Us,” article in Fore ‘n’ Aft, 3/2/1945

Gromyko (1909-1989) would later serve as Minister of Foreign Affairs (1957–1985) and as Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet (1985–1988).

Molotov would become USSR Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1939-1949 and 1953-1956. He served as First Deputy Premier from 1942 to 1957, when he was dismissed from the Presidium of the Central Committee by Nikita Khrushchev. The popular term “Molotov cocktail” for improvised incendiary weapons was coined by WWII Finnish partisans, a pejorative critique of the ill-fated and despised 1939 Nazi-Soviet Non-aggression Pact.

The war had completely destroyed Soviet shipbuilding capacity, and Henry J. Kaiser began discussions with representatives regarding replacement ships and rebuilding of yards. However, as distrust quickly mounted between the two countries those plans evaporated.

Kaiser Permanente will be a co-host at the United Nations Foundation’s celebration of the UN’s 70th anniversary in San Francisco on June 26. Both Kaiser Permanente and the United Nations originated in the Bay Area in the summer of 1945, and share a common vision of a better world, especially in terms of the environment and its role in community health.

 

Thanks to United Nations Foundation historian Chris Whatley for help with this article.
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Firing up your health – World War II style

posted on June 16, 2015

Lincoln Cushing
Heritage writer

 

As history progresses, we learn some things. It used to be that cigarette smoking was not only common, it was even promoted by advertising agencies using physicians as spokesmen. We know better now. But these two World War II vintage artifacts, recently donated to the Kaiser Permanente archives by retired physician John Igo, MD, are a reminder of that earlier normal.

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The matchbook above promotes the Richmond Field Hospital. The other below depicts the flagship hospital in Oakland, which was across the street from Oakland’s new facility. The logo is a short-lived variant of the one used for the Permanente Metals Corporation that built ships for the U.S. Maritime Commission, featuring three ship prows.

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These days, of course, smoking is prohibited in all Kaiser Permanente facilities.

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Vive la différence at Kaiser Industries

posted on June 5, 2015

Behold this cover of Kaiser Employees Home Office, the in-house magazine for Kaiser Industries employees, March, 1964:

11_0908_004-detV2“Previewing a few of many chic fashions to be seen April 4 at Number 10 Jack London Square (Oakland, Calif.) are Ila Sindel (Henry J. Kaiser Company) showing how to “slack up” and enjoy home or holiday; Donna Johanson (Kaiser Steel Corporation) about to go singing in the rain; Kathleen Barbour (Kaiser Aluminum) as the casual hostess; Laura Spyres (Henry J. Kaiser Company) at the office; Beverly Watson (Kaiser Aluminum) bettering par for the course; Carol Donicht (Kaiser Aluminum) ready for any suitable occasion; Mary Close (Kaiser Foundation Health Plan) on an afternoon in town.”

Things have changed a bit over the years – here’s a video of Kaiser Permanente employees in Northern California celebrating Earth Day (April 22) this year with a “Waste to Fashion” show, making and modelling clothes from recycled materials. The trendy “trashion” shows first broke into the limelight in April 2014, when employees and physicians at our Roseville Medical Center put on this show.

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