Sidney R. Garfield, MD, was the physician founder of Kaiser Permanente and one of the great innovators of 20th century American health care delivery.
Dr. Garfield was a surgeon and visionary. He first applied the novel principles of prepayment, prevention, and group medical practice in the 1930s, while he was providing medical and hospital services for construction workers building the Colorado River Aqueduct in the Mojave Desert.
Then, during World War II, he developed a medical care program for hundreds of thousands of workers and family members at Kaiser shipyards in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Vancouver/Portland area, and at the Kaiser Steel Mill in Southern California. His health care system focused as much on the prevention of illness as on caring for the sick.
Dr Garfield looked for innovations in health care throughout his career. In the 1950s, his revolutionary hospital designs drew international praise. In 1960, he was in the vanguard of physicians who embraced the computer as a tool that could radically improve the delivery of medical care.
Historians writing about events of the 1900s see the work of Dr. Garfield in co-founding Kaiser Permanente as one of the major social contributions of the century.
The Exceptional Contribution Award was established by the TPMG Board of Directors in 2000 to recognize physicians who have been instrumental in the development and dissemination of new ideas that have a significant impact on patients, colleagues and the broader community.