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Health Care Pioneer Henry J. Kaiser Inducted Into The California Hall of Fame
Date:12/1/2009

during World War II when the shipbuilding tycoon sought a way to provide health care for the thousands of workers in his shipyards. Together with Dr. Sidney R. Garfield, Kaiser extended the plan to the general public after the war's end in 1945. Kaiser went on to establish the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-profit organization designed to address the world's major health care issues.

During World War II, with no prior shipbuilding experience, Kaiser became one of the most prolific shipbuilders in history, setting records for speed and efficiency unmatched to this day. He established seven shipyards on the West Coast that produced more ships than any other in the United States and proved instrumental to the Allied victory of the war.

Kaiser entered World War II as a construction and engineering entrepreneur and came out of it with the acumen needed to help redevelop the post-war world. He built homes, cars and aircraft; manufactured steel and aluminum; pioneered tourism in Hawaii; and engineered projects around the globe. At its peak, Kaiser Industries had either enterprises or projects on every continent, including Antarctica. But of all of his endeavors, Kaiser hoped that his contribution to health care would be his legacy. Before passing away in 1967, he said, "Of all the things I've done, I expect only to be remembered for my hospitals. They're the things that are filling the people's greatest need -- good health."

At the time of his death, Kaiser Permanente had about 1.7 million members, with 1,630 physicians in 18 hospitals. Today, Kaiser Permanente is the country's largest not-for-profit health plan, serving more than 8.6 million members.

The other 2009 California Hall of Fame inductees are Carol Burnett, Andrew Grover, Hiram Johnson, Rafer Johnson, Joan Kroc, George Lucas, John Madden, Harvey Milk, Fritz Scholder, Danielle Steel, Joe Weider and General Chuck Yeager.

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