Courage to Heal: A short historical novel on the life of Dr. Sidney Garfield

By Robert L. Moore, MD, MPH, MBA, Chief Medical Officer

“Peak performers see the ability to manage change as a necessity in fulfilling their missions”

–Dr. Sidney Garfield, Founder, Permanente Medical Group

Surgeon Sidney Garfield partnered with industrialist Henry Kaiser to create what was to become the largest integrated health care delivery system in the United States, known for its high quality, its labor-management partnership, and its cost effectiveness.

In the early years, the American Medical Association and the California Medical Association sought to destroy the model and to drive Dr. Garfield out of business; Kaiser Permanente only survived due to the influence of Henry Kaiser.

Courage to Heal, written by journalist Paul Bernstein, gives a good sense of the political and personal forces that came together in the 1930s and 1940s to start the Kaiser health system, while providing a glimpse of the state of medical practice at the time.  The book highlights the skill and courage of Dr. Garfield and others who believed that everyone deserved access to preventive and curative care regardless of their ability to pay, a radical idea at the time.

This is an inspiring tribute to the ideals of medicine as a profession and a system of care.

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