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Patricia J. Greene: Recombinant DNA Technology in Herb Boyer's UCSF Lab in the 1970s

Now available online, an oral history with Patricia Greene: Recombinant DNA Technology in Herb Boyer's UCSF Lab in the 1970s. Interviewed by Sally Smith Hughes in 2006, this interview in the series on bioscience and biotechnology in Northern California documents Greene's contributions in the Boyer lab to making recombinant DNA technology in the 1970s more efficient and productive.

Photo of Patricia Greene from 1970s

Jul 20, 2016 | Categories: OHC Articles | ddunham

George Halvorson, Chair and CEO of Kaiser Permanente, 2002-2013

Today we are thrilled to release our substantial life history interview with George Halvorson, a former Chair and CEO of Kaiser Permanente, one of the nation's largest providers of health care. Halvorson has been listed several times on Modern Healthcare's "Most Influential People in Healthcare" roll call, reaching the #6 position in 2012. Halvorson headed up the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals from 2002 through 2013. Before that, he served as founding CEO of HealthPartners in Minnesota. Since his retirement from Kaiser, Halvorson has devoted his time to promoting the benefits of early childhood education through California's First Five initiative and to addressing social difference and tensions through his own Institute for Intergroup Understanding.

In 2016, Karen Ignagni, herself one of the Most Influential People in Healthcare and former CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans, wrote this of Halvorson:

George Halvorson has led an extraordinary life that is filled with accomplishment, introspection and leadership. These tapes beautifully capture what he did, but what's especially riveting is how he did it. In listening to the complete set, you come away with nothing but admiration for the sheer magnitude of what this curious, big thinking, self-aware but personally modest man has accomplished.

I've known George for approximately 25 years and believe leaders from different stakeholder communities will find these interviews both inspiring and challenging. While all of us know how successful George has been, these interviews explain how his career unfolded, what drove him, and how he created the circumstances that allowed him to lead very different organizations.

As listeners, we have a front row seat for his thought process, his choices and his perseverance. We learn what a formative experience it was for George not to become the CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, how it made him available for the leadership role at HealthPartners, and how he forged new relationships with physician groups and hospitals long before health policy leaders were suggesting this was the path to the future.

We learn how George worked with Key employers in Minnesota to attack rising healthcare costs, create product transparency and pave the way for a pathbreaking buying cooperative. At the same time, we learn how a busy and successful executive constructed and implemented a plan to bring healthcare coverage to the people of Uganda and teach leaders from the World Bank how to achieve that objective efficiently and effectively.

Even though I had the pleasure of watching George's transition to Kaiser Permanente, I enjoyed listening to him describe why he made the change and what he set out to accomplish in that key delivery system. At that point in their careers many CEOs might have chosen to simply enjoy the ride. Not George Halvorson. He chose to make Kaiser a leader on safety long before it was top of mind for others in large health systems. We learn about his quest to attack sepsis and reorient his hospitals' processes to make that possible. We also learn about what it took to form a strong partnership with the Permanente medical group and exactly what made that work over time.

But that's not all. George was a leader in helping to pass the Affordable Care Act. Here he gives us an inside look at what that responsibility meant to him and how it impacted the country. George has been an actor on the national stage, but what is particularly fascinating is his ability to explain what he was thinking, why and how that crafted his strategy. As a listener, you are transported back in time as he recounts his experience.

George's introspection as a prolific author makes him a skilled raconteur. You root for him, you admire him and you are delighted that you listened. Many CEOs have experiences worth sharing but few have the ability to teach. George Halvorson has that gift, and these tapes make it possible for us to learn, to admire and to respect this unique individual who dared to dream and had the courage and skills to lead.

Video excerpts:

Jul 12, 2016 | Categories: OHC Articles | mmeeker

Ian Carmichael: A Life in Geology, Teaching, Research, and Administration

We are pleased to announce the completion of our oral history with Ian S. E. Carmichael. Carmichael, who passed away in 2011, was a professor of earth and planetary science at the University of California, Berkeley, and an expert on volcanoes and the underground processes that shape them. Carmichael was the chair of the UC Berkeley Department of Geology and Geophysics from 1972-1976 and 1980-1982. He was associate dean for research in the Office of Provost for Research (1986-2000), associate dean for academic affairs in the Graduate Division (1985-2000), and acting director of the UC Botanical Garden (1997-1998). He was director of UC Berkeley?s Lawrence Hall of Science from 1996 to 2003.was a Professor of Earth and Planetary Science at UC Berkeley. Read his obituary here.


Photo of Ian Carmichael in the 1990s by Rebecca Lange

Jul 08, 2016 | Categories: OHC Articles | ddunham

From the Director: Celebrating the Oral History Class of 2016

The 2015-2016 school year recently wrapped up at the Oral History Center with what has become a new and thriving tradition: the annual Oral History Graduation! In late April or early May over the past four years, we have hosted our commencement ceremony in which we celebrate the oral histories completed over the past year. This special event gives us an opportunity to thank our interviewees for the often considerable time they give to our projects and to the sponsors who make those projects possible.

This year we were especially honored to have many of our interviewees in attendance, including: former head of the Bay Conservation and Development Commission Will Travis, labor leaders Dave and Carole Sickler, former California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso, Emeritus Vice President for Health Affairs for the University of California Cornelius Hopper, jazz pianist Gildo Mahones, former City College of San Francisco president Del Anderson Handy, St. George Spirits founder Jorg Rupf, Berkeley legal scholar Jack Coons, winemaker Zelma Long, paleontologist Bill Clemens, and, last but not least, Bernice Grimes, Kay Morrison, Mary Torres, and Marian Wynn, who were interviewed for our Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front oral history project. We also were honored by attendance of Howard Friesen, who along with his late wife Carmel provided OHC with a substantial endowment that will allow us to develop ever more important projects in the years to come.

At this year's Oral History Class of 2016 event I had the privilege of introducing our excellent staff members to the attendees. It is always a special occasion when we add a new person to our team and this year I was thrilled to introduce Todd Holmes as a member of our staff for the first time. Todd started with us in mid-April and in just six weeks time has already started to make important contributions to the intellectual life of the office. I encourage you to check out the "From the Archives" piece Todd wrote on our 1978 oral history with former California Secretary of State March Fong Eu. You'll also want to see the excellent profile on Todd written by our now seasoned oral historian Paul Burnett.

Martin Meeker
Charles B. Faulhaber Director

Jun 09, 2016 | Categories: OHC Articles | mmeeker

New Oral Histories in the Global Mining and Materials Research Project

We are proud to announce eleven new interviews for the Global Mining and Materials Research Project, which focuses on key transitions in technology, policy, and geopolitics that have brought mining to its current state worldwide. These eleven new interviews feature leading metallurgists, software engineers, experts in mine health and safety, executives in the fields of industrial minerals, coal mining, and hard-rock mining, and an executive director of a mining association. We are most grateful to these narrators for taking time out of a busy schedule to speak to us about the evolution of the mining industry over the past forty years.


These interviews were funded with support from the American Institute of Mining Engineers, Metallurgists, and Petroleum Engineers (AIME), the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (SME), the Association for Iron & Steel Technology (AIST), The Minerals, Metals, & Materials Society (TMS), and the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE).

Jun 08, 2016 | Categories: OHC Articles | ddunham

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