In the early 1940s, Dr. Morris Collen was recruited by Dr. Sidney Garfield to help him run a medical practice he was forming to treat thousands of workers at a California shipyard owned by Henry J. Kaiser. That practice would eventually grow to become Kaiser Permanente, the country’s largest provider of managed medical care.
Dr. Collen was chief of medical services at Kaiser Permanente’s hospital in Oakland from 1942 to 1952, when he became its medical director. The next year, he was appointed physician-in-chief at Kaiser’s hospital in San Francisco. He became head of the research division in 1961 and remained in that position until 1979.
As a clinician and researcher, he is recognized around the world for his pioneering work in applying computer technology to medicine and developing new methods for the acquisition, processing, and study of patient data.
He led a growing research team that produced hundreds of distinguished research papers in the pioneering days of bringing the computer into the world of patient care. He made sure that continually developing and enhancing medical research capabilities would be a core value of Kaiser Permanente.
As an author and editor, Dr. Collen published extensively in the areas of internal medicine, preventive medicine, health services research, and medical informatics. His publications include more than 180 articles and five books.
Dr. Collen was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 1981 and served as Chair of the National Library of Medicine’s (NLM) Board of Scientific Counselors from 1985 to 1987. As an NLM Scholar-in-Residence from 1987 to 1993, he wrote a history of medical applications of the computer.
Since 1993, the American Medical Informatics Association has given an award in Dr. Collen’s name, recognizing physicians who make significant contributions to scientific literature, and to the health of our communities.
The organization in which Dr. Collen was a founding partner has grown and evolved over the years and has always remained true to his vision. Morlen Health, a combination of Morris and Collen, represents a return to the roots of that vision and a continuation of his uncompromising commitment to excellence in all phases of patient care.