Bernard J. Tyson, the late CEO and chairman of health care provider Kaiser Permanente, was a mentor to San Francisco Mayor London Breed. Now, Breed is the first recipient of Fortune‘s Bernard J. Tyson Memorial Leadership Award.
Fortune created the award in honor of Tyson, a longtime advocate for expanding health care access who died in November at age 60.
Denise Bradley-Tyson presented Breed with the award in honor of her late husband during Fortune‘s Brainstorm Health virtual conference on Wednesday.
“Bernard was an incredible leader in advancing public health solutions that were both equitable and helped our most vulnerable populations,” Breed said in her acceptance speech. “We have made significant progress in making real changes in our public health system, but the coronavirus pandemic has shown us just how important this work is.”
Breed was chosen as the award’s first recipient for her swift action to protect public health this year as she locked down San Francisco early in the coronavirus pandemic. “Like Bernard, she has dedicated much attention to not only physical wellbeing, but also mental wellbeing,” Bradley-Tyson said while presenting the award. “She has prioritized mental health assistance—offering much-needed help to those who are homeless, addicted to drugs, or suffering from mental health issues.”
Breed reflected on Tyson’s leadership in her acceptance speech. “Bernard worked so hard to provide health, wellness, and nutrition resources to many of our vulnerable and low-income communities where health disparities are more significant,” she said. “He knew that to create healthy communities, we need to ensure everyone has equal access to resources like health care, education, and most important, housing.”