Our History

Kern National Network members attending a lecture.

The vision for the Kern National Network for Flourishing in Medicine (KNN) initially began in 2012 in conversations with the Kern Family Foundation. In 2017, a transformational investment from the Kern Family Foundation and Kern Family Trust created the opportunity to formalize the network by building on shared strengths, innovation, and collaboration in order to drive national impact by advancing character, caring and practical wisdom in the profession of medicine. The KNN began as a network of seven founding medical schools that demonstrated how collaboration ignites and accelerates change.

The Kern National Network Founding Medical Schools


  • Dartmouth Logo
  • Dell Logo
  • Mayo Clinic Logo
  • UCSF Logo
  • UW Madison Logo
  • Vanderbilt Logo


In 2018, the KNN Board decided to expand the focus of the network from medical education to the profession as a whole, with the ultimate goal to advance flourishing in the profession of medicine.

Since then, individuals representing over 50+ organizations within the healthcare ecosystem have engaged with the framework and its concepts in a variety of ways based on the needs and interests of their local context. Together, they are applying the KNN's Framework for Flourishing in healthcare settings nationwide.

In advancing this essential work, the KNN seeks to continue Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern's legacy of generational impact by shaping and reimagining the profession of medicine to one in which all can flourish. We are grateful to the Kern Family Foundation for this transformational investment and collaborative partnership.



The Kern Family Foundation