Statements from IHI Leaders: Appointment of Don Berwick to Head Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

July 7, 2010


Statement from IHI Board Chairman, A. Blanton Godfrey, PhD


GodfreyBlanton.bmpThe White House announced earlier today that Dr. Donald M. Berwick, President and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), has been appointed by President Barack Obama to be the next Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Dr. Berwick is honored to be appointed and looks forward to serving the nation in this capacity.

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement is also honored that the White House has looked to IHI to fill a position within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that is so integral to the delivery of health care in the US — at an agency that is increasingly an engine for innovation, and now absolutely pivotal for the future of health care reform in the US. Don Berwick co-founded IHI in 1991 and has led the organization admirably since then. He has been a tremendous leader, not just for IHI, but also for the entire field of health care improvement. His talents will be enormously valuable to the federal government at a time when the future of our health care system is inextricably linked to the future health of the American people and the US economy. We are grateful that Don has guided IHI to the point where our organization can continue to excel, and extremely excited that he will have the opportunity to advance health care improvement at CMS.
With great enthusiasm, IHI’s Board of Directors has decided that Maureen Bisognano, IHI’s Chief Operating Officer, will succeed Don Berwick as President and CEO of IHI. Maureen has been Don’s chief partner in IHI’s management and vision since she joined IHI in 1995. She is a prominent authority on improving health care systems and is well known and widely respected throughout the global health care improvement community.  Her expertise has been recognized by her elected membership to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and by her appointment to the Commonwealth Fund’s Commission on a High Performance Health System, among other distinctions. We are delighted that Maureen will succeed Don, and we look forward to her leadership as IHI continues to expand its role in advocating for and implementing health care improvement around the world.
Statement from Donald M. Berwick, MD, MPP
BerwickDonald.bmpI feel flattered and humbled that President Obama has appointed me to become the next Administrator of the US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and I look forward enthusiastically to serving in this role.
In reaching the decision to accept this position, I have turned to my family, close friends, and colleagues for their reflections. Theirs resonated with my own. I welcome the opportunity to lead CMS for many reasons, but one above all others: because it offers the chance to help extend the effort to improve America’s health care system — the very vision that led to the founding of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) — to a level I would not have thought possible even a few years ago.
I have not been seeking to leave IHI. I love the organization and its people. IHI has been the center of my professional life for nearly 20 years, and it has given me more opportunities for growth, meaning, friendship, and joy than anyone has a right to expect in several lifetimes of work. Our staff is, simply, the best — sharp, funny, hard-working, generous, agile, caring, and 100% committed to our mission of enabling dedicated health care professionals everywhere to deliver safe and effective care to patients. Our faculty and colleagues throughout the world pour knowledge, optimism, and soul into every day. Our senior team is as dedicated as any organization could ever ask for, and it is being strengthened even further now through the addition of several wonderful new colleagues. And, I have had in IHI’s Chief Operating Officer Maureen Bisognano, with whom I work side-by-side, the most valuable and generous professional partner in my entire career, and a wonderful encouraging friend. I am grateful beyond words to each and every person at IHI — and to so many in the health care community who came forward to offer support.
I am absolutely delighted that the IHI Board of Directors has asked Maureen to become the new President and CEO of IHI, and that Maureen has agreed. This is not just a great choice by our board; it is a thrilling choice. I know no one in the world who is better equipped than Maureen to lead the shaping and reshaping of IHI’s strategies and systems to ensure that IHI and its mission evolve and thrive in this exciting time and into a robust future.
My departure from IHI is, of course, bittersweet. But, in the final analysis, I have never felt more excited about what is possible for what we all care about — a healthier nation, a healthier system of care, and a healthier world. In moving to CMS as a member of a strong governmental team, I will pursue those aims as hard as I can. It gives me confidence and a sense of enormous gratitude that the entire IHI community will be doing the exact same thing, as it always has.
Statement from Maureen Bisognano
BisognanoMaureen.jpgThe Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) has an enormous mission, to improve health and health care worldwide, and we have benefited from Don Berwick’s vision and leadership since IHI’s founding in 1991. It is difficult to imagine an IHI without Don. He has been the head, the heart, and the soul of the organization for over two decades. However, in keeping with Don’s leadership style, he has surrounded himself with an extraordinary and dedicated team of colleagues, and we join to congratulate Don on being appointed to lead CMS.
IHI’s office in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is a vibrant place filled with caring, committed, energetic, and skilled people. The passion for improving and the joy in work are present every day, and the patient is present in conversations everywhere. IHI’s board and faculty are physicians, leaders, researchers, nurses, and clinicians from around the world who contribute to the mission and work of the Institute. They reach into every state in the US and into many countries worldwide — and they’ve achieved results never thought possible across a wide range of health issues and settings. For example, this group of dedicated professionals has helped to decrease infections and complications for hospital patients, reduce waiting times for patients seeking access to appointments, support hospital board members to more effectively lead and govern complex health care institutions, and reduce mortality in children under five years old in Ghana, Africa.
Though we have made many strides in improving safety, effectiveness, and efficiency in health care, there is much work left to be done. Together, we will carry IHI’s work forward, maintaining the qualities associated with Don — a commitment to excellence, a constant focus on innovation based on research and listening to patients and people on the front line, a firm belief in collaboration, and the joy of making change a reality. I am honored to serve as IHI’s next President and CEO and look forward to working to close the gaps that still exist in health and health care quality worldwide. We are ready to take on the challenges ahead.