40 of the Smartest People in Healthcare

The U.S. healthcare system is in the midst of major changes, as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's major provisions take effect.

As providers, payers and policymakers have searched for the best way to contain costs while improving quality of care, certain individuals stand out as having the intellect and acumen needed to spearhead successful reform. Here are 40 of the smartest people in healthcare today. Disclaimer: List selections were made through an editorial review process, and people could not pay to be included. People are listed in alphabetical order.

Drew Altman, PhD. Dr. Altman is president and CEO of the Menlo Park, Calif.-based Kaiser Family Foundation. Before he founded the Kaiser Family Foundation in the early 1990s, he served as Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Human Services under Gov. Tom Kean. In that role, he led the development of nationally recognized initiatives in welfare reform, school-based youth services, programs for the homeless and Medicaid managed care. He also led development of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's programs for HIV/AIDS, healthcare for the homeless and healthcare financing. Dr. Altman served in the Health Care Financing Administration during President Jimmy Carter's administration (1977-1981). Dr. Altman, a graduate of Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., and Brown University in Providence, R.I., earned his PhD in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. He also completed post-doctoral work at the Harvard School of Public Health and previously taught public policy at MIT. 

Don Berwick, MD. Dr. Berwick's healthcare career has spanned more than 40 years, and his philosophy and care improvement ideas have revolved around one central theme: Passing the moral test. More specifically, when Dr. Berwick was acting administrator of CMS under President Obama from July 2010 to December 2011, he was inspired by a phrase on the HHS building: "The moral test of government is how it treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped." Considered to be one of the most influential healthcare leaders in the country, Dr. Berwick co-founded the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, an organization that invented the triple aim concept: better care, improved population health, reduced costs per capita. He also was a member of the Institute of Medicine's governing council and global health board. Dr. Berwick, a pediatrician, is now running a gubernatorial campaign in Massachusetts with healthcare reform as one of his main platform issues.

Maureen Bisognano, RN. When Dr. Berwick left the Institute for Healthcare Improvement to become CMS' acting administrator in 2010, Ms. Bisognano succeeded him as president and CEO of the independent, nonprofit organization. She previously served as IHI's executive vice president and COO for 15 years and, before that, as CEO of the Massachusetts Respiratory Hospital in Braintree and as senior vice president with the Juran Institute in Boston. Ms. Bisognano advises healthcare leaders around the world. She was appointed to The Commonwealth Fund's Commission on a Higher Performance Health System, is an instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and serves on several healthcare boards, including ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value in Appleton, Wis., and Mayo Clinic Health System – Eau Claire (Wis.). Ms. Bisognano attended the State University of New York in Albany and earned her master's degree from Boston University. 

Jonathan Blum. When it comes to healthcare payment and financing reform at the federal level, few are involved more right now than Mr. Blum. Currently, he serves as principal deputy administrator at CMS, where he is responsible for developing and executing the payment strategies within the PPACA. For the first five years of President Obama's tenure, Mr. Blum was the director of the Center for Medicare within CMS, which oversaw the regulation and payment of all Medicare programs — including fee-for-service, Medicare Advantage and Medicare's prescription drug program. He led the teams responsible for major Medicare reforms, such as the Medicare Shared Savings Program, bundled payments and the quality bonus program for MA health plans. Before joining CMS, Mr. Blum worked as a program analyst at the Office of Management and Budget, where he focused on Medicare policies. He also advised Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) on healthcare policy on the Senate Finance Committee.

David Blumenthal, MD. Dr. Blumenthal is best known for serving as the National Coordinator for Health IT from 2009 to 2011. During his tenure, he oversaw the implementation of the meaningful use program and other provisions of the HITECH Act. His work developing a nationwide health information system and fostering the use of health IT has led to his being credited with putting into place one of the largest publicly funded infrastructure investments the nation has ever made in such a condensed timeframe. He currently serves as the president of The Commonwealth Fund, a national nonprofit focused on research into healthcare and social policy issues.  

Jeffrey Brenner, MD. Dr. Brenner — executive director of the Camden (N.J.) Coalition of Healthcare Providers — is a primary care physician and one of 24 recipients of the 2013 MacArthur Fellowship, or "genius grant." In 2003, Dr. Brenner established the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, a care delivery model that combines physicians in a community-based private practice, frontline hospital staff and social workers to better care for Camden's "superusers" of healthcare services. This involves plenty of things, one being maps: Dr. Brenner persuaded Camden's three hospitals to let him access their medical billing records so he could map out the city's assault patterns, for instance. (Camden had the highest crime rate in the country in 2012.) Dr. Brenner and his work were the subject of a 2011 New Yorker piece called "The Hot Spotters," penned by Atul Gawande, MD. Dr. Brenner is also medical director of the Urban Health Institute at the Cooper University Healthcare and on the faculty of the Cooper Medical School at Rowan University in Camden. 

Toby Cosgrove, MD. Dr. Cosgrove is president and CEO of the Cleveland Clinic. He originally joined the Clinic in 1975 and became chairman of its thoracic and cardiovascular surgery in 1989. Under his leadership, U.S. News & World Report ranked the Clinic's heart program number one in America for 10 consecutive years. He has published nearly 450 journal articles and earlier this year released a 200-page book, "The Cleveland Clinic Way," which explains the formula behind the Clinic's "more effective, more humane [and] more affordable" healthcare model. Additionally, Dr. Cosgrove has 30 patents filed for developing medical and clinical products for surgical environments. He has received the Clinic's Master Clinician Award, Innovator of the Year Award and Lerner Humanitarian Award. He earned his medical degree from the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville and completed his clinical training at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Boston Children's Hospital and Brook General Hospital in London.

Karen Davis, PhD. Dr. Davis is a nationally recognized economist and currently serves as the Eugene and Mildred Lipitz Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management and director of the Roger C. Lipitz Center for Integrated Health Care at Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University. She was president of The Commonwealth Fund from 1995 to 2012. Previously, she was chairman of the department of health policy and management at The Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, where she also had an appointment as a professor of economics. Before that, she was deputy assistant secretary for health policy at HHS from 1977 to 1980, making her the first woman to head a U.S. public health service agency. She has also served as a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., and as a visiting lecturer at Harvard University in Boston. She has received the Baxter-Allegiance Foundation Prize for Health Services Research (2000) and the Picker Award for Excellence in the Advancement of Patient Centered Care (2006), among other awards. She earned her PhD in economics from Rice University in Houston.

Lloyd Dean. As president and CEO of San Francisco-based Dignity Health (formerly Catholic Healthcare West), Mr. Dean is responsible for the overall management, strategy and direction of the system's hospitals, ancillary services, home healthcare and medical group foundations. He is also a member of the board of directors of Wells Fargo, as well as chair of the company's human resources committee and a member of its corporate responsibility, credit, risk and governance nominating committees. Previously, he served as chairman of the board of the Catholic Health Association of the United States. Mr. Dean has established himself as an advocate for healthcare reform and has been actively involved in discussions with President Barack Obama and his White House staff concerning healthcare issues. He serves on the State Health Care Cost Commission, which aims to develop practical policies to contain healthcare costs. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Mich.

Karen DeSalvo, MD. Dr. DeSalvo currently serves as National Coordinator for Health IT, overseeing all ONC activities and promoting the use of health IT throughout the country. Prior to her appointment in December 2013, she served as the New Orleans Health Commissioner and New Orleans Mayor Mitchell Landrieu's Senior Health Policy Advisor. As Health Commissioner, she created an innovative model of neighborhood-based primary care to improve care access following Hurricane Katrina. She is also the founder and former president of 504HealthNet, an organization of safety-net providers in the New Orleans area. Prior to this, she served as president of the Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum and the National Association of Chiefs of General Internal Medicine.

Michael J. Dowling. Mr. Dowling has served as president and CEO of North Shore-LIJ since 2002. He previously served as the health system's executive vice president and COO. Mr. Dowling also spent several years as state director of Health, Education and Human Services and deputy secretary to the governor. In 2012, he received the 2012 B'nai B'rith National Healthcare Award, an accolade that recognizes outstanding healthcare leaders. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies and a board member of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

Melanie Dreher, PhD. Dr. Dreher is one of the most innovative thinkers in healthcare today, combining her nursing knowledge and humanities background to produce forward-thinking research. Initially a registered nurse, she later earned a master's in anthropology and master's in philosophy. Dr. Dreher ultimately earned a doctorate of philosophy in anthropology from Columbia University in New York City. Today, Dr. Dreher serves as the dean of the College of Nursing at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, and she also chairs the board of Livonia, Mich.-based CHE Trinity Health, the second-largest Catholic health system in the U.S. Previously, she served as nursing school dean at three other large state universities: University of Iowa in Iowa City, University of Massachusetts in Amherst and University of Miami. Dr. Dreher's research and anthropology career has included stints in Jamaica, where she studied the health and development of women and children, as well as the societal effects of cannabis.

Judith Faulkner. Ms. Faulkner founded Epic Systems in 1979. Epic is currently one of the nation's largest electronic health record vendors — once all organizations currently under an Epic contract complete installing their systems, half of all Americans will have an Epic health record. Ms. Faulkner, who has a background in math and computer science, coded the original Epic software. As president and CEO of Epic, she was named "The Most Powerful Woman in Health Care" by Forbes magazine in 2012 and is one of the few self-made women on the magazine's list of billionaires.

Elliott Fisher, MD. Dr. Fisher serves as director of the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice in Hanover, N.H. He is also the James W. Squires Professor of Medicine and Community and Family Medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and co-director of the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care. His research focuses on exploring the causes and implications of regional variations in Medicare spending and practice. He has also worked on developing and evaluating policy approaches to slow healthcare spending growth while improving quality of care. He was one of the people who originally came up with the concept of accountable care organizations and helped carry out the research that led to their inclusion in the PPACA. Dr. Fisher has published more than 150 research articles. He earned his bachelor's degree and medical degree from Harvard University in Boston and received his master's degree in public health from the University of Washington in Seattle.

Craig Frances, MD. Since 2003, Dr. Frances has been the managing director of the healthcare and life sciences sector at Summit Partners, a $15 billion private equity firm. Some of his major investments include HealthCare Partners, one of the largest private physician groups in California, and CareCentrix, a home health solutions company that partners with providers and payers to reduce costs and produce better outcomes. Dr. Frances also serves as secretary and policy officer of the Healthcare Private Equity Association, which advocates for the healthcare private equity community. Before joining Summit, he founded three other private companies, and he also was the chief medical resident at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Frances earned his medical degree at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, where he was valedictorian. Upon graduation, he received the school's Paul Sherlock Prize in Internal Medicine, which is awarded to a physician who has "demonstrated exceptional integrity and compassion in caring for patients."

Atul Gawande, MD, PhD.  is a surgeon, professor, public health researcher, and author. Dr. Gawande is Director of Ariadne Labs, a joint center for health systems innovation at Brigham and Women's Hospital, where he practices general and endocrine surgery, and at Harvard School of Public Health, where he is professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management. He is also co-founder and chairman of an international nonprofit for implementing systems to reduce surgical deaths, Lifebox. In addition, Dr. Gawande is a staff writer at The New Yorker. He writes with insight and compassion about the practice of modern medicine, and with a keen eye to improving it. In three bestselling books — "Complications," "Better," and "The Checklist Manifesto" — Dr. Gawande describes mishaps he encountered as a surgical resident, explores strategies to optimize treatment, and shows how the use of an operating room checklist can profoundly improve patient outcomes. He has received two National Magazine Awards as well as a MacArthur Fellowship, and he has been named one of the hundred most influential thinkers by Foreign Policy and TIME.

Steven Goldstein. Mr. Goldstein is CEO of Strong Memorial Hospital and Highland Hospital, vice president for the University of Rochester Medical Center and president for long-term care at URMC — all in Rochester, N.Y. He is a professor of community and preventative medicine at the URMC School of Medicine and Dentistry. In addition, he has been an American Hospital Association trustee since 2012 and has served as a past chairman of the Hospital Association of New York State. Before joining Strong Memorial, Mr. Goldstein was an executive at Rochester (N.Y.) General Hospital, The Children's Medical Center (Dayton, Ohio), University of Nebraska Hospitals and Clinics and the Nebraska Psychiatric Institute, both in Omaha, Neb.

George Halvorson. Mr. Halvorson is the CEO of the First 5 California Children and Families Commission. He served as the CEO and chairman of the Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente from 2002 to 2013, helping to guide the direction of the nation's largest nonprofit health plan and hospital system. Following his retirement, he was appointed to lead California's First 5 Commission, which uses money from tobacco taxes to provide support and services for children ages zero to five. He also serves on the Institute of Medicine Task Force on Evidence Based Care and on the American Hospital Association's Advisory Committee on Health Care Reform. He is the author of several books on healthcare reform, most recently "Health Care Will Not Reform Itself: A User's Guide to Refocusing and Reforming American Health Care." 

Andrew Hayek. Mr. Hayek is president and CEO of Deerfield, Ill.-based Surgical Care Affiliates, which operates 185 surgical facilities in 34 states. He also serves on SCA's board of directors. Previously, he was president of a division of renal dialysis provider DaVita Inc. in Denver, and he was president and COO of Alliance Healthcare Services, a diagnostic imaging and radiation therapy provider based in Newport Beach, Calif. Previously, he worked at the strategy consulting firm Boston Consulting Group and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., a private equity firm based in New York City. Additionally, he currently serves on the board of advisers of healthcare consulting company Sg2. He earned his bachelor's degree from Yale University in New Haven, Conn.

Regina Herzlinger, PhD. Dr. Herzlinger, a business professor at Harvard Business School in Boston, was the first woman to be tenured and chaired at the college. Her reputation goes far beyond business, and she is considered to be one of the main scholars of healthcare, managed care and consumer-driven health policies. Dr. Herzlinger has written several healthcare books, many of which are bestsellers in their categories, including "Market Driven Health Care" and "Who Killed Health Care?" She has said the U.S. healthcare system is organized around providers and payers when it should be centered on patients, and this has caused costs to spiral out of control. Some of Dr. Herzlinger's solutions have included a national system of medical records, mandatory performance evaluations of all hospitals and health insurance subsidies for those who cannot afford care. 

Karen Ignagni. As president and CEO of the national trade association America's Health Insurance Plans, Ms. Ignagni holds one of the most influential positions in the healthcare industry. She lobbies policymakers on behalf of American health insurance companies and has spoken out against various aspects of the PPACA, such as the law's excise tax on health insurance providers. Before obtaining her current position, she was president of the American Association of Health Plans, which merged with the Health Insurance Association of America in 2003 to form AHIP. Before that, she directed the AFL-CIO's Department of Employee Benefits and was a professional staff member of the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee. She has authored more than 90 articles on healthcare policy issues for publications such as The New York Times, USA Today and Health Affairs. She holds an executive MBA from Loyola University in Baltimore and graduated from Providence (R.I.) College in 1971 as part of the first class of women to attend the school. 

John Kitzhaber, MD. Oregon Gov. Kitzhaber is now serving an unprecedented third term, having been elected governor in 1994, 1998 and most recently in 2010. Before that, he served one term in the Oregon House of Representatives and three terms in the State Senate. As president of the state senate, he was the chief author of the Oregon Health Plan, the state's Medicaid program that provides healthcare coverage to low- and moderate-income residents. Under his leadership, Oregon has also entered into a five-year, $1.9 billion agreement with CMS to transform its Medicaid program through new coordinated care organizations. Gov. Kitzhaber also established and previously served as director of the Center for Evidence Based Policy at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, where he graduated from medical school.

Daniel Kraft, MD. Dr. Kraft has chaired the medicine track for Singularity University since the Silicon Valley organization's inception in 2008. He is also Singularity's neuroscience chair and serves as executive director of the Exponential Medicine Program, which explores emerging technologies and their potential uses in biomedicine and healthcare. His own research has yielded significant advances in healthcare — while at the National Institutes of Health, he developed a concept for a monoclonal antibody-based therapy for treating allergic disease, and while at Stanford University, he discovered a new method for developing T-cells to help advance the fight against AIDS/HIV. He also implemented the first text-paging system at Stanford Hospital & Clinic in Palo Alto, Calif. He is the founder of health technology companies IntelliMedicine and RegenMed Systems and is an advisor to the XPrize Foundation, Qualcomm Life and Rock Health.

Brent Lambert, MD. Dr. Lambert is president and one of three founders of Ambulatory Surgical Centers of America, an ASC management and development company in Hanover, Mass. Under his leadership and since its founding in 1997, ASCOA has grown from three centers in the Boston area to 31 centers nationwide. The organization is an industry leader, with expertise in center turnarounds, physician ownership and joint venture-building. Before he founded ASCOA, Dr. Lambert was a faculty member at Harvard Medical School in Boston. He also founded XONIX, an international medical instrument company. Dr. Lambert is a board-certified ophthalmologist.

Vivian Lee, MD, PhD. Dr. Lee wears many hats. Since July 2011, she has served as senior vice president for health sciences at the University of Utah, dean of U of U's School of Medicine and CEO of University of Utah Health Care. She previously served as vice dean for science, senior vice president and chief scientific officer senior of New York University Medical Center. During here time there, the organization rose from No. 36 to No. 27 for funding from the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Lee has championed transparency and value-driven care in academic medical centers. "I'm a big believer in data and in measuring things," she told Becker's Hospital Review. That belief spurred the development of UHC's Value-Driven Outcomes tool, an algorithm meant to measure the true cost — not sticker price — of a patient's episode of care. Dr. Lee, a radiologist, was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford University in England, where she earned a doctorate in molecular engineering. She earned her medical degree with honors from Harvard University in Boston and completed her MBA at NYU's Stern School of Business.

Marty Makary, MD. Dr. Makary is the author of "Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won't Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care," an exposé of the failures of the American health system. Dr. Makary is a researcher at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore and director of the Johns Hopkins Pancreas Islet Transplantation Center. He is also a practicing surgical oncologist, specializing in laparoscopic surgery. Additionally, he is a speaker on accountability and transparency in medicine, serving on the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program and appearing on CNN and Fox News as a commentator. Dr. Makary was also one of the original authors on the checklist later adapted and adopted by the World Health Organization, where he spearheaded the committee to develop global surgical quality metrics.

Tom Mallon. Mr. Mallon is the CEO of Westchester, Ill.-based Regent Surgical Health, which he co-founded in 2001. The company — which has grown to develop, manage and own 21 ambulatory surgery centers — specializes in working with physicians and hospitals in the development, management and turnaround of ASCs. Before founding Regent, he was a partner with Gryffindor Capital Partners and Same Day Surgery. He was also vice president of leasing and marketing for the Chicago companies JMB Realty and Miglin-Beitler Developments. He has significant experience in venture capital funds, turnarounds and physician recruitment. He earned his bachelor's degree from Denison University in Granville, Ohio, and his MBA from Harvard Business School in Boston.

Mark McClellan, MD, PhD. Dr. McClellan, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, is also director of the Health Care Innovation and Value Initiative. A physician economist, Dr. McClellan's work focuses on how to achieve value and quality through patient-centered care. The Brookings Institution is a nonpartisan think tank located in Washington, D.C., and has been cited as being one of the most influential in the world. Under Dr. McClellan's leadership, the Brookings Institution has offered policy solutions and other ideas to help policymakers and clinicians achieve value in care. Dr. McClellan is also co-director of the Bipartisan Policy Center's Leaders' Project on the State of American Health Care, co-chair of the Commission to Build a Healthier America at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and chair of the Regan-Udall Foundation at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In addition to his other positions, Dr. McClellan is also a former CMS administrator, former commissioner of the FDA and former senior director for healthcare policy at the White House.

John Noseworthy, MD. As president and CEO of Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic, Dr. Noseworthy leads a pioneering U.S. healthcare institution in the realm of medical discoveries. Previously, Dr. Noseworthy served as chair of Mayo's neurology department, medical director of the department of development and vice chair of the Mayo Clinic Rochester Executive Board. He and his leadership team have developed a strategic plan to help Mayo expand its reach and thrive in a changing healthcare environment. In 2013, Dr. Noseworthy launched Mayo's "Destination Medical Center" initiative, which he says will secure Minnesota's status as a global medical hub. He has authored more than 150 research papers, chapters, editorials and several books, including the three-volume textbook "Neurological Therapeutics: Principles and Practice." Additionally, he previously served as editor-in-chief of Neurology, the official journal of the American Academy of Neurology. He received his medical degree from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada and completed his neurology training at Dalhousie University and the University of Western Ontario. He also completed a research fellowship at Harvard Medical School in Boston. 

Barack Obama. In March 2010, President Barack Obama set major changes in motion for the healthcare industry by signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a controversial piece of legislation seeking to expand access to care and overhaul the way it's delivered and paid for in the U.S. Under the PPACA (which has received criticism from conservative lawmakers), many states have already expanded their Medicaid programs, and millions have signed up for health plans through new state-based and federal health insurance exchanges, the industry impact of which remains uncertain following a bumpy rollout. Before becoming the 44th president and enacting the PPACA, President Obama served as an Illinois senator and worked as a community organizer in Chicago. He studied law at Boston-based Harvard University, where he was the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. He was also a lecturer on constitutional law at the University of Chicago. "While I may not always or often agree with him, he has a mind that moves at a speed and draws conclusions in a manner that is faster and sharper than 99 percent of the world," says Scott Becker, publisher of Becker's Hospital Review. 

Lois Quam. Ms. Quam is the founder and chair of Tysvar, an advisory firm focused on environmental and healthcare issues. From 1990 to 2007, Ms. Quam worked for UnitedHealth Group, focusing on providing older and low-income Americans with health insurance. She was eventually promoted to president and CEO of the public and senior markets division, where she oversaw the company's Medicare and Medicaid business serving more than 10 million people. She also served as a senior adviser on rural health issues to First Lady Hillary Clinton from 1993 to 1994. Following her departure from UnitedHealth, Ms. Quam became interested in environmental issues and joined investment bank and asset management firm Piper Jaffary as a leader in their environment and healthcare division. In April of 2009, she left Piper Jaffary to form Tysvar. 

Uwe Reinhardt, PhD. Dr. Reinhardt is the James Madison Professor of Political Economy and a professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton (N.J.) University. He also serves as director of the medical device company Boston Scientific, as a member of the Institute of Medicine and as a trustee for the Hambrecht & Quist Life Sciences Fund and Health Care Fund. He regularly contributes to The New York Times' column "Economix," writing about healthcare, finance, taxes and other issues. Additionally, he is or has been an editorial board member for numerous publications such as The Journal of Health Economics, Health Affairs and The New England Journal of Medicine. He has advised numerous state and international bodies, including HHS, the Veterans Administration, the World Bank and the Physician Payment Review Commission. He earned his bachelor of commerce degree from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada and his PhD in economics from Yale University in New Haven, Conn.

Nancy Schlichting. Ms. Schlichting serves president and CEO of Henry Ford Health System in Detroit. She joined the health system in 1998 as senior vice president and chief administrative officer and has been credited for the system's financial turnaround. During her time in healthcare, she has received numerous awards, such as the American Lung Association's Lung Health Champion Award (2009), the Rhonda Walker Foundation's Powerful Woman of Purpose Award (2009) and the American Hospital Association's Grassroots Champion Award (2010), among many others. She also serves on various community, corporate and professional boards, such as the The Kresge Foundation Board, Walgreen Co. Board, Federal Bank of Chicago Board – Detroit Branch and Detroit Regional Chamber Board. Prior to joining Henry Ford in 1998, Ms. Schlichting was executive vice president and COO of Summa Health System in Akron, Ohio. She holds a bachelor of arts degree in public policy studies from Duke University in Durham, N.C., and an MBA from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.

Neel Shah, MD. Barely older than 30, Dr. Shah has already made a big impact on the U.S. healthcare system. He completed his OB/GYN residency at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and earned joint degrees in medicine and public policy from Brown University in Providence, R.I., and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, respectively. Dr. Shah now practices in the OB/GYN department at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. His primary clinical interests are in safe pregnancy and childbirth, and he is building a research program at Harvard's Ariadne Labs to study the global epidemic of Caesarean sections. Dr. Shah is perhaps best known for founding Costs of Care, a nonprofit organization that aims to help clinicians and patients "deflate medical bills." He says for the betterment of patients and organizations, physicians and financial managers "need to find new ways to merge our knowledge."

Peter Slavin, MD. Dr. Slavin is president of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, a position he has held since 2003. He has been with the organization since 1999, when he joined as chairman and CEO of the Massachusetts General Physicians Organization. Under his leadership, MGH has continued excellence in care and is regularly recognized as one of the leading hospitals in the country in research, quality, innovation and patient care. Dr. Slavin was senior vice president and CMO for MGH from 1994 to 1997, after which he left the organization to become president of St. Louis, Mo.-based Barnes-Jewish Hospital from 1997 to 1999. Dr. Slavin teaches internal medicine and healthcare management at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

Glenn Steele, MD, PhD. Dr. Steele has served as president and CEO of Danville,Pa.-based Geisinger Health System since March 2001. Previously, he served as vice president for medical affairs, dean of Pritzker School of Medicine and professor in the department of surgery at University of Chicago. Before that, he was the William V. McDermott professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School, president and CEO of Deaconess Professional Practice Group and chairman of the department of surgery at New England Deaconess Hospital, all in Boston. He is also a former chairman of the American Board of Surgery. He is the author or co-author of more than 481 scientific and professional articles and is a member of the Institute of Medicine. He has received numerous awards, such as the CEO IT Achievement Award (2006), the American Hospital Association's Grassroots Champion Award (2007) and the 8th Annual AHA Health Research & Education Trust Award (2010). He received his bachelor's degree from Harvard University and his medical degree from New York University School of Medicine. He earned his PhD in microbiology from Lund University in Sweden.

Quint Studer. Mr. Studer is president of the Studer Group, a healthcare consulting company that helps organizations create cultures clinical and financial accountability. Mr. Studer is the author of three bestselling books on improvement, including "Hardwiring Excellence" (2004), "101 Questions Leaders Ask" (2005), and "Results That Last" (2007). Mr. Studer also specializes in hospital turnarounds. Before founding the Studer Group, Mr. Studer was president of Chicago-based Holy Cross Hospital and president of Pensacola, Fla.-based Baptist Memorial Hospital; he helped both hospitals improve satisfaction, reduce employee turnover and turn a profit.

Andrew Sussman, MD. Dr. Sussman is president of MinuteClinic and senior vice president and associate medical officer of CVS Caremark. MinuteClinic is a rapidly growing retail medical clinic provider, with 650 retail healthcare centers located in CVS/pharmacy stores in 25 states. Under Dr. Sussman's leadership, MinuteClinic has expanded its clinical service offerings and formed strategic affiliations with 25 health systems. Previously, Dr. Sussman was executive vice president and COO of UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, Mass., as well as an associate professor of medicine at UMass Medical School. Before joining UMass, he served as CMO of the Brigham and Women's Physicians Organization in Boston. He practiced primary care and internal medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital, and was an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston. He received his education at Harvard College, Harvard Medical School and Boston University's School of Management.

Chris Van Gorder. Until the late 1970s, Mr. Van Gorder served as a police officer before he was critically injured in an on-duty incident. He was in the hospital for almost a year, where his interest in healthcare sprouted. After working in various hospital security roles, Mr. Van Gorder ultimately became CEO of Scripps Health in San Diego, where he still is today. He helped the system recover from annual losses of $15 million and revamped Scripps' reputation in the process. Through a "no layoff" philosophy, a transparent management style and aggressive investment in outpatient services, Mr. Van Gorder has become one of the most innovative health system leaders in the country. He's a winner of the 2013 Press Ganey Innovation Award and the 2014 American College of Healthcare Executives Gold Medal Award.

Richard Wohns, MD, JD. Dr. Wohns, a neurosurgeon, founded Puyallup, Wash.-based NeoSpine in 2001. He serves as president of the organization, which provides spine surgery and interventional pain management services and diagnostic techniques. Dr. Wohns is one of the first qualified neurosurgeons in the country to perform a revolutionary technique for minimally invasive lumbar fusions, and to date, he's performed more than 3,000 successful outpatient spine surgeries. Dr. Wohns is a seasoned traveler as well, lending his medical expertise on various expeditions (one through Tibet, another up Mt. Kilimanjaro, for instance) and to the International Society of Mountain Medicine in Switzerland, where he served as vice president for three years. He is now president of the Western Neurosurgical Society. Dr. Wohns graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University and earned his medical degree from Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn. He earned an MBA from University of Washington (Seattle) and his JD from Seattle University School of Law.

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