October 1, 2008
Kizer to Be Presented With APHA’s 2008 Award for Excellence
KENNETH W. Kizer, MD, MPH, will receive the 2008 APHA Award for Excellence for his distinguished achievements in transforming the operation and quality of the U.S. Veterans Affairs Health Care System. Kizer, who was VA undersecretary for health and chief executive officer for the Veterans Health Administration from 1994- 1999, is now chair of Medsphere Systems Corporation in Aliso Viejo, Calif. He is credited with reorganization of the VA health care system, decentraliz- ing opera- tional decision- making and implement- ing equi- table resource allocation, universal primary care, perfor- mance mea- surement, a pharmacy benefit program and a computerized patient record system, among other accomplishments."Dr. Kizer transformed the VA health care system from a hospital- focused, specialty-based care to a patient-centered primary care through a series of operational as well as quality improvement measures," wrote APHA member Linda W. Tsan, MD, MS, MM, co-chair of the APHA Medical Care Section's Veteran's Health Committee, in a letter nominating Kizer for the Award for Excellence.
After working at VA, Kizer continued his efforts to improve the quality of the nation's health care, serving as president and chief executive officer of the National Quality Forum in Washington, D.C., from 1999-2005. While there, he developed a unique publicprivate partnership of more than 300 organizations representing all segments of the health care industry to bring consensus on standards for measuring and reporting health care quality.
"Dr. Kizer took a system whose reputation was of low performance and marginal quality care to one viewed by many as a model of what ought to be expected from modern medicine," said J. Michael McGinnis, MD, MPP, of the Institute of Medicine.
A graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles, Kizer is certified in preventive medicine as well as medical toxicology, emergency medicine and medical man- agement. His long history of medical and public health service includes ser- vice as a squadron medical offi- cer and staff physician for the Navy Regional Medical Center in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; a group medical officer for the U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group One in Barbers Point, Hawaii; director of the Emergency Medical Services Authority for the state of California; chair of the board of directors of the California Wellness Foundation; and chief deputy director of Preventive Health Services and chief of Public Health Programs for the state of California's Department of Health Services.
Kizer is a member of the Institute of Medicine and among his many honors was given the Distinguished Service Medal for "distinguished work in veterans' health care" by the American Legion in 2007. He was selected as one of the 100 Most Powerful People in Health Care by Modern Healthcare magazine in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005.
Copyright American Public Health Association Sep 2008
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