Former ABIM, ACP president to be NQF president

December 17, 2012

Former American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Christine K. Cassel, MD, will become president and CEO of the National Quality Forum (NQF) in mid-summer 2013, the organization's board of directors has unanimously decided.

Former American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Christine K. Cassel, MD, will become president and CEO of the National Quality Forum (NQF) in mid-summer 2013, the organization's board of directors has unanimously decided.

Established in 1999, the NQF is a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization that reviews, endorses, and recommends use of healthcare performance measures that serve as the information base of federal, state, and private-sector initiatives focused on enhancing the value of healthcare services.

“Dr. Cassel has the credentials, leadership skills, public respect, credibility, and vision needed to run an organization as vital as NQF,” says William Roper, MD, MPH, dean of the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine, vice chancellor for medical affairs, chief executive officer of UNC Health Care System, and chairman of the NQF Board of Directors. “At this critical juncture where improved quality is the linchpin to achieving healthcare of the highest value, we believe Dr. Cassel is uniquely qualified to carry NQF’s mission forward. We are honored she has chosen to join us in our national quest to improve health and healthcare.”

Cassel says: “NQF has been at the forefront of every major effort to improve healthcare quality in the last decade. It is a privilege to build on the excellent leadership of Janet Corrigan and continue NQF’s efforts to advance a shared framework for accountability and quality improvement in healthcare."

She announced in April that she was leaving her position with the ABIM and the ABIM Foundation. She has led ABIM for 10 years, spearheading efforts to promote physician professionalism and certification, quality improvement, and the role physicians play in stewarding limited resources wisely. An expert in geriatric medicine, medical ethics, and quality of care, Cassel is past president of the American Federation for Aging Research and the American College of Physicians (ACP). She also formerly served as dean of the School of Medicine and vice president for medical affairs at Oregon Health and Science University, chairwoman of the Department of Geriatrics and Adult Development at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and chief of general internal medicine at the University of Chicago. She is board-certified in internal medicine and geriatric medicine.

Cassel was the first woman chair at ABIM, the first woman president of the ACP, and the first woman dean of Oregon Health and Science University. She is also one of 20 scientists chosen by President Barack Obama to serve on the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) and is co-chair and physician leader of a 2010 PCAST report to the president on future directions of health information technology.

Cassel has been a member of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) since 1992. She served on the landmark IOM committees that wrote the influential reports "To Err is Human" and "Crossing the Quality Chasm," and she led major IOM reports on public health (2002) and on palliative care (1997). She also has written or co-written 14 books and more than 200 journal articles on geriatric medicine, aging, bioethics, and health policy.

She also has been part of NQF-convened committees. Cassel participated as an early member of the National Priorities Partnership, the public-private partnership whose work contributed to the establishment of the National Quality Strategy. More recently she served as a member of the Measures Application Partnership Coordinating Committee, advising the federal government on which performance measures to use in specific federal programs. As part of efforts to reduce measurement burden by increasing synchronized use of measures, she chaired a multi-stakeholder task force focused on cardiovascular and diabetes care, recommending a "family" of measures that could be optimally used across settings and programs.

“Dr. Cassel is widely admired for bringing science and policy together to create meaningful solutions that serve patients and those who care for them,” says John Tooker, MD, MBA, FACP, chairman of the NQF CEO Search Committee. “She is one of our nation’s leading voices in healthcare quality improvement and physician education.”

A graduate of the University of Chicago, Cassel received her medical degree from the University of Massachusetts Medical School. She has received many honorary degrees and awards of distinction, including honorary fellowships in the Royal College of Medicine of England and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and a mastership in the ACP.