Dr. Christine Cassel Named New President and CEO of the National Quality Forum 

DEC 17, 2012

CONTACT: Lindsey Spindle

Dr. Christine Cassel Named New President and CEO of the National Quality Forum

Washington, DC – The National Quality Forum Board of Directors today unanimously named Dr. Christine K. Cassel as its new President and Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Cassel will begin her position at NQF effective mid-summer 2013.

"NQF is deeply fortunate to have Dr. Cassel join us as our new leader," said William Roper, MD, MPH, Dean of University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs, Chief Executive Officer of UNC Health Care System, and Chair of the NQF Board of Directors. "Dr. Cassel has the credentials, leadership skills, public respect, credibility, and vision needed to run an organization as vital as NQF. 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."

Dr. Cassel announced in April this year she was leaving her position as the President and CEO of the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) and the ABIM Foundation. She has led ABIM for ten years, spearheading efforts to promote physician professionalism and certification, quality improvement, and the important role physicians play in stewarding limited resources wisely. An expert in geriatric medicine, medical ethics and quality of care, Dr. Cassel is past President of the American Federation for Aging Research and the American College of Physicians. She also formerly served as Dean of the School of Medicine and Vice President for Medical Affairs at Oregon Health and Science University, Chair of the Department of Geriatrics and Adult Development at 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.

A pioneering woman in healthcare, Dr. Cassel was the first woman chair at ABIM, first woman president at the American College of Physicians, and the first woman dean of Oregon Health and Science University. She is also one of 20 scientists chosen by United States 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 PCAST report to the President on future directions of health information technology. Dr. Cassel has been a member of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) since 1992.

"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," said Cassel.

Dr. Cassel is a prolific author of books, reports, and peer-reviewed journal articles – all part of her commitment to advancing knowledge, better care, and new ideas. She deepened her expertise in healthcare quality while serving on the landmark IOM committees that wrote the influential reports "To Err is Human" and "Crossing the Quality Chasm." She chaired major IOM reports on public health (2002) and on palliative care (1997). For four years in a row, Modern Healthcare named Dr. Cassel among the 100 most influential people in health care. To date, Dr. Cassel has authored or co-authored 14 books and more than 200 journal articles on geriatric medicine, aging, bioethics and health policy.

NQF-convened committees have benefited in the past from Dr. Cassel's insights. She 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 Dr. Cassel served as a member of the Measure Applications 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," said Dr. John Tooker, chair 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, Dr. Cassel received her medical degree from the University of Massachusetts Medical School. She is the recipient of numerous 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 American College of Physicians.

Established in 1999, the National Quality Forum (NQF) is a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization that reviews, endorses, and recommends use of healthcare performance measures. These measures serve as the information base of federal, state, and private-sector initiatives focused on enhancing the value of healthcare services. NQF is governed by a diverse Board of Directors. It is 450 members strong; its membership spans all those interested in healthcare. Consumers and others who purchase healthcare sit side-by-side with those who provide care and others in the healthcare industry.

Interview requests for Dr. Cassel or members of the NQF Board of Directors can be sent to lspindle@qualityforum.org.

The National Quality Forum operates under a three-part mission to improve the quality of American healthcare by:  

  • Building consensus on national priorities and goals for performance improvement and working in partnership to achieve them;  
  • Endorsing national consensus standards for measuring and publicly reporting on performance; and  
  • Promoting the attainment of national goals through education and outreach programs.