Don Berwick
Learn more about Don Berwick

Donald M. Berwick is a Senior Fellow at American Progress. He is one of the nation’s leading authorities on health care quality and improvement. In July 2010, President Barack Obama appointed Dr. Berwick to the position of administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, a position he held until December 2011.


Berwick is the former president and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, or IHI, an organization that Dr. Berwick co-founded and led for more than 20 years. A pediatrician by background, Dr. Berwick has served as clinical professor of pediatrics and health care policy at Harvard Medical School, professor of health policy and management at the Harvard School of Public Health, and as a member of the staffs of Boston’s Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He has also served as vice chair of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, the first “independent member” of the Board of Trustees of the American Hospital Association, and chair of the National Advisory Council of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. An elected member of the Institute of Medicine, or IOM, Dr. Berwick served two terms on the IOM’s governing council and was a member of the IOM’s Global Health Board. He also served on President Bill Clinton’s Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Healthcare Industry.


Berwick is a recipient of numerous awards, including the 1999 Joint Commission’s Ernest Amory Codman Award, the 2002 American Hospital Association’s Award of Honor, the 2006 John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award for Individual Achievement from the National Quality Forum and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, the 2007 William B. Graham Prize for Health Services Research, and the 2007 Heinz Award for Public Policy from the Heinz Family Foundation. In 2005, he was appointed “Honorary Knight Commander of the British Empire” by the Queen of England, the highest honor awarded by the United Kingdom to non-British subjects, in recognition of his work with the British National Health Service.


Berwick is the author or co-author of more than 160 scientific articles and four books. He received his B.A. from Harvard College, his M.P.P. from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and his M.D. from Harvard Medical School.


Recent Posts by Don Berwick

“Out Of The Blocks”: Meeting The Challenge Of Transforming Health Care

No other presidential election in American history has been freighted with such significance for health care as was last month’s vote. Uncertainty over the future of health policy dominated the discourse, and we all waited with bated breath for clarity from the voters. Thirty-six days ago,...

Accelerating Innovation At The Centers For Medicare And Medicaid Services

Editor’s note: See additional posts on the Medicare Shared Savings Program Final Rule  and related delivery system and payment reform initiatives by Debra Ness and William Kramer, Lawrence Casalino and Stephen Shortell,  Douglas Hastings, and Mark McClellan and Elliott Fisher. Innovation has...

Clinical Registries: The Opportunity For The Nation

In the early 1970s, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation began tracking the health of patients with cystic fibrosis.  What began as a modest data collection effort is today a comprehensive clinical registry of 26,000 patients.  Caregivers and researchers use the registry to identify new trends in...

Adoption and Meaningful Use of EHRs – The Journey Begins

Editor’s Note: The post below is by David Blumenthal, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, and Don Berwick, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Blumenthal will speak later today at a Washington D.C. event, “Advancing Electronic Health...

Berwick On Patient-Centered Care: Comments And Responses

Editor’s Note: In a recent Health Affairs essay titled “What ‘Patient-Centered’ Should Mean: Confessions Of An Extremist,” Don Berwick surveyed the debate in the health policy community over how the principle of “patient-centeredness” should be defined and implemented. He argued for...