On May 11, 2019, Donald M. Berwick, MD, MPP, FRCP, received an honorary degree from Indiana University. Dr. Paul K. Halverson, founding dean of the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, presented Dr. Berwick with the Doctor of Humane Letters degree during the IUPUI Commencement Ceremony.
Dr. Berwick is president emeritus and a senior fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, an organization he co-founded and led as president and chief executive officer for 18 years. He led the 100,000 Lives Campaign, an initiative to improve hospital safety and reduce hospital deaths through evidence-based practices.
A pediatrician by background, he has served as clinical professor of pediatrics and healthcare policy at Harvard Medical School, professor of health policy and management at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and on the staffs of Boston’s Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Dr. Berwick is one of the nation’s leading authorities on healthcare 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, which he held until December 2011.
He has 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. Dr. Berwick served two terms on the governing council of the National Academy of Medicine and was a member of its global health board. He also served on President Bill Clinton’s Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Healthcare Industry.
In 2005, Dr. Berwick was appointed Honorary Knight Commander of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II—the highest honor awarded by the United Kingdom to non-British subjects—in recognition of his work with the British National Health Service. This is one of many prestigious national and international awards in public health education and research that he has received.
He is a renowned champion of the Triple Aim: improving the individual experience of care, improving the health of populations, and reducing the per capita costs of care for populations. Dr. Berwick has been a strong advocate of health system recognition for supporting the social determinants of health, a primary basis of public health for our nation, and has made many achievements in the pursuit of improved public health.
Left to right: Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar, Dean Paul K. Halverson, Dr. Donald M. Berwick, and IU President Michael A. McRobbie during the IUPUI Commencement Ceremony