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Today the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) announced the appointment of 19 Commissioners to serve on its Commission on Investment Imperatives for a Healthy Nation (the Commission). The Commission is charged with identifying transformative actions necessary to improve the performance of a health system that is unaffordable to many and falls short of the outcomes that should be achieved. This was demonstrated dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic but is an everyday experience for many Americans. Pervasive health system fragmentation, misaligned incentives, and structural inequities cripple the nation鈥檚 capacity to deliver the quality of health care for individual patients and the level of health for society as a whole that should be readily available for investment that far exceeds that of any other nation.

The Commission will examine the findings of five expert workstreams on the impediments to key drivers of health system performance; assess the national health and economic consequences of the performance shortfalls; and estimate the improvements that could be achieved from use of the policy, programmatic, and cultural levers available to foster alignment and reverse system shortfalls.

Stewarded by the NAM Leadership Consortium, this independent Commission will carry out its work over two years鈥攚ith an option for additional follow-on work鈥 and will release regular progress reports.

Introduction to the Commissioners

The Commission is made up of respected leaders who bring expertise across several fields and sectors, including health and medicine, public service, education, banking, business, science and technology, and represent a broad range of lived experiences. While many of the Commissioners have held important health-related posts, none have current health care agency or organization operational responsibilities. The interdisciplinary and independent nature of the Commission will be key to identifying comprehensive solutions. The NAM is pleased to welcome the new Commissioners:

Gilda Barabino (Chair) (MASSACHUSETTS) is the President of the Olin College of Engineering and chairs the Board of Directors for American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Dr. Barabino is an internationally recognized thought leader and consultant on race/ethnicity and gender in science and engineering, with a particular focus on creating cultures and climates that support a sense of belonging. Her work has pioneered the field of engineering in the medical sciences as well as provided essential insight into health equity in science and engineering.

Margaret Hamburg (Vice-Chair) (WASHINGTON, D.C.) served as the 21st Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is widely recognized for advancing regulatory science and streamlining, modernizing, and globalizing the FDA. She is the former Board Chair of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and co-chairs the InterAcademy Partnership, a global network of science, engineering, and medical academies working together to provide independent expert advice on scienti铿乧, technological, and health issues.

Jennifer 鈥渁datsunome鈥 Bereskin-SeaMonster (WASHINGTON) is Snohomish and Qawalangin and is The Youngest Daughter of the SeaMonster Man. A community advocate, she works to bring attention to the experiences of Indigenous communities within government and health care systems, drawing from her lived experience in Snohomish County, Washington.

Sue Birch (WASHINGTON) is the Director of the Washington State Health Care Authority and formerly served as the Executive Director of Colorado鈥檚 Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. A nurse by training, she is passionate about improving population health and reducing overmedicalization by focusing on the social determinants of health.

Aneesh Chopra (VIRGINIA) is the President of CareJourney, a health care data and analytics platform that delivers a trusted, transparent provider ratings system anchored on value-based care measures. As the 铿乺st U.S. Chief Technology O铿僣er under President Obama, he is a well- regarded data and analytics expert in both the public and private sectors.

Maria Contreras-Sweet (CALIFORNIA) is the 24th Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration and served as a member of the President’s cabinet. She previously led California鈥檚 Business, Transportation, and Housing Agency; served on the Board of Blue Cross of California; and was Founding Director of the California Endowment, a nonpro铿乼 foundation working to make California a healthier place for all.

Kafui Dzirasa (NORTH CAROLINA) is a distinguished neurobiologist, psychiatrist, and researcher whose research focuses on how changes in the brain produce neurological and mental illness. His goal is to combine his research, medical training, and community experience to improve outcomes for diverse communities su铿ering from Neurological and Psychiatric illness.

Kenneth Frazier (PENNSYLVANIA) is Chairman of General Catalyst鈥檚 Health Assurance initiatives鈥攁 铿乺m that invests in businesses working at the intersection of technology, health care, and pharma to support widespread, systematic change鈥攁nd is the former Chairman and CEO of Merck. Mr. Frazier鈥檚 extensive legal career and business acumen have made him a nationally recognized 铿乬ure, alongside his advocacy for social justice and economic inclusion.

Paula Johnson (MASSACHUSETTS) is an accomplished cardiologist and the 铿乺st Black woman president of Wellesley College whose life’s work is improving the health and wellness of all women, and particularly those who su铿er the greatest inequity, around the world. Dr. Johnson鈥檚 work has shifted paradigms by recognizing sex as a determinant of health in disease presentation.

Orv Kimbrough (MISSOURI), Chairman and CEO of Midwest BankCentre, St. Louis’ second-largest privately-owned local bank, leverages the bank’s robust financial services to empower individuals, bolster businesses, and invigorate neighborhoods. A leading figure in Community and Economic Development, Midwest BankCentre’s initiatives under his tenure, including Impact Banking and the Rising Together Foundation, reflect his personal journey from foster care to corporate and community leadership.

Bob Kocher (CALIFORNIA) is a partner at Venrock, where he focuses on health technology and services investments. He is a Senior Fellow at the Leonard D. Schae铿er Center for Health Policy and Economics at the University of Southern California and served as Special Assistant to the President for Healthcare and Economic Policy on the National Economic Council during the Obama administration.

Steve Lipstein (COLORADO) is the former President and CEO of BJC HealthCare鈥攖he largest health care delivery system in Missouri and Southern Illinois鈥攁nd served on the boards of the BJC Collaborative, the St. Louis Regional Health Commission, and the Missouri Hospital Association, among others. Before his retirement, he chaired the Board of Directors for the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and received the St. Louis Post Dispatch 鈥淐itizen of the Year鈥 award in 2013.

Elizabeth Mitchell (CALIFORNIA) is the President and CEO of the Purchaser Business Group on Health. She has dedicated her career to improving health outcomes and health care a铿ordability, leading the Healthcare and Community Health Transformation division at Blue Shield of California, the Network for Regional Health Improvement, and Maine Health Management Coalition. At age 25, she was elected to the Maine state legislature and served two terms.

Dwayne Proctor (MISSOURI) is the President and CEO of the Missouri Foundation for Health and chairs the Board of Trustees for the NAACP Foundation. He is passionate about achieving health equity, demonstrated by his commitment to building partnerships with those who a铿ect structural systems changes for people with disabilities; Indigenous people; incarcerated citizens; and other marginalized racial, gender, identity groups and people and his contributions to the community- based research space.

Eric Rubin (MASSACHUSETTS) serves as the Editor-in-Chief for the New England Journal of Medicine, is a leading infectious disease expert, and is renowned for his groundbreaking tuberculosis research and personal dedication to often neglected populations of patients. He is an Associate Physician at the Brigham and Women鈥檚 Hospital, a professor for the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and a member of several scienti铿乧 advisory boards.

Eduardo Sanchez (TEXAS) is the former Texas Commissioner of Health, serves as Chief Medical O铿僣er for Prevention at the American Heart Association (AHA); and is Principal Investigator of the National Hypertension Control Initiative, a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services鈥 O铿僣e of Minority Health and the Health Resources & Services Administration. Prior to joining the AHA, Dr. Sanchez served as Vice President and Chief Medical O铿僣er for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas.

Kathleen Sebelius (KANSAS) is one of America鈥檚 foremost experts on national and global health issues, human services, and executive leadership. From 2009 to 2014, she served as the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where she worked to pass and implement the A铿ordable Care Act. She also served as Governor of Kansas, two terms as the state鈥檚 Insurance Commissioner, and four terms in the Kansas state Legislature.

Andy Slavitt (CALIFORNIA) served as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services during the Obama administration and as Senior Advisor to the COVID-19 Response Coordinator during the Biden administration. He founded and serves as the Board Chair Emeritus of United States of Care, a national nonpro铿乼 health advocacy organization, and is a founding partner of Town Hall Ventures, a 铿乺m that invests in the health of underrepresented communities.

Mary Wake铿乪ld (NORTH DAKOTA) has had a long and successful career in public service, including serving as acting Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services and head of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). She also served on President Clinton鈥檚 Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Health Care Industry, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), the National Advisory Committee to HRSA鈥檚 O铿僣e of Rural Health Policy, and the National Advisory Council for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Expert workstreams

The Commission鈥檚 deliberations are supported by five expert workstreams launched in Fall 2023 to review and summarize critical aspects of the alignment needed. Their domains:

  • Individual and community health goals as the orienting reference points for every decision and action.
  • Health financing and accountability that drives individual and community health and well- being.
  • Digital and data architecture enabling seamless, continuously improving services and new knowledge.
  • Inclusive, equitable systems as a national expectation, consciously reinforced every time, in every place.
  • Private investments in health that maximize returns to U.S. health status and economic productivity.

Each workstream will produce a background paper to inform Commissioners鈥 deliberation on opportunities and priorities for broad, cross-sector alignment. Each paper will: 1) summarize the challenges in the respective domain; 2) identify the relevant policy, programmatic, and cultural alignment levers available to remedy the performance shortfalls; and 3) assess the potential health and economic gains from achieving the workstream鈥檚 aim, as well as the costs of maintaining the status quo.

Based on consideration of these analyses, Commissioners will issue a report summarizing the findings across the work streams, highlighting the potential opportunities and consequences, and recommending priority actions for building cross-sector alignment that will lead to transformational health system performance improvement.

Partner coalitions on local leadership and communication

The NAM has also launched two organizational coalitions working alongside the Commission to support the Commission in the areas of community mobilization and public outreach.

Philanthropic Coalition for Community Mobilization: Local, state, and regional philanthropic organizations will provide input to the workstream assessments and a platform for infusing diverse community perspectives into strategies for cross-sector alignment for health. Coalition members will also facilitate local awareness and action on the Commission鈥檚 alignment recommendations, tailoring issues and approaches to their communities鈥 unique challenges, goals, and needs.

Communications Coalition: Organizations and individuals with deep experience in both traditional and cutting-edge messaging strategies will guide the Commission鈥檚 communications strategy and narrative- building on the critical importance of cross-sector alignment for health. This coalition will ensure that the Commission鈥檚 activities and findings are accessible to and resonate with key health system stakeholders, government officials, and the public to drive demand for change.

About the National Academy of Medicine and its Leadership Consortium

The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) works alongside the 极品白虎 (NAS) and the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) under the 1863 NAS charter authorized by President Lincoln to provide advice to the nation. The NAM Leadership Consortium provides a trusted venue for senior leaders of national public and private health, medicine, and biomedical science organizations to work cooperatively toward their common commitments to effective, innovative care that consistently adds value to patients and society.

At the outset of the pandemic in 2020, the NAM called on members of the Leadership Consortium to undertake a comprehensive, real-time assessment of COVID-19鈥檚 impact on and across nine health system sectors: clinicians; patients, families, and communities; care systems; payers; public health; quality, safety, and standards organizations; research; digital health; and health product manufacturers and innovators. The findings were released in the Fall 2022 in the NAM Special Publication, Emerging Stronger from COVID-19: Priorities for Health System Transformation. In addition to myriad sector-specific challenges, the work underscored the deep cross-cutting multi-sector impact of three challenges that impeded performance in every sector: systemic fragmentation, misaligned incentives, and structural inequities鈥攑lus a growing measure of distrust. To build on these learnings, the NAM assembled the Commission on Investment Imperatives for a Healthy Nation to identify opportunities and priorities for creating the broad, cross-sector alignment necessary to overcome these core health system fragilities and reverse the alarming consequences.

For media inquiries, contact:
Dana Korsen, Media Relations Director

(202) 334-2761

For questions about the initiative, email:

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