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Robyn Y. Nishimi

Chief Operating Officer, National Quality Forum

In October 1999, Dr. Nishimi joined the National Quality Forum (NQF) as chief operating officer. The National Quality Forum is a private, nonprofit, membership organization whose mission is to improve health care through measurement and public accountability. Prior to joining NQF, Dr. Nishimi served as chief of staff for the U.S. Veterans Health Administration. In this role she served as the principal policy, public affairs, and administrative advisor to the CEO of the nation's largest integrated health care provider, with budget in excess of $20 billion, employing more than 180,000 FTE and operating more than 1,200 facilities. In 1995-1997, Dr. Nishimi served as the executive director of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses. The Committee's work, undertaken on behalf of the President and Secretaries of Veterans Affairs, Defense, and Health and Human Services, culminated in three major documents with recommendations to improve the government's programs and policies related to the medical care of, research for, and outreach to Gulf War veterans, as well as the government's post-War investigations of chemical and biological weapons incidents during the Gulf War. Dr. Nishimi came to the Presidential Advisory Committee from the congressional Office of Technology Assessment (OTA), where she had been a senior associate and project director. At OTA for nearly 10 years, she directed or contributed to 13 policy reports in bioethics, human genetics and biomedical research and biotechnology. Among her professional activities, Dr. Nishimi serves on the National Academy of Sciences' Institutional Review Board and panels focused on health care quality disparities and health care quality improvement and informed consent/research ethics. She has also served on the Board of Directors, American Association of Bioethics (now American Society for Bioethics and Humanities), the Bioethics Task Force for the Review of NASA's Human Research Subject Protections, and numerous advisory boards or committees related to the ethical, legal and social implications of the Human Genome Project. She has testified before Congress at several hearings focusing on human subjects protection, bioethics, and new genetic technologies. A native of California, Dr. Nishimi holds degrees from the University of California, Davis (B.S., magna cum laude, 1978, genetics) and the University of California, Irvine, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics (Ph.D., 1984), where she was a University of California Regent's Fellow and recipient of a grant from the Chancellor's Patent Fund.