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Harvard Professor, IT Expert Named to Lead Commonwealth Fund

By CQ Staff

July 36, 2012 -- David Blumenthal, M.D., a professor at Harvard Medical School and President Obama’s former national coordinator for health information technology, will succeed Karen Davis as president of The Commonwealth Fund.

Blumenthal is currently the Samuel O. Thier Professor of Medicine at Harvard and chief health information and innovation officer at Partners Healthcare System in Boston.

He signs on to lead the Fund a little over a year after he agreed to chair Commonwealth’s Commission on a High Performance Health System. He has also been elected to the fund’s board of directors. Blumenthal will take over on Jan. 1 when Davis leaves after 20 years at the Fund.

In making the announcement, Commonwealth Fund board chairman James R. Tallon, Jr., said “We are extremely fortunate to have Dr. Blumenthal take the helm of the Fund at a crucial time in the drive to achieve a high performance health system. If the U.S. is to realize the triple aims of better health, better care, and lower cost, it will need over the next 10 years unstinting efforts by health policy and practice leaders like Dr. Blumenthal. He is ideally suited to carry forward The Commonwealth Fund’s significant role in advancing delivery and payment system changes that will improve system performance.”

Blumenthal was Obama’s health IT chief from 2009 to 2011. Before that he was a practicing primary care physician; director of the Institute for Health Policy; and professor of medicine and health policy at Massachusetts General Hospital/Partners Healthcare System and Harvard Medical School. He is the author of more than 250 books and scholarly publications, including most recently, “Heart of Power: Health and Politics in the Oval Office.” Blumenthal was an aide for the now-defunct Senate Subcommittee on Health and Scientific Research.

He received his undergraduate, medical, and public policy degrees from Harvard and completed his residency in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.

The Commonwealth Fund is a private foundation dedicated to improving the health care system.

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