Speaker Biography
George J. Isham, MD, MS
Chief Health Officer and Plan Medical Director
Health Partners
In his role as Chief Health Officer, Dr. Isham is responsible for health promotion and disease prevention, research, and health professionals’ education. He is also responsible for the health dimension of HealthPartners’ strategic plan and is active in state and national health policy issues. As plan Medical Director, he is responsible for quality and utilization management for HealthPartners Health Plan. He is a founding board member of the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement, a collaborative of Twin Cities medical groups and health plans that is implementing clinical practice guidelines in Minnesota. Dr. Isham has recently co-chaired of a legislatively mandated State of Minnesota Health Care Reform Task Force that defined a number of episodes of care for use in Minnesota Payment reform. Dr. Isham provides leadership to other care delivery systems through service on the board of directors for Presbyterian Health Services in Albuquerque, NM and the External Advisory board of the Marshfield Clinic in Marshfield, WI.

Dr. Isham is active nationally as a member of the board of directors of the American’s Health Insurance Plans, the Alliance of Community Health Plans, the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Care, and Bridges to Excellence. He is past co-chair and current member of the National Committee for Quality Assurance’s (NCQA) Committee on Performance Measurement which oversees the Health Plan quality measurement standards and currently chairs the NCQA’s committee on Physician Recognition Programs. He is a member of the National Priority Partners effort convened by the National Quality Forum, chairing the population health workgroup of that effort. He has served on the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Task Force on Community Preventive Services, on the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ) Advisory Board for the National Guideline Clearinghouse and currently is a member of the US Task Force on Clinical Preventive Services. He currently serves on the advisory board for the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review at Harvard.

Dr. Isham has served on the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice and chaired the IOM committees that authored the reports Priority Areas for National Action, Transforming Health Care Quality and The State of the USA Health Indicators. Dr. Isham currently chairs the IOM Roundtable on Health Literacy. He was invited to present the Institute of Medicine’s Rosenthal Lecture for 2005 on “Next Steps toward Higher Quality Health Care.” In addition, he has served on a number of committees, has presented to a number of workshops, and served as a reviewer of reports and workshop proceedings. In 2003 Dr. Isham was appointed as a lifetime National Associate of the National Academies of Science in recognition of his contributions to the work of the Institute of Medicine.

Epidemic of Care, published in April 2003, with co-author George Halvorson, is Dr. Isham’s examination of the impending health care crisis with suggestions on ways to solve it. Dr. Isham is frequently asked to present on topics related to improving quality of care and Health and is often quoted in local and national media.

Prior to his current position, Dr. Isham was medical director for MedCenters Health Plan in Minneapolis and executive director for University Health Care, Inc., in Madison, Wisconsin. His practice experience as a primary care physician included eight years at the Freeport Clinic in Freeport, Illinois, and three and one-half years as clinical assistant professor in Medicine at the University of Wisconsin.

Bachelor of Arts in Zoology and Master of Science in preventive medicine/administrative medicine, University of Wisconsin Madison; Doctor of Medicine, University of Illinois; internship and residency in internal medicine, University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, Madison, Wisconsin.

Married with two children