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Donald Berwick


Donald M. Berwick

Doctor of Science (honoris causa)

Mr. President, I have the honor of presenting Donald M. Berwick, a distinguished physician, expert on health care delivery, social change entrepreneur, and public servant.

Dr. Berwick, you have devoted your career to caring for people’s health — both your individual patients and all of us who use health care services. You began your career as a pediatrician at the Harvard Community Health Plan and served as its first Vice President of Quality-of-Care Measurement. As a member of the faculty at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health, you have taught and written extensively on health care policy and health care quality management.

Two decades ago you co-founded the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and built IHI into a dynamic force for the “Triple Aim” of improving the health of the population, enhancing quality, access, and reliability of health care for patients, and controlling or even reducing the cost of care. You became America’s leading champion for using research-based evidence to improve our health care.

You have consistently brought both rational precision and an appropriate sense of urgency to your examination of our health care system. You famously said, “Some is not a number. Soon is not a time.”

When President Obama called on you to serve as the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, you accepted the challenge despite the rancorous, partisan, and polarized climate that pervades our nation’s public life. Because of that climate, your service in Washington was regrettably brief, but you nonetheless shone a light on the many ways our current health care system falls short and must be improved in the interest of both our physical health and the health of our economy.

Don Berwick, your career is a sterling example of how careful research, analysis, evaluation, and advocacy can improve practice and policy to the benefit of us all.

Mr. President, on behalf of the Trustees, faculty, students and staff of Clark University, it is my privilege to request that the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa, be conferred on Dr. Donald M. Berwick.