Press Release

GAO Announces Appointments to New Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Board of Governors

WASHINGTON, DC (September 23, 2010) – Gene L. Dodaro, Acting Comptroller General of the United States and head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), today announced the appointment of 19 members to the Board of Governors for the new Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).

“The research to be developed by PCORI has the potential to improve the quality of health care for people across the nation,” Dodaro said. “This outstanding group of individuals brings an impressive range of knowledge, expertise and professional experience to this important initiative.”

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 established PCORI as a non-profit organization to assist patients, clinicians, purchasers, and policy-makers in making informed health decisions by carrying out research projects that provide quality, relevant evidence on how diseases, disorders, and other health conditions can effectively and appropriately be prevented, diagnosed, treated, monitored, and managed. The Act directs the Comptroller General to appoint 19 of the 21 members of the PCORI Board of Governors. In addition to these 19 members appointed today, the Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Director of the National Institutes of Health, or their designees, are the other two members who will serve on the PCORI Board. The Act also directs the Comptroller General to appoint not more than 15 members to a Methodology Committee of PCORI. A Federal Register notice calling for nominations to this Committee is expected to be issued by September 30th.

Members of the Board will be appointed for a six-year term and may be reappointed for one subsequent six-year term. The terms of the PCORI board members are staggered, with the first set of appointments made in September 2010 set at two, four, and six years.

Commissioners whose first term will expire in September 2016 are:

  • Eugene Washington, MD, MSc, Vice Chancellor, UCLA Health Sciences, and Dean, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles. Dr. Washington will serve as the chair of the PCORI Board of Governors.
  • Steven Lipstein, MHA, President and Chief Executive Officer, BJC Health Care, a non-profit health care delivery system. Mr. Lipstein will serve as the vice chair of the PCORI Board of Governors.
  • Christine Goertz, DC, PhD, Vice Chancellor for Research and Health Policy, Palmer College of Chiropractic and Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research.
  • Sharon Levine, MD, Associate Executive Director for The Permanente Medical Group of Northern California, a large multi-specialty group practice within Kaiser Permanente’s integrated delivery system.
  • Ellen Sigal, PhD, Chairperson and founder of Friends of Cancer Research, a cancer research think tank and advocacy organization.
  • Harlan Weisman, MD, Chief Science and Technology Officer, Medical Devices and Diagnostics, for Johnson & Johnson.
  • Robert Zwolak, MD, PhD, a vascular surgeon at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and professor of surgery at the Dartmouth Medical School.

Commissioners whose first term will expire in September 2014 are:

  • Lawrence Becker, Director, Strategic Partnerships and Alliances, Xerox Corporation.
  • Arnold Epstein, MD, the John H. Foster Professor and Chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management at Harvard University School of Public Health, and practicing internist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
  • Andrew Imparato, JD, President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Association of People with Disabilities.
  • Robert Jesse, MD, PhD, Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Health and National Program Director for Cardiology, Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • Freda Lewis-Hall, MD, Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President of the Pfizer Medical Division.
  • Grayson Norquist, MD, MSPH, Professor and Chairman, Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Commissioners whose first term will expire in September 2012 are:

  • Debra Barksdale, PhD, RN, Associate Professor, University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill School of Nursing.
  • Kerry Barnett, JD, Executive Vice President of Corporate Services and Chief Legal Officer, The Regence Group.
  • Allen Douma, MD, Chief Executive Officer of Empower, LLC, and a member of the AARP Board of Directors.
  • Leah Hole-Curry, JD, Program Director for the Health Technology Assessment (HTA) program, Washington State Health Care Authority.
  • Harlan Krumholz, MD, Harold H. Hines, Jr. Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology and Public Health at Yale University School of Medicine.
  • Richard E. Kuntz, MD, Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific, Clinical, and Regulatory Officer of Medtronic, Inc.

Attached are brief biographies of the new board members. The official announcement of the appointments will be published in the Federal Register. For more information contact Mary Giffin of GAO's Health Care team at 202-512-7114, or Chuck Young in GAO's Office of Public Affairs at (202) 512-4800, or visit the GAO Health Care Advisory Committees web page at www.gao.gov/about/hcac. The Act requires that in appointing the board, the Comptroller General “consider and disclose any conflicts of interest as defined by the Act” on GAO’s website. Please click here for more information.

The Comptroller General is required to “consider and disclose any conflicts of interest” as defined by the Act on GAO’s website. Please click here for a list of the Board member’s associations the Comptroller General has determined fit within the Act’s definition of a “conflict of interest.”


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The U.S. Government Accountability Office, known as the investigative arm of Congress, exists to support Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities. GAO also works to improve the performance of the federal government and ensure its accountability to the American people. The agency examines the use of public funds; evaluates federal programs and policies; and provides analyses, recommendations, and other data to help Congress make informed oversight, policy, and funding decisions. GAO's commitment to good government is reflected in its core values of accountability, integrity, and reliability.


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Following are brief biographies of the members of the PCORI Board of Governors:

Debra Barksdale, PhD, RN, is Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill School of Nursing in Chapel Hill, NC. She is a researcher, certified nurse practitioner, and educator. Her research program focuses on psychological and physical stress, coping, and cardiovascular responses in African-Americans. She is also a research fellow of the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and a member of the Center’s Prevention Steering Committee. She is President-elect of the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculty, a Fellow of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, and a volunteer family nurse practitioner in a clinic for the homeless. She received a BS in nursing from the University of Virginia, a masters in nursing from Howard University, a post-masters in teaching from the University of Pennsylvania, and a PhD in Nursing Research from the University of Michigan.

Kerry Barnett, JD, is Executive Vice President of Corporate Services and Chief Legal Officer of The Regence Group, an affiliation of four not-for-profit Blue Cross/BlueShield plans, based in Portland, OR. Prior to joining Regence, he was Senior Vice President for Medical Services with ODS Health Plans and Chief Executive Officer of HealthFirst Medical Group, PC. He also served as Oregon’s state insurance commissioner and as the governor's legal counsel and senior policy advisor. He is on the Public Policy Committee and on the Strategic Communications Advisory Council of America's Health Insurance Plans. He also serves on the Legal Division Co-op Board of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. He received a BA in English from the University of Rochester and a JD from Yale Law School.

Lawrence Becker is Director of Strategic Partnerships and Alliances for Xerox Corporation in Rochester, NY, and is responsible for Global HR Vendor Optimization. He is also Chairman of the Plan Administration Committee for Xerox’s ERISA plans. Since joining Xerox, he has served in several capacities in the benefits, compensation, technology, and operations arenas including as director of benefits. He previously served as vice president of human resources for Baltimore Bancorp and worked for Formica Corporation, Exxon Corporation, and American Can Company in a variety of roles. He is a member of the Executive Board of ERIC (ERISA Industry Council), a member of the Board of Directors and Finance and Audit Committee of the National Quality Forum (NQF) as well as the NQF Steering Committee on Measuring Efficiency across Patient-Focused Episodes of Care. Additionally, he was a member of the Quality Alliance Steering Committee Expansion Workgroup commissioned by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. He is a board member of the Rochester Regional Health Information Operation. He received a BS from Cornell University’s Industrial and Labor Relations School.

Allen Douma, MD, is Chief Executive Officer of Empower, LLC, in Ashland, OR, and a member of the AARP Board of Directors. Previously, he served as assistant director of the Oregon Department of Human Services, chief executive officer of Health Responsibility Systems, medical director for Hartford and Travelers Insurance Cos., assistant professor of CME at George Washington University, and director of Health Education for the American Medical Association. He serves on AARP’s Member and Social Impact Committee and the AARP Insurance Trust. He currently serves on the Boards of the Jefferson Regional Health Alliance and PRS Affordable Housing. He was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation clinical scholar. He received a BES (engineering science) from The Johns Hopkins University and a MD from the Medical College of Virginia.

Arnold Epstein, MD, is the John H. Foster Professor and Chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management at Harvard University School of Public Health in Boston, MA. He is a practicing internist in the Department of Medicine at the Brigham and Women's Hospital. His research interests focus on quality of care and access to care for disadvantaged populations. Recently, his efforts have focused on public reporting of quality performance data, racial and ethnic disparities in care, and policy changes that affect the quality and efficiency of hospital care. He was vice chair of the Institute of Medicine Committee on Developing a National Report on Health Care Quality. He also served as chairman of the board of AcademyHealth. He was Co-chair of the Performance Measurement Coordinating Council of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, the National Committee on Quality Assurance, and the American Medical Association. He is Associate Editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, is a member of the Institute of Medicine, and has served on several editorial boards including Health Services Research and the Annals of Internal Medicine. He received a BA from the University of Rochester, a masters in political science from Harvard, a BMS from Dartmouth Medical School and a MD from Duke University.

Christine Goertz, DC, PhD, is Vice Chancellor for Research and Health Policy at Palmer College of Chiropractic and Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research in Davenport, IA, where her research focuses on quality of outcomes for patients and the importance of provider collaboration in providing high-quality health care. Her work is focused on sub-acute and chronic lower back pain in adult populations. For over 20 years, she has addressed multidisciplinary science and health policy issues at the state and federal levels, serving as a member of the American Medical Association’s Measures Implementation and Evaluation Advisory Committee, Chair of the American Chiropractic Association’s Performance Measurement Task Force, and a program officer of the NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine managing a portfolio focused on musculoskeletal disease, pain and health services research. She is a Fellow of the International College of Chiropractors. She received her doctor of chiropractic from Northwestern Health Sciences University and a PhD in Health Services Research Policy and Administration from the University of Minnesota.

Leah Hole-Curry, JD, is the Program Director for the Health Technology Assessment (HTA) program of the Washington State Health Care Authority in Olympia, WA. This program relies on partnerships with public and private sector entities to ensure that medical treatments and services paid for with state health care dollars are safe and proven to work. HTA takes suggestions from state agency directors, and patient, physician and health industry groups regarding services for evaluation, and engages independent and impartial research firms to review evidence about safety and effectiveness of these services. Ms. Hole-Curry has also led efforts to encourage patients and providers to use reliable clinical information to enhance the quality and safety of patient care. She served on the governing committee of the Medicaid Evidence-based Decisions Project at the Center for Evidence-based Policy at Oregon Health and Science University. She received a BA from Evergreen State College and a JD from Seattle University.

Andrew Imparato, JD, is President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), Washington, DC, a national, nonpartisan membership organization of people with disabilities, their family members and supporters. Prior to joining AAPD, he served as general counsel and director of policy for the National Council on Disability, an independent agency advising the President and Congress. He also served as a special assistant to the Commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Counsel to the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Disability Policy, and staff attorney at the Disability Law Center. He received a BA from Yale University and a JD from Stanford University Law School.

Robert Jesse, MD, PhD, is the Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Health, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in Washington, DC. He leads clinical policies and programs for VA, the Nation’s largest integrated health care system. He is Professor of Internal Medicine and Cardiology at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. He has extensive experience in comparative effectiveness, cardiology, cancer, and biochemical research. Previously, he was Chief Consultant for Medical Surgical Services in VA’s Office of Patient Care Services where he was instrumental in implementing broad reforms in the delivery of specialty, sub-specialty and emergency care. Dr. Jesse received his BS in Biochemistry from the University of New Hampshire and a PhD in Biophysics and MD at the Medical College of Virginia.

Harlan Krumholz, MD, is the Harold H. Hines, Jr. Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology and Public Health at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, CT, and is a practicing cardiologist. He serves as Director of the Yale-New Haven Hospital Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation (CORE) and as Director of the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program at Yale. His work in outcomes research focuses on determining optimal clinical strategies and improving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the American College of Cardiology and on the Board of Directors of the American Board of Internal Medicine and is a member of the Association of American Physicians, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, and the Institute of Medicine. He received a BS from Yale, a masters in Health Policy and Management from the Harvard University School of Public Health and a MD from Harvard Medical School.

Richard E. Kuntz, MD, MSc, is Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific, Clinical, and Regulatory Officer of Medtronic, Inc. in Minneapolis, MN. Prior to joining Medtronic, he was the founder and Chief Scientific Officer of the Harvard Clinical Research Institute, a university-based contract research organization which coordinates National Institutes of Health and industry clinical trials with the United States Food and Drug Administration. His major interests are traditional and alternative clinical trial design and biostatistics. He also served as Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Chief of the Division of Clinical Biometrics, and an interventional cardiologist in the division of cardiovascular diseases at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA. He received a BA from Miami University, a masters in biostatistics from the Harvard University School of Public Health and a MD from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

Sharon Levine, MD, is Associate Executive Director for The Permanente Medical Group of Northern California; a large multi-specialty group practice in Oakland, CA within Kaiser Permanente’s integrated delivery system. A board-certified pediatrician, she has held multiple leadership roles with this group practice including Chief of Pediatrics. She held academic appointments at both Tufts University and Georgetown University Schools of Medicine and spent two years as a clinical associate researching infant nutrition at the National Institutes of Health’s Institute of Child Health and Human Development. She is a board member of the Reagan-Udall Foundation, Integrated Healthcare Association, and the Public Health Institute of California, and member of the California Medical Board. She is an adjunct associate for the Center for Health Policy/Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research at Stanford University. She received a BA from Radcliffe College at Harvard University and a MD from Tufts University School of Medicine.

Freda Lewis-Hall, MD, is Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for Pfizer Inc., in New York City, NY, where she leads the Pfizer Medical division, responsible for ensuring the safe and effective use of Pfizer medicines, including regulatory and safety strategy and operations, medical information and medical affairs, and quality assurance. She was formerly Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President of Medicines Development at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Vice President of Research and Development at Pharmacia Corp., and product team leader at Eli Lilly and Co., where she founded the Lilly Center for Women's Health. Dr. Lewis-Hall served previously as a special advisor to the National Institutes of Mental Health, focusing on outreach and patient education for minority Americans. She was formerly Vice Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Howard University College of Medicine and member of the American Psychiatric Association Foundation Board. She currently is a Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine, and serves on the boards of the Foundation of the National Institutes of Health and the Society for the Advancement of Women’s Health Research. She received a BA from The Johns Hopkins University and a MD from Howard University College of Medicine.

Steven Lipstein, MHA, (vice chair) is President and Chief Executive Officer of BJC Health Care in St. Louis, MO. Prior to joining BJC in 1999, he served as Executive Vice President at the University of Chicago Hospitals and Health System and held executive positions in the Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System. He serves on the St. Louis Regional Health Commission and on the boards of Washington University in St. Louis and the Missouri Hospital Association. In addition, he is a member of the Board of Directors for the American Association of Medical Colleges, serving as chair of the Council of Teaching Hospitals and chair of the Medicare/Medicaid Special Action Committee. He also serves as chair of the Eighth District Federal Reserve Bank. He received a BA from Emory University and a masters in health administration from Duke University.

Grayson Norquist, MD, MSPH, is Professor and Chairman, Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, MS. His research focuses on the use of telemedicine to reduce disparities in mental health treatment for those living in the Delta region in Mississippi and to improve the quality of care they receive at local community health centers. He served in a number of leadership positions at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), including Director of the Division of Services and Intervention Research, a division responsible for clinical, prevention and services research at NIMH. He was an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University. He is on the editorial board of Psychiatric Services, served on the editorial board of the Archives of General Psychiatry and the Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics and received various national government and public awards, including the NIH Director's Award, the NIH Special Service Award, and the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill Exemplary Psychiatrist Award. He received a BA from the University of Mississippi, a masters in public health from the UCLA School of Public Health and a MD from the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Ellen Sigal, PhD, is Chairperson and founder of Friends of Cancer Research, a cancer research think tank and advocacy organization in Arlington, VA. During the last twenty years, she has been an advocate for finding new and better treatments for patients through advancing science and research. She has served on the National Cancer Institute Board of Scientific Advisors and the National Institutes of Health Director’s Council of Public Representatives. She was a presidential appointee to the National Cancer Advisory Board where she chaired the Budget and Planning Committee that oversees the federal cancer budget. She is currently Vice-chair of the Board of Directors of the Reagan-Udall Foundation for the FDA and Chair of the Public-private Partnerships Committee of the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health. She is a board member of the American Association of Cancer Research Foundation and Duke University Cancer Center. She received a BA and masters from Brooklyn College and a PhD from Rutgers.

Eugene Washington, MD, MSc, (chair) is the Vice Chancellor of UCLA Health Sciences and Dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California Los Angeles in Los Angeles, CA. His major areas of research have focused on assessing medical technologies and national health policy, and have included prenatal genetic testing, cervical cancer screening and prevention, quality of health care, and racial/ethnic disparities in health outcomes. Prior to joining UCLA, he served as Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost and Professor of Gynecology, Epidemiology, and Health Policy at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). He served as chair of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at UCSF; director of the UCSF Women’s Reproductive Health Research Career Development Center; and co-founder and director of UCSF’s Medical Effectiveness Research Center for Diverse Populations. He also co-founded the UCSF-Stanford Evidence-based Practice Center and served as its first director. He worked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the U.S. Public Health Service and received the Outstanding Service Medal from the U.S. Public Health Service. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine. He received a BS from Howard University, a MD from the UCSF School of Medicine, a MPH from the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health, and a MSc from the Harvard University School of Public Health.

Harlan Weisman, MD, is the Chief Science and Technology Officer, Medical Devices and Diagnostics, for Johnson & Johnson in New Brunswick, NJ. He is responsible for guiding the Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices and Diagnostics Group’s scientific and technical efforts. He has held several other positions including President of Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development. He was Assistant Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a consultant cardiologist and Director of the Experimental Cardiac Pathology Laboratory at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology, the American College of Chest Physicians and the American Heart Association’s Councils on Clinical Cardiology and on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. He received a BA from the University of Maryland and a MD from the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Robert Zwolak, MD, PhD, is a vascular surgeon at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH and professor of surgery at the Dartmouth Medical School. He is also Chief of Surgery at the White River Junction Veterans Administration Medical Center in White River Junction, VT, and director of the Non-invasive Vascular Laboratory. He has a special interest in health care policy issues as they relate to vascular surgery and has been instrumental in working with the Society for Vascular Surgery to create a data registry and form a comparative effectiveness committee. Currently serving as President of the Society for Vascular Surgery, he has held other positions of leadership including governor of the American College of Surgeons, president of the New England Society for Vascular Surgery, and member of the Society for Vascular Surgery Board of Directors. He served on the AMA/Specialty Society Relative Value Update Committee. He received a BS from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a PhD in molecular biology and pathology and a MD from Albany Medical College.