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Kenneth W. Kizer, MD, MPH - Chairman (Lead Independent Director)

An internationally recognized healthcare thought leader and advocate of information technology as an enabler for improving healthcare safety and quality, Dr. Kizer is currently the director of the Institute for Population Health Improvement at the University of California, Davis, as well as a distinguished professor at the UC Davis School of Medicine and the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing. Dr. Kizer served as president and CEO of Medsphere for several years, retiring in October 2007, and he continues as company chairman, a position he has held since Medsphere was founded in 2002. 

Prior to joining Medsphere, Dr. Kizer served for six years as the founding president and CEO of the National Quality Forum in Washington, D.C., a nonprofit dedicated to improving American healthcare through endorsement of national voluntary consensus standards for measuring and reporting healthcare quality. Established in 1999, pursuant to a recommendation of a presidential commission, Dr. Kizer took the commission’s uncertain idea and developed NQF into a unique public-private partnership of 300-plus organizations.

Dr. Kizer’s professional experience includes both public and private sector service. From 1994 through 1999, he served as under secretary for health in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). As the highest ranking physician in the federal government and chief executive of the nation's largest healthcare system—with a $22B budget, 200,000-plus employees and more than 1100 care delivery sites—Dr. Kizer is widely credited with architecting and driving the greatest transformation of VA healthcare since the system was created in 1946. He led the largest electronic health record implementation in U.S. history and pioneered several major IT innovations during his VA tenure.

Dr. Kizer also served as director of the California Department of Health Services and as the state's top health official for many years prior to joining the VA. Earlier in his career, he was chief of public health and director of emergency medical services for California.

Over the years, Dr. Kizer has served on many boards, including those of Health Systems International, Inc., (HSI), a global provider of outsourced medical cost management solutions to healthcare payers and provider networks, and Trinity Health, the nation's fourth largest Catholic health system. He has served on the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and on the boards of numerous professional associations and non-profit organizations, including as chairman of the board of The California Wellness Foundation, a healthcare conversion foundation with assets of over $1B.  He has held senior academic positions at UC Davis and the University of Southern California. He was in both private and academic practice of emergency medicine for over fifteen years, and was a private consultant in medical toxicology and environmental medicine for much of that time. He has been an adviser to numerous foreign countries and other entities.

Dr. Kizer is a member the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, and was recently elected to the National Academy of Public Administration. He is a Certified Health Care Executive and a Distinguished Fellow of the American College of Physician Executives, as well as a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians, the American College of Preventive Medicine, the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the American College of Medical Toxicology, the American Academy of Clinical Toxicology, the American Academy of Medical Administrators, the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health and the Royal Society of Medicine. He is also a Fellow National of the International Explorer’s Club, a founding member of the international Wilderness Medical Society, a former U.S. Navy diver, and a nationally recognized expert on diving and aquatic sports medicine.

An honors graduate of Stanford University and the University of California, Los Angeles, Dr. Kizer is board-certified in six medical specialties or sub-specialties, and has authored more than 400 original articles, book chapters and other reports. He is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha National Honor Medical Society, the Delta Omega National Honorary Public Health Society.

A popular speaker and much sought after consultant, Dr. Kizer has been repeatedly named one of the "100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare" (Modern Healthcare), and featured in Time, BusinessWeek, Fortune and numerous other media.

Click on this link to read Dr. Kizer's October 6, 2010, testimony to the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs regarding the use of VistA and its broader application to healthcare in general.