If there is an Ernest Amory Codman of the past 30 years, a likely candidate would be physician Donald Berwick. In fact, in 1999, Berwick was given the annual Codman Award by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations in recognition of his work in quality improvement, a field Codman pioneered in the first half of the 20th century.
Awards and achievements have both come aplenty for Berwick, a summa cum laude graduate of Harvard College and a cum laude graduate of Harvard Medical School who also holds a master's degree in public policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. In 1989, he authored "Continuous improvement as an ideal in healthcare," published in the New England Journal of Medicine, that has become a seminal article in the quality improvement movement, advocating the application to healthcare of quality improvement techniques used in other industries.
Since 1991, Berwick has served as co-founder, president and chief at Los Angeles, has been asked to proffer his expertise on about a dozen key advisory boards on healthcare and other issues. He was appointed by President Clinton to the National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare and was the first chairman of the Prospective Payment Assessment Commission, the panel formed in 1984 to advise Congress on the Medicare payment system and a predecessor to today's Medicare Payment Advisory Commission. He was also a senior member of the Clinton-Gore health policy transition team after their election in 1992.