Health policy expert and former commissioner of the New York State Health Department Mark Chassin has been appointed to replace Dennis OLeary as president of the Joint Commission effective Jan. 1, 2008, the commission board announced.
Chassin, 60, is a professor of health policy and chairman of the health policy department at New York Citys Mount Sinai School of Medicine. According to a Joint Commission news release, Chassins area of research for 12 years has been developing healthcare quality measures, using those measures in quality improvement, and understanding the relationship of quality measurement and improvement to health policy. His research has recently expanded to include intervention trials geared toward reducing racial and ethnic disparities in health and healthcare.
The head of the Joint Commission has always been a physician and that will continue with Chassin, an internist who practiced emergency medicine for 12 years. OLeary, the current president is an internist and hematologist who has led the Joint Commission for 21 years. He will be given the title of president emeritus on Jan. 1, 2008, and Joint Commission Chief Communications Officer Cathy Barry-Ipema said it will be an unpaid position.
At a news conference this afternoon, commission officials said Chassin was uniquely qualified to be president of the organization and that his background and experience suggest that he had been preparing for the job his entire career.
Chassin noted that OLeary has left him a solid foundation to build on and that it was his goal to accelerate improvement in healthcare in a major way.
On May 31, 2006, OLeary announced he would retire at the end of 2007, and he expressed a desire to have a six-month transition period between him and his replacement. With todays announcement of Chassins appointment, the Joint Commission now has five months to make the transition in leadership. -- by Andis Robeznieks
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