Health policy expert and former commissioner of the New York State Health Department Mark Chassin, M.D., was appointed to replace Dennis O'Leary, M.D., as president of the Joint Commission effective Jan. 1, 2008, the commission board announced Aug. 1. Chassin, 60, is a professor of health policy and chairman of the health policy department at New York City's Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
According to a Joint Commission news release, Chassin's 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. O'Leary, the current president, is an internist and hematologist who has led the Joint Commission for 21 years. He will be given the title president emeritus on Jan. 1, 2008, and it will be an unpaid position, according to Joint Commission Chief Communications Officer Cathy Barry-Ipema. On May 31, 2006, O'Leary, 69, 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 the announcement of Chassin's appointment, the Joint Commission now has five months to make the transition in leadership.