Stephen Shortell, a professor of health policy and management and dean emeritus at the University of California Berkeley's School of Public Health, likes solving problems, from the pages of the detective books he reads to his decades-long career in health policy research.
Trying to figure out ways to improve healthcare performance and delivery for a living, Shortell said, “is even better than being a detective.”
“You get to commit your own crimes and then solve them,” he said. “I’m a very curious person. I like to find out things. I like to have an impact.”
And made an impact he has.
For his contributions to advancing new ways of thinking in the industry, Shortell is being inducted into Modern Healthcare’s Health Care Hall of Fame.
Those in the industry say Shortell’s fingerprints are on countless innovations in the healthcare organizational space. From his voluminous writings on healthcare performance to his work on integrated care delivery systems that influenced the accountable care concept in the Affordable Care Act, and the many students he’s mentored who make up new generations of health policy researchers, Shortell “has been everywhere doing (and) leading, important, widely read and used work,” said Tom Rundall, the Henry J. Kaiser Professor of Organized Health Systems Emeritus at Berkeley and a co-director, with Shortell, of the university’s Center for Lean Engagement and Research.
“He is one of the truly elite health services scholars over the last 50 years,” Rundall said.
The late Bernard Tyson, former chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente and the 2020 Hall of Fame inductee, in a nomination letter in 2019, said Shortell has “always moved the needle.”
“His research—always timely and relevant—has helped to influence real change in the industry,” Tyson wrote in the letter.
Named to the National Academy of Medicine in 1986 at age 42
Awarded Baxter Health Services Research Prize in 1995
Awarded American Hospital Association/Health Research & Educational Trust's TRUST Leadership Award in 2015
"Strategic Choices for America's Hospitals: Managing Change in Turbulent Times" named the Academy of Management's George R. Terry Book of the Year in 1990
Behavioral science, University of Chicago, 1972
Business administration, University of Chicago, 1970
Hospital administration/public health, University of California at Los Angeles, 1968
Business administration, University of Notre Dame, 1966