Physicians, Patients, and Cultural Change Agents To Deliver Healthcare Vision Beyond the Laboratory
Dr. Berwick's look inside the healthcare system reinforced his career choice. Personal experiences of care for himself and his family have steadily deepened his passion for improving inefficiencies and reducing high costs.
Circumstances forced Donald Berwick, MD, to look beyond the ordinary and become a healthcare proponent for transformative change. Beginning as a pediatrician and healthcare researcher at the Harvard School for Public Health, he rose to become Vice President of the Harvard Community Health Plan. In that position, Dr. Berwick explored how healthcare organizations could adapt more efficient processes to allow for continuous improvement and ongoing cost reduction from management wizards such as W. Edwards Deming and organizations like Toyota.
From there, he co-founded and then for 19 years spearheaded the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), which was devoted to helping organizations all over the world apply these principles to health care. The desired outcome would be achieving what IHI calls the "Triple Aim": better care for patients, better health for populations, and lower per capita healthcare costs. In 2010, President Barack Obama appointed Dr. Berwick as Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, responsible for the coverage of more than 100,000 Americans. Personal experiences of care for himself and his family have steadily deepened his passion for improving inefficiencies and reducing high costs. Like Dr. Berwick, Ashley Judd, Laura Bush, Barbara Bush, and Giuliana and Bill Rancic, the distinguished general session speakers at the 2012 ASCP Annual Meeting, Oct. 31–Nov. 3, in Boston, have had personal and professional revelations that have turned them into truly engaged advocates for access to high-quality health care to patients worldwide.
"At the same time that ASCP is bringing together the foremost experts in pathology and laboratory medicine who diagnose and cure cancer and other diseases, we want to show the global perspective of patient-centric care beyond the laboratory," said C. Bruce Alexander, MD, FASCP, ASCP President. "As pathologists and laboratory professionals, we perform patient-centered care every day. However, we need to remind ourselves about why we care for patients and how much difference our commitment to excellence makes to patients here and abroad."
"Dr. Donald Berwick, Ashley Judd, Laura Bush, Barbara Bush, and Giuliana and Bill Rancic have turned their visions of a better world into plans of action. They are cultural change agents who are changing how we think about global health care. Their actions inspire change in physicians and patients here and abroad."
– Dr. Blair Holladay,
ASCP Executive Vice President
When the actress and humanitarian Ashley Judd became a global ambassador and later Board of Directors member for YouthAIDS, she realized firsthand the scope and devastation of the disease on people in countries such as Kenya, Rwanda, and Cambodia. Strongly motivated by what she has seen of disease and poverty, Ms. Judd has become an advocate for a balanced and integrated approach to empower human rights and global health, as well as the prevention of social atrocities.
Since the launch of Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, Laura Bush has promoted efforts to include cervical cancer testing and treatment for women receiving antiviral drugs for AIDS through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon has set a five-year goal to reduce deaths by cervical cancer by 25 percent among women screened and tested. Empathic like her mother, Barbara Bush founded Global Health Corps to pair talented young professionals from the United States and abroad to work in year-long fellowships with organizations such as the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative and Partners In Health to serve people in poor communities in East Africa and the United States. The Fellows work in teams of two to promote cross-cultural awareness and understanding for the delivery of quality health care to people throughout the world.
When Giuliana Rancic was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer, she made the difficult decision to have a double mastectomy based on the diagnosis of her type of breast cancer. Bill Rancic supported his wife's decision to "live and be healthy." The couple discuss how they coped with this difficult diagnosis and urge women to be proactive about their health.
"Dr. Donald Berwick, Ashley Judd, Laura Bush, Barbara Bush, and Giuliana and Bill Rancic have turned their visions of a better world into plans of action," said Dr. Blair Holladay, ASCP Executive Vice President. "They are cultural change agents who are changing how we think about global health care. Their actions inspire change in physicians and patients here and abroad. Likewise, ASCP is involved in changing perceptions about pathologists and laboratory professionals among other clinicians and patients worldwide, and in improving patient care throughout the world."