News Release

Brookings Launches Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform

The Brookings Institution announced today the creation of the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform and the appointment of Brookings Senior Fellow Mark B. McClellan MD, PhD, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration and administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as the center’s founding director. The Engelberg Center will address the challenges of access, quality and finance facing the U.S. health care system and it will seek to effect lasting change by providing practical solutions that result in high-quality, innovative, affordable health care.

“The Engelberg Center is one of the timeliest and most ambitious ventures we have ever undertaken at Brookings,” said Strobe Talbott, president of Brookings,” and in Mark McClellan, it has the best leadership imaginable. He brings to the position of founding director the experience of a distinguished career in public service combined with an extensive academic background in both health policy and economics.”

The creation of the center has been made possible by the generous support of two Brookings trustees, Alfred B. Engelberg and Leonard D. Schaeffer. A grant from The Engelberg Foundation will underwrite the center’s operational activities during the first five years. In addition, an endowment gift will establish the Leonard D. Schaeffer Director’s Chair, to which Dr. McClellan has been appointed.

Mr. Engelberg noted that he expected the center to make a major contribution to the actual implementation of changes affecting the costs and quality of health care. “Mark McClellan’s proven ability to create and implement important health care reforms, combined with Brookings’s long history of thoughtful impact on public policy has the potential to make a real difference in the steps that are taken to fix our broken health care system,” said Mr. Engelberg.

“The time has come to develop and enact reforms that enhance cost control, clinical effectiveness, access to health care for underserved populations and the preparation for and management of public health crises,” Mr. Schaeffer said. “As the focus on health care reform increases, the center will prove to be a powerful force in shaping health policy.”

The Engelberg Center’s agenda will focus on four key priorities for long-term change: improving the quality of medical care; increasing access to affordable coverage; encouraging rapid and effective innovation for the development of more personalized medicines; and reducing costs for public and private programs.

“The American public wants action, not just more discussions and more studies,” Dr. McClellan said today. “There are myriad health policy ideas, but real challenges arise in turning them into better health care. The Engelberg Center will focus on collaborative efforts to put good policy ideas into action and achieve real change in our nation’s health care system.”

The center will work closely with a broad range of public and private organizations to implement policy on the national, state and local levels. An initial partnership will aim to achieve widespread use of consistent and valid quality and cost measures, to improve the value of healthcare and facilitate better-informed decisions by patients and doctors. This partnership will be funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and will enhance the ground-breaking work of the Quality Alliance Steering Committee, a consortium of public and private stakeholders.

The center will draw on scholars across Brookings as well as academic leaders. One such collaboration is with the Dartmouth Center for Healthcare Policy Research and Reform, headed by Dr. Elliott Fisher, MD, MPH. Through the center’s Dartmouth Atlas Project (DAP), which uses comprehensive research about how medical resources are distributed and used in the United States, Drs. McClellan and Fisher and colleagues will use their findings to help implement policies that reduce the cost and raise the quality of medical care.

As director of the Engelberg Center, Dr. McClellan will draw on his extensive policy and academic background. Following his departure from CMS, Dr. McClellan joined the AEI-Brookings Joint Center for Regulatory Studies as a visiting senior fellow in October 2006 and was recently named a senior fellow at Brookings. During his tenure in public service, Dr. McClellan built a reputation for developing effective policy and putting it into action, through such efforts as the implementation of the Medicare prescription drug benefit and innovative state coverage reforms in Medicaid at CMS, and the launch of FDA’s Critical Path Initiative to modernize the drug development process. He also served as a member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers and a senior director for health care policy in the White House from 2001-2002, and as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy from 1998-1999. Dr. McClellan has been a tenured professor of Economics and of Medicine at Stanford University, where he also served as Director of Stanford’s Program on Health Outcomes Research. Dr. McClellan is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, has twice won the Arrow Award for outstanding research in health economics, and has been a practicing internist.

More information on the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform and current projects underway can be found at www.brookings.edu/healthreform.

About Brookings

The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit organization devoted to independent research and policy solutions. Its mission is to conduct high-quality, independent research and, based on that research, to provide innovative, practical recommendations for policymakers and the public.