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The Gateway to Higher Education


Sitting on both human rights and medical organisations' boards
Howard Hiatt Physician
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I was, for several years, on the board of Physicians for Human Rights, an organization that has identified human rights problems in countries around the world. The organization was very much involved in the problems in Bosnia and Serbia. It is now heavily involved in Darfur and seeks to call attention to the problems there and to help people to the extent that the organization can by calling attention to the difficulties.

Don Berwick, whom I mentioned in conjunction with his work at the School of Public Health, established a non-profit organization called the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in the early 90s, an organization that has made quality issues its primary concern and has, using Don's genius for identifying people who have addressed a given problem in the realm of medical care, and have succeeded in solving it or ameliorating it effectively, of taking that finding, or those findings, and generalizing them to other institutions that are receptive to them. As a result - and he's done that not only in the United States, but in the UK and throughout Europe - it's been an extremely successful enterprise. I mentioned earlier the campaign to save 100,000 lives in this country and Don has really encouraged that kind of activity elsewhere.

Recently Don has become involved, but has been come interested, well, he's always been interested in Third World problems, but recently he's become involved in the AIDS problem in South Africa, and has done a great deal of similar work, that is, identifying small groups that are addressing the problem well and helping disseminate the approach in question to other areas. I served on Don's board for whatever the term limit was for that. I had two terms, I think, of five years each and it was a particularly rewarding activity.

Born in 1925, American Howard Hiatt set up one of the first medical oncology research and training units in the US and has headed up some of America's most prestigious medical institutions. Hiatt attended Harvard College and received his MD from the Harvard Medical School in 1948. He was a member of the team at the Pasteur Institute, Paris, that first identified and described mRNA, and he was among the first to demonstrate mRNA in mammalian cells. From 1991 to 1997, he was Secretary of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, where he began and directs the Academy's Initiatives For Children program. He is also committed to helping disadvantaged people access decent health care.

Listeners: Milton C. Weinstein

Milton C. Weinstein, Ph.D., is the Henry J. Kaiser Professor of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health and Professor of Medicine at the Harvard Medical School. At the Harvard School of Public Health he is Academic Director of the Program in Health Decision Science, and Director of the Program on Economic Evaluation of Medical Technology . He is best known for his research on cost-effectiveness of medical practices and for developing methods of economic evaluation and decision analysis in health care. He is a co-developer of the CEPAC (Cost-Effectiveness of Preventing AIDS Complications) computer simulation model, and has conducted studies on prevention and treatment of HIV infections. He is the co-developer of the Coronary Heart Disease Policy Model, which has been used to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of cardiovascular prevention and treatment. He is an author of four books: Decision Making in Health and Medicine: Integrating Evidence and Values; Cost-Effectiveness in Health and Medicine,the report of the Panel of Cost Effectiveness in Health and Medicine; Clinical Decision Analysis; and Hypertension: A Policy Perspective.He has also published more than 200 papers in peer-reviewed medical, public health, and economics journals. He is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, and a recipient of the Award for Career Achievement from the Society for Medical Decision Making. Dr. Weinstein received his A.B. and A.M. in Applied Mathematics (1970), his M.P.P. (1972), and his Ph.D. in Public Policy (1973) from Harvard University.

Tags: Physicians for Human Rights, Institue for Healthcare Improvements, South Africa, Don Berwick

Duration: 3 minutes, 11 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2006

Date story went live: 24 January 2008