George J. Isham, MD
Senior Fellow, HealthPartners Institute

Other offices/titles:

  • Senior advisor, Alliance of Community Health Plans
  • Member, Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Task Force on Community Preventive Services
  • Member, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s United States Preventive Services Task Force
  • Elected member, National Academy of Medicine
  • National associate, Institute of Medicine
  • Member, National Advisory Committee, Building Healthy Places Network;
  • Member, Roundtable on Population Health Improvement Business Collaborative, Roundtable on Population Health Improvement, National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine

Year joined the Institute: 2012

Education and training: MD, University of Illinois, Chicago; internship and residency in internal medicine, University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, Madison; fellowship in primary care policy, U.S. Public Health Service, Washington, D.C.; MS in preventive medicine/administrative medicine, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Overview/research interests: Dr. Isham is involved in understanding how health is created in populations and how to improve health and health care quality and financing. From 2012 to 2018, he served as a senior advisor to the board of directors and the senior management team of HealthPartners, and from 1993 until 2012, Dr. Isham served as HealthPartners’ Medical Director and Chief Health Officer, reporting to the CEO, and responsible for quality of care and health and health care improvement.

Dr. Isham has been active in health policy, serving as a member of the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Task Force on Community Preventive Services, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s United States Preventive Services Task Force, as a founding co-chair of National Committee for Quality Assurance’s committee on performance measurement as well as founding co-chair of the National Quality Forum’s Measurement Application Partnership. He is a founding member of the advisory board for the National Guideline Clearinghouse and has served on advisory board for the National Quality Measures Clearinghouse as well as the Advisory Committee to the Director of the CDC.

Dr. Isham is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) and was designated as a National Associate of the Institute of Medicine in 2003 recognition of his contribution to its work.  He has chaired the National Academies of Science Engineering and Medicine’s (NASEM) Roundtable on Population Health Improvement and the Roundtable on Health Literacy. He has chaired, served on and been a reviewer for a number of consensus committee reports, and participated in a number of National Academies’ workshops. His work at the National Academies has focused on quality of health care and public health.



Publications While At HealthPartners
selected publications
Journal Article
  • Population health as a means for health care organizations to deliver value
    Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2015
  • Moderating nine years of health literacy dialogue: a personal reflection
    Journal of health communication. 2014
  • Population health improvement: a community health business model that engages partners in all sectors
    Frontiers of Health Services Management. 2014
  • HealthPartners adopts community business model to deepen focus on nonclinical factors of health outcomes
    Health Affairs. 2013
  • Leveraging lifestyle medicine and social policy to extend the triple aim from the clinic into the community
    American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. 2013
  • Achieving accountability for health and health care
    Minnesota Medicine. 2012
  • Progress toward reaching better health and providing more affordable care for vulnerable populations
    Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved. 2012
  • The simple health system rules that create value
    Preventing Chronic Disease. 2012
  • Measuring health care access and quality to improve health in populations
    Preventing Chronic Disease. 2010
  • Crossroads in quality
    Health Affairs. 2008
  • Partnering care delivery and research to optimize health
    Clinical Medicine & Research. 2008
  • The boomers are coming: a total cost of care model of the impact of population aging on health care costs in the United States by Major Practice Category
    Health Services Research. 2007
  • Toward national healthcare performance standards
    American Journal of Managed Care. 2006
  • HealthPartners' diabetes care improvement program
    Healthplan. 2002
  • A proactive health plan: taking action on tobacco control
    Tobacco Control. 2000
  • Taking on diabetes
    Healthplan. 2000
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