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George Isham

Chief Health Officer and Plan Medical Director



We can substantially improve the health and care of patients through thoughtful and determined effort.


The Twin Crises of Health Care by George Isham, MD


Dr. George Isham is responsible for quality, utilization management, health promotion and disease prevention, research and health professionals’ education at HealthPartners. He is active in strategic planning and policy issues. He is a founding board member of the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement, a collaborative of Twin Cities medical groups and health plans that is implementing clinical practice guidelines in Minnesota. Isham is a past member of the board of directors of the American’s Health Insurance Plans and he is currently on the board of directors of the Alliance of Community Health Plans. He is past co-chair and current member of the National Committee for Quality Assurance’s (NCQA) Committee on Performance Measurement which oversees health plan quality measurement standards. He has served on the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Task Force on Community Preventive Services and on the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ) Advisory Board for the National Guideline Clearinghouse. He has served on the Institute of Medicine’s Board on Population Health and Public Health Services and chaired the committee that authored the report “Priority Areas for National Action: Transforming Health Care Quality.” In 2003, Isham was appointed as a lifetime National Associate of the National Academies of Science in recognition of his contributions to the work of the Institute of Medicine. Epidemic of Care, published in April 2003 with co-author George Halvorson, is Isham’s examination of the impending health care crisis with suggestions on ways to solve it. Prior to his current position, Isham was medical director for MedCenters Health Plan in Minneapolis and executive director for University Health Care, Inc., in Madison, Wisconsin. His practice experience as a primary care physician includes eight years at the Freeport Clinic in Freeport, Illinois, and three and one-half years as clinical assistant professor in Medicine at the University of Wisconsin.


B.A., Zoology
M.S., preventive medicine/administrative medicine, University of Wisconsin, Madison
M.D., University of Illinois
Internship and residency in internal medicine, University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, Madison, Wisconsin


He is married with two children.