Dartmouth Combines Two Health Care Programs

In the first of several steps intended to increase the impact of Dartmouth’s research and educational programs in health care, the College will combine two existing programs—The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice (TDI) and The Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science (TDC).

Combining The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice and The Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science builds on Dartmouth's commitment to creating high-performing and sustainable health care systems. (Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)

The Institute has continuously advanced work begun at Dartmouth more than three decades ago by physician John Wennberg. The Center was launched in 2010 to work closely with TDI, reaching across disciplines and diverse health systems to define the emerging field of health care delivery science. The integration builds on Dartmouth's commitment to create high-performing and sustainable health care systems.

“Dartmouth faculty and students continue to make critical scientific, clinical, and policy contributions to the improvement of health around the world through their teaching and research," says President Phil Hanlon ’77. "For the past three decades, some of the most high-impact work at Dartmouth has provided insight into the underlying challenges of cost and quality within the U.S. health care system. Dartmouth’s research and educational programs in health care delivery science play a leading role in health policy and clinical practice within the U.S. and around the globe.”

This administrative integration will advance President Hanlon's vision for Dartmouth, which includes addressing the most vexing problems confronting the world; developing innovative, experiential learning opportunities for students, and encouraging high-impact, multidisciplinary research.

TDC Director Al Mulley will work closely with Elliott Fisher, TDI's director, as the transition proceeds in the coming months. Fisher will lead the combined effort and Mulley will serve in a leadership role.

"Both Al and I are excited about the ways our working together will increase our effectiveness and impact," says Fisher, the John E. Wennberg Distinguished Professor at the Geisel School of Medicine. The combined entity will be part of Geisel.

Mulley, who is also a professor of medicine at Geisel, says, "The awareness of and demand for the contributions that Dartmouth alone can make in this emerging field of health care delivery science need the strongest possible team. TDI and TDC will be stronger together."

TDC’s collaboration with TDI has produced new strengths, including development—along with Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business—of Dartmouth’s master of health care delivery science degree; establishment of the Preference Laboratory, a research program focused on engaging patients to understand their needs and wants and designing systems of care accordingly; and building strategic global partnerships. The master’s program, jointly taught by TDI and Tuck faculty and aimed at senior health care leaders, is an example of the interdisciplinary teaching that draws on the best of Dartmouth and of new technologies for distance learning.

The integrated effort will remain fully committed to TDI’s decades-long educational and research focus on evaluating health system performance, identifying the sources of waste in health care which account for up to 30 percent of spending, and implementing solutions to the underlying problems. This research by TDI founder Wennberg, Fisher, Mulley, economics professor Jon Skinner, and others helped provide the motivation for U.S. health care reform and helped define the policy concepts that are being implemented in both the public and private sectors, such as accountable care organizations.

“Dartmouth’s contributions to health care policy and delivery science provide a wonderful example of how a small band of committed people—in this case disciplined and persistent scholars willing to question assumptions—can change the world. President Hanlon and I are committed to expanding their ranks here at Dartmouth, and to providing the support necessary to extend their impact in the United States and across the globe,” says Provost Carolyn Dever.