The National Institute of Health Policy, a partnership created a year ago by the University of Minnesota and University of St. Thomas, today announced the appointment of Daniel McLaughlin as the institute’s first executive director.

The appointment is effective Feb. 8. McLaughlin was selected unanimously by the institute’s policy board following a six-month national search and interviews with more than a dozen candidates.

Former Senator David Durenberger, the institute’s chief executive and chair of its policy board, said McLaughlin “uniquely combines extensive management and policy experience with a record of accomplishment in both legislative and executive arenas for nearly 30 years.”

McLaughlin, who recently completed a term as chair of the board of the National Association of Hospitals and Health Systems, served Hennepin County as director of health strategy and policy since 1996. From 1994 to 1996 he was the associate county administrator for enterprise and strategic management, and since 1986, he directed the Hennepin County Health Care System. He was administrator of the Hennepin County Medical Center from 1984 to 1993.

McLaughlin, 54, holds a master’s in hospital and healthcare administration and a bachelor’s in electrical engineering from the University of Minnesota. He lives in Minneapolis and is an adjunct faculty member at the Carlson School of Management.

By tapping the educational resources of the two universities and experts throughout healthcare, the National Institute of Health Policy serves as a health-policy information hub that facilitates the exchange of ideas, especially between regional and national policy leaders. The goal of the institute is to improve healthcare by improving health policy.

“For many years healthcare providers, organizations and policy researchers from the Upper Midwest have been the spark of innovation for much of the current American healthcare system,” McLaughlin said. “Today the need for change in the system is even more acute. I believe the NIHP can be the forum for continuing to provide this leadership, and I’m excited for the opportunity to play a role in its efforts.”

His appointment has been applauded by the University of Minnesota’s Dr. Frank Cerra, senior vice president for health sciences, who helped establish the institute; University of Minnesota health economist Brian Dowd, the institute’s vice chair; and the Rev. Dennis Dease, president of St. Thomas.

“McLaughlin’s eagerness to take on this unique challenge is a 10-strike for us all,” Dowd said. “With David Durenberger and Daniel McLaughlin in our leadership, we clearly have what it takes to put the ‘national’ in NIHP.”

Dease is pleased with the institute’s progress and noted that its programs have attracted nationally known experts. “Most recently, Dr. John Wennberg, associated with the Dartmouth Atlas of Healthcare, and Dr. Ken Kizer, the former head of Veterans Affairs and now director of the National Quality Forum, attracted large audiences for their presentations. We are awaiting foundation funding to underwrite one of the institute’s core programs, a study of the patient-professional relationship and the role of third parties.”



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