Scholar-Clinician-Innovator Albert G. Mulley Jr. Named Director of Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science


Albert G. Mulley Jr., MD, MPP, has been named Director of the Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science. (photo by Joseph Mehling ’69)

Albert G. Mulley Jr., MD, MPP, an international leader in the science and application of shared decision making and other forms of collaboration between clinicians and patients, has been named Director of the Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science, Dartmouth President Jim Yong Kim announced today.

“Al Mulley is an extraordinary thinker and innovator whose work over three decades has changed our understanding of the role of patients as partners in their own care,” Kim said. “As a physician, educator, influential author, and a visionary thought leader, he has the respect of colleagues from around the globe. We are incredibly fortunate that he has chosen to return to Dartmouth to direct this new center and new science.”

Dr. James N. Weinstein, co-president of Dartmouth-Hitchcock and director of The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, said, “As we talked to colleagues around the country about potential candidates for this position, one name kept rising to the top of everyone’s list: Dr. Al Mulley.” Weinstein, who with President Kim and Dartmouth Provost Carol Folt will provide leadership and oversight of the center, said, “It’s wonderful to find that one of the most prominent and respected leaders in this field has his roots in Dartmouth.”

Provost Carol Folt said: “Dr. Mulley has a unique blend of scholarship, experience, and direct involvement in critical health care issues at the international level. His book, Primary Care Medicine, was the first major text to include principles of clinical epidemiology. Now in its 6th printing, it continues to be a seminal work in the field. I look forward to working with him to develop a center that will be a new model for fostering innovation across the entire campus, while advancing the science of health care delivery.”

As Director, Dr. Mulley will shape the strategy and activities of the new Center. The Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science was announced in May, funded by a $35 million gift. Concurrent with his appointment to the post, which he will assume November 15, 2010, Mulley will step down as a Trustee of the College, a position in which he has served since 2004. He will also resign from the Board of Overseers of Dartmouth Medical School and the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center Board of Trustees.

In May, Dr. Mulley organized an international conference on “New Models of Health Service Delivery for Better Care, Better Health, Lower Costs” hosted by Dartmouth, Harvard, and the University of Washington.  The more than 60 participants represented a broad cross-section, including senior leaders from business, health care, health policy, and health plans. Dr. Arnold Milstein, Director of the Stanford Clinical Excellence Research Center and co-founder of the Leapfrog Group, was one of the participants. “It was a uniquely substantive gathering that exemplified Al’s thoughtfulness, vision, leadership, and ability to bring people together and join forces to find collaborative and innovative solutions,” Dr. Milstein said.  “Dartmouth is wise to bring his energy and broad grasp of the issues to the Center. I very much look forward to working with him in this new role.”

Mulley, who graduated from Dartmouth in 1970, is a founder of the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making, a nonprofit organization established in 1989 and dedicated to advancing research, policy, and clinical models that ensure that patients understand their choices and have the information they need to make sound decisions about their health and well-being.  Currently, he is Chief of the General Medicine Division and Director of the Medical Practices Evaluation Center at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Associate Professor of Medicine and Associate Professor of Health Policy at Harvard Medical School.

Said Dr. Mulley: “Leaving wonderful colleagues and rewarding work is always bittersweet. But with this new center, Dartmouth brings together not only its schools of medicine, business, and engineering but also the arts and sciences, undergraduate and graduate, to focus on the challenge of health care. I believe the Dartmouth Center has the best potential to do what I’ve worked toward throughout my professional life: to make profound, lasting change that improves the quality and value of medical care as perceived by those who live with the health consequences.

“While Dartmouth certainly doesn’t have all the answers, its faculty has done more than any to understand both the current challenges and the opportunities to design systems of care that achieve better health at lower cost,” he continued. “At Dartmouth, we can, with others, play a leading role in building on existing solutions and making sure they’re implemented Designing new models for health care will require creativity and effective execution. I’m excited about partnering with colleagues here and from around the world to do this work.”

Dr. Mulley is a first-generation college graduate, who graduated from Dartmouth magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. He went on to earn his MD at Harvard Medical School, and his Masters of Public Policy in the early years of that program at the Kennedy School of Government.

During more than 35 years at MGH and Harvard, Dr. Mulley developed innovative approaches to patient care, medical education, and clinical research. He was a founder of the General Medicine Fellowship at Harvard Medical School and collaborated in the design and teaching of the curriculum that became the Harvard School of Public Health’s Clinical Effectiveness Program.

Since 2001, he has directed the PASTEUR Clinical Research Seminar Series, which brings students together with clinical scientists to better understand decision making in successful research careers. Dr. Mulley’s work has influenced the agendas of many public and private organizations. He has also served on and consulted for multiple boards and commissions, including the President’s Commission on Ethical Problems in Biomedical and Behavioral Research, and numerous committees of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

He has been a visiting professor and health policy consultant to governments and health care institutions in North America, Europe, and Asia. For the past decade, he has returned each year to the same five mountain villages in Honduras to deliver primary medical care and implement community-based health programs.

Dr. Mulley is married to Margaret Mulley and they have two children—Katherine, a member of the Dartmouth Class of 2005, and Alexander, who graduated from the Tuck School of Business in 2008.

The Center for Health Care Delivery Science is dedicated to research, education, collaboration, implementation, and public outreach to improve the quality, effectiveness, and value of health care for patients, their families, providers, and populations.

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