Buerhaus selected to chair National Health Care Workforce Commission
Peter Buerhaus (photo by Vanderbilt University)
Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Peter Buerhaus has been named chair of the National Health Care Workforce Commission, a 15-member panel comprised of distinguished leaders from academia and the health care industry created under The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Reporting to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), the commission’s role is:
o to serve as a national resource for Congress, the President, and states and localities;
o to communicate and coordinate with federal departments;
o to develop and commission evaluations of education and training activities;
o to identify barriers to improved coordination at the federal, state and local levels and recommend ways to address them; and
o to encourage innovations that address population needs, changing technology, and other environmental factors.
“The creation of this commission under The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act conveys the critical need to assure that the nation’s evolving health care delivery system is supported by a workforce that is both trained and organized to tackle extraordinary opportunities and challenges, from advances in technology to extreme provider shortages,” said Jeff Balser, vice chancellor for Health Affairs and Dean of the School of Medicine. “Dr. Buerhaus is uniquely qualified for the responsibility to chair this commission. His innovative research on the health care workforce is recognized worldwide, and has already significantly influenced our health care policy.”
Buerhaus is the Valere Potter Distinguished Professor of Nursing at the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing and director for the Center for Interdisciplinary Health Workforce Studies for the Institute for Medicine and Public Health at VUMC.
“I’m pleased Dr. Buerhaus will represent Tennessee and the nation’s nursing profession on this influential commission that will help shape the future of our nation’s health care system,” said Gov. Phil Bredesen. “He has a distinguished record of scientific research and policy development and I’m glad that, with this appointment, he will share that expertise with the nation’s policymakers.”
The National Health Care Workforce Commission is required to submit two annual reports to Congress and the President. One report will serve as a strategic plan for achieving the priorities and goals identified by the commission, while the other report will address high-priority areas.
“Dr. Buerhaus is without question the most qualified person in the country to represent the nursing profession on this commission,” said U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.). “His long and prolific career in medical research at Harvard and then Vanderbilt and his work to strengthen Tennessee’s nursing workforce earned him the endorsement of 32 national nursing organizations, and I was as happy to support him for this appointment as I am pleased that he’s accepted it.”
U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) agrees. “I was pleased to support Peter Buerhaus’ nomination to the commission. His selection to serve as its chair is an inspired choice,” Cooper said. “Peter has conducted some of the most important research on the health care workforce, and I know that under his leadership, the commission will provide important guidance on the nation’s future workforce needs.”
Unlike similar advisory committees, the National Health Care Workforce Commission will evaluate and make recommendations for the nation's entire health care workforce, giving it a broad perspective and scope.
“Peter is a leading authority in the world of nursing and health care,” said Colleen Conway-Welch, dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. “His work has made a profound difference, and I can only imagine the tremendous contribution he will make leading this prestigious commission.”
Buerhaus is known for his ground-breaking research on the nursing shortage. His work has revealed shortfalls in the nursing profession that collide with an increased demand for care as more than 80 million baby boomers age and retire. Other areas of his nursing research have included issues related to employment, earnings, managed care, staffing and quality.
From 1992 to 2000, he served as assistant professor of health policy and management at the Harvard School of Public Health and developed the Harvard Nursing Research Institute. During the 1980s, he served as assistant to the chief executive officer of the University of Michigan’s Medical Center’s seven teaching hospitals.
Buerhaus will serve on the commission until September 2013. Other commission members include representatives from health care, educational institutions, employers, third-party payers, health economics research, consumers, labor unions, and state or local workforce investment boards with term limits ranging from 2011 to 2013.
For information about the National Health Care Workforce Commission please go to: http://www.gao.gov/press/nhcwc_2010sep30.html.
Contact: Kathy Rivers (615) 322-4747