For Release: November 22, 2005
Contact: Andy Nordhoff (603) 653-0784

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Doctors John Wennberg and Albert Mulley Receive Picker Institute Award for Excellence in Patient Centered Care

Dr. John Wennberg

HANOVER, NH—Dr. John Wennberg and Dr. Albert Mulley, a professor and overseer, respectively, at Dartmouth Medical School, were awarded the Picker Institute Annual Award for Advancement of Patient Centered Care for their work at the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making (FIMDM), which they co-founded in 1989. FIMDM is a non-profit organization that strives to strengthen the role patients play in selecting treatments for their medical conditions. The Picker Institute, a leader in the promotion of patient-centered care, makes several awards annually to recognize outstanding contributions to improving the lives of patients by making their interactions with the healthcare system more comfortable.

"I'm pleased that the importance of shared decision making, and its central role in improving the quality of health care in the United States, has been recognized by this award," said Wennberg, a professor of community and family medicine and of medicine at Dartmouth Medical School. "I hope that it will help to increase awareness of the importance of bringing the patient to the center of the decision making process, when there is more than one viable treatment alternative - which is the case in the vast majority of medical decisions."

Due to the expanding scope of its work the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making moved from Dartmouth Medical School to Boston in 2002, where it continues to empower patients perspectives and information they need when they face decisions about medical testing and treatment. According to the foundation's mission, given today's complex medical environment, where cost savings, commercial interests, or physicians' biases are likely to drive medical decisions, their goal is to provide patients with information that is as objective, complete, and unbiased as possible. It has created a portfolio of videotapes and Web-based decision aids about decisions related to some of the most common and important medical conditions. Wennberg and Mulley believe that after patients have viewed these resources and discussed options with their doctors, patients' confidence increases and they have a greater likelihood of following through with the treatment they choose.

This award acknowledges Wennberg's unwavering commitment to patient-centered healthcare. The director of the Center for the Evaluative Clinical Sciences (CECS) at Dartmouth Medical School, he is the principal investigator and series editor of The Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care, which examines the patterns of medical resource intensity and utilization in the United States. The Atlas project also reports on patterns of end of life care, inequities in the Medicare reimbursement system, and the underuse of preventive care. A graduate of Stanford University and the McGill Medical School, he has been a professor in the department of community and family medicine since 1980 and in the department of medicine since 1989.

Dr. Albert Mulley

Mulley is associate professor of medicine and of health policy at Harvard Medical School. A graduate of Dartmouth College, he currently serves as an overseer of Dartmouth Medical School, a director of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, and a trustee of Dartmouth College. He is author and editor of the leading text, Primary Care Medicine, first published in 1980 and now in its fifth edition. Mulley's work aimed at improving the quality of health care decision making has influenced the agendas of many public and private organizations engaged in clinical care as well as medical research and education.

The Picker Institute, based in Boston with offices throughout Europe, is an independent nonprofit organization that promotes the advancement of patient-centered care, and the improvement of patients' experiences and interactions with their healthcare providers. Founded in 1994, it was the first to create scientifically valid nationwide surveys on patient-centered care, educating doctors and hospital staff on how they could improve service for their patients.

"Part of the mission of the Picker Institute is to promote 'best practices' that will lead to the advancement of patient-centered care," said Harvey Picker, founder of the Picker Institute. "We do that by recognizing those professionals in the field whose work best exemplifies the goals and philosophy of the Picker Institute.


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