John Kitzhaber has three titles: former Governor of Oregon, physician, and, his most stellar, a member of the Dartmouth College Class of 1969.
We are fortunate that we will be having a Casual Conversation with our classmate John on Sunday, July 31 at 3 pm Eastern on a Zoom call that you can sign up for by RSVPing to me at firstname.lastname@example.org by the close of business the Friday before, July 29. As is the custom, the session will not be recorded, for two reasons: first, to encourage candor, and, second, to make sure that people who want to speak with and hear from the Governor actually show up and spend time with fellow classmates.
John has sent the following to share with us in advance of his Casual Conversation:
The three areas in which I am most involved at the moment are (1) health system transformation, (2) early investments to ensure the success of children and families, and (3) the intersection of wildfire, forest health and housing. Here are links to three pieces on my blog that address each of these three areas of interest.
Wildfire, Forest Health and Housing
This is John’s current bio:
Former Oregon Governor
John A. Kitzhaber, M.D.
John was born in Colfax, Washington, March 5, 1947; graduated from Dartmouth College, 1969; and the University of Oregon Medical School, 1973. He did his internship in Denver with four rotations in the emergency departments of Denver General Hospital, Denver Children’s Hospital and University Hospital. Following his internship, he practiced Emergency Medicine in Roseburg, Oregon from 1974-989 with one year of general practice and surgery from 1976-1977.
He was elected to the Oregon House of Representatives in 1978; the State Senate in 1980, 1984 and 1988, serving as Senate President from 1985-1993. Between 1978 and 1989 he continued to practice emergency medicine while simultaneously serving in the legislature, which gave him a unique perspective on the implications of public policy at the point of delivery. John is Oregon’s longest-serving governor, holding that office from 1995-2003 and 2011-2015.
John served as President of the Estes Park Institute fr0m 2003-2010; and currently holds the Chair of Health Policy at the Foundation for Medical Excellence.
As Senate President, he authored the groundbreaking Oregon Health Plan, which challenged federal policy around categorical eligibility and sought to prioritize health services based on social values and clinicaleffectiveness. Hundreds of thousands of low and moderate-income Oregon families and their children still have access to health care because of this work.
During his third term as governor John was the chief architect of Oregon’s Coordinated Care Organizations (CCOs), the first effort in the country created on a statewide basis to meet the Triple Aim—better health, better quality, lower cost—with a focus on community and population health. Over the past five years Oregon's new CCO care model has reduced the Medicaid cost trend by two percentage points per member per year, realizing a new total funds savings of over 1.1 $billion. At the same time, benefits were maintained, enrollment was expanded by 385,000 people and all the CCOs met rigorous outcome and quality metrics. Today nearly a million people—one out of every four Oregonians and sixty percent of our children—get quality care through a CCO.
In 2013 Modern Healthcare Magazine ranked John #2 on list of the “100 Most Influential People in Health Care;” and #1 on the list of the “50 Most Influential Physician Executives.
As an emergency physician John saw medical problems that started first as social problems in the home. This led to his lifelong commitment to at risk children and families, reflected in his work during three terms as governor: the Oregon Children’s Plan; the transformation of Oregon’s early childhood delivery system; and the creation of the Early Learning Council and local Early Learning Hubs. He currently sits on the national board of directors of Families U.S.A.
While perhaps best known for his work in health policy, John is one of the Northwest’s most dedicated environmental advocates. He was the author of the legislation establishing minimum stream flows and creating Oregon’s first public instream water right. In 1997 he was the architect of the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds. He has been recognized with the Richard L. Neuberger Award (Oregon Environmental Council); The Distinguished Service Award (Trout Unlimited); and The Guardian of the Future Award (Resource Renewal Institute). He has served on the boards of the Oregon Environmental Council, the Pacific Rivers Council and the Wild Salmon Center.
Throughout his public career, he has championed collaboration to bridge the false choice between healthy rural communities and a healthy environment. Examples of the power of this approach include the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds; Oregon Watershed Councils; the Eastside Forest Health Collaboratives; the Steen’s Mountain Cooperative Management and Protection Area; and the Klamath Basin Fisheries Restorations Plan.
In 2013, Governing Magazine named John “Public Official of the Year.”
John is currently a writer, speaker and private consultant. He lives in Portland and spend his free time fly fishing and white water rafting on the Northwest’s wild and scenic rivers.
John also sent me a pdf of a four-page paper he has authored: “The Next Step in Health System Transformation in Oregon: An Opportunity to Shape Oregon’s Health Policy Future, Medicaid Redetermination.” Please let me know if you would like me to send it directly to you.
Finally, credit should be given to classmates Allen Denison and Dona Heller, both on the Executive Committee, for contacting John and persuading him to give generously of his time by agreeing to meet with us at the end of this month. Without Allen and Dona, this would never have occurred.