May 01, 2018

Chris Cassel selected as the UCSF Presidential Chair for 2018-19

Dear Colleagues:

I am thrilled to announce that Dr. Christine Cassel has been selected as a UCSF Presidential Chair for 2018-19 and will be joining our department for the year as a visiting professor. Chris will spend about 30% of her time on-site, working on a variety of projects related to medical ethics, professionalism, medical education, and the future of healthcare in a digital world.

This is a bit of a coming home, since Chris was a resident at the old Children’s Hospital of SF program and completed a fellowship in bioethics at UCSF. Since leaving here, she has had a number of academic leadership roles, including as Chief of General Internal Medicine at the University of Chicago, Chair of the Department of Geriatrics at Mt. Sinai, and Dean at Oregon Health & Sciences University. In 2003, she left academia to assume a series of leadership roles with national organizations, including as President and CEO of the American Board of Internal Medicine and the ABIM Foundation (where she spearheaded the Choosing Wisely campaign), President and CEO of the National Quality Forum, and, most recently, Planning Dean for the new Kaiser Permanente Medical School in Southern California.

Along the way, she has also served as President of the American College of Physicians, President of Physicians for Social Responsibility (she was on PSR’s board when it won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985), President of the American Federation for Aging Research, Director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care, and a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (under President Obama).

Chris has authored more than 250 articles and 10 books, on topics ranging from clinical geriatrics to ethics to nuclear war. She is a member of the National Academy of Medicine.

Having worked closely with Chris for well over a decade, she is a big thinker who sweats the details. She believes deeply in central role of physicians in a well-functioning healthcare system, but also recognizes the importance of teamwork. She also recognizes that our privileges as physicians are accompanied by great responsibility to act ethically and professionally – including using resources wisely. Her reverence for the traditions of medicine are matched by her excitement about the changes on the horizon, including those created by new practice models, new organizational bedfellows, and – particularly – new technologies and uses of data. It is these issues – the role of physicians in an increasingly digital world – that she’ll be focusing on in her time at UCSF while also working with colleagues in geriatrics, palliative care, and ethics.

Chris will begin her work with us in July but would be happy to make contacts now if she can be helpful. For now, her email is [email protected]. When she arrives in July, her office will be on the 9th floor of Moffitt, near mine.

Please join me in welcoming Chris Cassel (back) to UCSF!

Bob Wachter

Chair, Department of Medicine