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George J. Isham, M.D., M.S. ​​

​​​​​​​​Senior Advisor, HealthPartners​

Senior Fellow, HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research


“We can substantially improve the health of communities and the care of patients through thoughtful and determined effort.”


As Senior Advisor, Dr. Isham is responsible for working with the board of directors and the senior management team of HealthPartners on health and quality of care improvement for patients, members and the community. As Senor Fellow at the HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research, he is responsible for facilitating forward progress at the intersection of population health research and public policy.

Dr. Isham was a founding board member of the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement, a collaborative of Twin Cities medical groups and health plans that is improving triple aim outcomes and implementing clinical practice guidelines in Minnesota. Dr. Isham provides leadership to other care delivery systems through service on the board of directors for Presbyterian Health Services in Albuquerque, NM and the External Advisory board of the Marshfield Clinic in Marshfield, WI. Dr. Isham is also a board member for Presbyterian Health Plan also in Albuquerque, NM.

Dr. Isham is active nationally and currently co-chairs the National Quality Forum convened Measurement Application Partnership, chairs the National Committee for Quality Assurances’ clinical program committee and a is member of NCQA’s committee on performance measurement. He is also chair of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Technical Expert Panel on the National Impact Assessment of CMS Quality Measures and a member of the Agency for Healthcare Quality’s National Steering Committee for the Development of Measures of Appropriate Clinical Preventive Services for Older Adults. He is a former member of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Task Force on Community Preventive Services and the Agency for Health Care Quality’s United States Preventive Services Task Force. He currently serves on the advisory committee to the director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 2011, Dr. Isham served on a 5-member panel that provided a review of the Public Health Portfolio of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and currently serves on the National Advisory Committee for the Robert Wood Johnson funded Aligning Forces for Quality Grant. Dr. Isham was a former member of the board of directors of the American’s Health Insurance Plans and a member of the boards of the Alliance of Community Health Plans and the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review at Harvard.

February 15, 2012

Dr. Isham currently chairs the IOM Roundtable on Health Literacy, has served on the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice and has chaired the IOM committees that authored the reports Priority Areas for National Action, Transforming Health Care Quality and The State of the USA Health Indicators. He was invited to present the Institute of Medicine’s Rosenthal Lecture for 2005 on “Next Steps toward Higher Quality Health Care.” In addition, he has served on a number of committees, has presented to a number of workshops, and served as a reviewer of reports and workshop proceedings. In 2003, Dr. Isham was appointed as a lifetime National Associate of the National Academies of Science in recognition of his contributions to the work of the Institute of Medicine.

Epidemic of Care, published in April 2003, with co-author George Halvorson, is Dr. Isham’s examination of the impending health care crisis with suggestions on ways to solve it. Dr. Isham is frequently asked to present on topics related to improving quality of care and Health and is often quoted in local and national media.

Prior to his current position at HealthPartners, Dr. Isham was Chief health Officer and Plan Medical Director for HealthPartners, Medical Director for MedCenters Health Plan in Minneapolis and Executive Director for University Health Care, Inc., in Madison, Wisconsin. His practice experience as a primary care physician included three years in the United States Navy, eight years at the Freeport Clinic in Freeport, Illinois, and three and one-half years as clinical assistant professor in Medicine at the University of Wisconsin.


Bachelor of Arts in Zoology and Master of Science in preventive medicine/administrative medicine, University of Wisconsin Madison; Doctor of Medicine, University of Illinois; internship and residency in internal medicine, University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, Madison, Wisconsin.