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>  News Releases >   2007 >   October

Dartmouth professor elected to the Institute of Medicine

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 10/08/07 • Susan Knapp • (603) 646-3661

Jonathan Skinner
Jonathan Skinner (Photo by Jonathan Sa'adah © 2006)

Jonathan Skinner, the John Sloan Dickey Third Century Professor in Economics at Dartmouth and a professor of community and family medicine at Dartmouth Medical School, has been elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM). He is one of 65 new members, plus four new foreign associates, announced today.

IOM President Harvey V. Fineberg said in a statement, "Members are elected through a highly selective process that recognizes people who have made major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care, and public health. Election is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of medicine and health."

Skinner is part of the interdisciplinary Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. His work has examined efficiency and equity in the U.S. health care system. In work with Institute colleagues Elliott Fisher and John E. Wennberg, both professors at Dartmouth Medical School, he has studied the economic impact of geographic variations in health care expenditures across the United States, and found that the dollar differences across regions are as much as $125,000 per person on a lifetime basis. In related work, he found that regions with the most rapid growth in health care spending were not necessarily the ones to enjoy the greatest improvement in survival, suggesting that improved health care is more about smarter spending rather than more spending. Skinner has also conducted research on racial disparities in health care, finding that hospital quality tended to be worse in hospitals treating African-American heart attack patients.

"The twin problems of unequal health care quality and the rapid increase of the cost of health care are fundamental barriers to the continued growth of the U.S. economy and the health of its citizens," says Skinner. "The lively intellectual environment at Dartmouth provided me with a remarkable opportunity to better understand these looming challenges."

The IOM is one of the four National Academies; the other three are the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Research Council. Candidates for membership are nominated for their professional achievement and commitment to service. Established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences, it has become recognized as a national resource for independent, scientifically informed analysis and recommendations on issues related to human health. The institute's charter stipulates that at least one quarter of the membership be selected from outside the health professions, encouraging representation from fields such as the natural, social, and behavioral sciences, and law, engineering, and the humanities.

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