Robert Wachter Named Chair of ABIM's Board of Directors

Robert M. Wachter, MD, a professor of medicine at UCSF, has been named chair of the American Board of Internal Medicine’s (ABIM) Board of Directors. 

Wachter is associate chair of UCSF’s Department of Medicine, chief of the Medical Service at UCSF Medical Center, and chief of UCSF’s 50-faculty Division of Hospital Medicine. He also holds the Marc and Lynne Benioff Chair in Hospital Medicine at UCSF.

ABIM sets the standards and certifies physicians practicing in internal medicine and its subspecialties who possess the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to provide high quality care.

“Physicians must be at the heart of our efforts to improve the quality, safety, and efficiency of our health care system," said Wachter in a press release issued by the ABIM. "ABIM embodies the ideals of physician self-regulation: we are of our profession but work on behalf of our patients — striving to ensure that when patients see a board certified internist, they can be confident in that physician’s competence and commitment to lifelong learning. It is an honor to help lead the Board during these times of unprecedented change in medicine.”

The Board of Directors guides ABIM’s overall mission and direction as it works to improve health care quality. All ABIM directors participate in ABIM’s Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program, which recognizes that what was standard treatment a decade ago may have changed, and that the public needs a process to know if their physicians have kept-up-to date in their field. Wachter is a board certified internist.

Wachter is a national leader in patient safety, health care quality and the organization of hospital care; he has published more than 250 articles and six books in these areas, including Understanding Patient Safety, the top primer in the field. He is editor of AHRQ WebM&M, an online case-based patient safety journal, and AHRQ Patient Safety Network, the leading federal patient safety portal. The two sites receive more than 3 million yearly visits.

In a 1996 New England Journal of Medicine article, he coined the term “hospitalist” and is generally acknowledged as the academic leader of hospital medicine, the fastest growing medical specialty in recent history. He is a past president of the Society of Hospital Medicine.

His blog, Wachter's World is one of the nation’s most popular health care blogs. Modern Physician magazine has ranked him as one of the 50 most influential physicians in the U.S. for each of the last five years, the only academic physician to achieve this recognition.
“As a nationally recognized leader in patient safety and the ‘father’ of Hospital Medicine, Bob’s commitment to quality, transparency and assessment will spearhead the Board’s efforts to effectively evaluate the competencies of board certified internal medicine physicians,” said Christine K. Cassel, MD, ABIM’s president and CEO.

Photo by Tom Seawell