Council of Medical Specialty Societies Names Dr. Helen Burstin as New EVP & CEO

CHICAGO (Sept. 19, 2017)—The  Council of Medical Specialty Societies (CMSS) has selected Helen Burstin, MD, MPH, FACP, to be the organization’s next Executive Vice President (EVP) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

CMSS and its 43 member societies represent 790,000 U.S. physician members. CMSS member societies collaborate to enhance the quality of care delivered in the U.S. healthcare system and to improve the health of the public.

The CMSS Board of Directors selected Dr. Burstin, the first woman physician to lead the organization, after a national search. Dr. Burstin will succeed Norman Kahn, MD, CMSS EVP and CEO, who has led the organization for more than a decade, on January 1, 2018. Dr. Burstin currently serves as the Chief Scientific Officer of the National Quality Forum (NQF).

“Dr. Burstin brings a remarkable breadth of experience in healthcare delivery, education, policy, and research,” said Steven Weinberger, MD, MACP, President, CMSS and Immediate Past EVP/CEO of the American College of Physicians. “She will bring the innovative thinking we need to take CMSS’s impact to the next level.”

“CMSS should serve as a bridge across specialty societies to drive meaningful improvement in healthcare,” said Dr. Burstin. “My vision for CMSS is greater collaboration, consensus and collective action among our member organizations to solve real problems for both patients and physicians.”

During her 10-year tenure at NQF, Dr. Burstin has led numerous efforts focused on healthcare quality, safety, health information technology, healthcare disparities, and population health. She has been a driving force in many critical areas affecting physicians and patients, including patient-reported outcomes, risk adjustment for social risk, and patient safety.

“At this important time in healthcare transformation, Dr. Burstin will help catalyze the change we need,” said David Hoyt, MD, Executive Director, American College of Surgeons and incoming CMSS President. “I look forward to working with her to ensure that our nation’s physicians are part of the solution to improving patient care.”

Prior to joining NQF, Dr. Burstin was the Director of the Center for Primary Care, Prevention, and Clinical Partnerships at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). She led the development of the first National Healthcare Disparities Report and the use of practice-based research networks. Prior to joining AHRQ, Dr. Burstin was an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School and the Director of Quality Measurement at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr. Burstin is the author of more than 90 articles and book chapters on quality, safety and disparities.

Dr. Burstin is a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at George Washington University and a Professorial Lecturer in the Department of Health Policy at George Washington University School of Public Health. She received the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Voluntary Attending Award from the George Washington School of Medicine. She received her Bachelor of Science degree at the City College of New York and her medical degree from the State University of New York, Upstate College of Medicine. During medical school, she served as National President of the American Medical Student Association (AMSA). She has a Masters of Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health. She completed her internal medicine residency at Boston City Hospital and her fellowship in General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

About CMSS
Founded in 1965, the 43 medical specialty society members of CMSS represent 790,000 physician members in the United States. CMSS member societies collaborate to enhance the quality of care delivered in the U.S. healthcare system and to improve the health of the public.


CMSS Media Contact
Heidi Lapka, Executive Director
(312) 224-2585