AMA names James L. Madara, MD, as top executive

The former CEO of the University of Chicago Medical Center sees a need for the Association to shape medicine's "uncertain future."

By Kevin B. O’Reilly — Posted June 2, 2011

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The American Medical Association on June 2 tapped a physician and former academic medical center administrator as its new executive vice president and CEO.

James L. Madara, MD, will become the top executive of the Association starting on July 1. He will take over for Michael D. Maves, MD, MBA, who announced in November 2010 that he would step down on June 30 after holding the post since 2002.


Photo by Ted Grudzinski / AMA

The AMA's role as a voice for physicians is critical, given pending decisions on Medicare physician payment and federal guidelines for accountable care organizations, Dr. Madara said.

"We face arguably the most uncertain future in our field that we've seen for a long time," he said. "So this voice is all the more needed to be powerful and influential in guiding this conversation and joining this discourse."

Dr. Madara, a pathologist and gastroenterologist, chaired the Dept. of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta before joining the University of Chicago in 2002 as dean of the Pritzker School of Medicine and the Biological Sciences Division.

In 2006, Dr. Madara was named CEO of the University of Chicago Medical Center, a position he resigned in 2009 to return to full-time faculty work. Most recently, he has served as senior adviser at Leavitt Partners, a health care consulting firm founded and chaired by former Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt.

During his time as CEO of the University of Chicago Medical Center, he oversaw a significant expansion of the hospital campus, adding a children's hospital, integrative science and biomedical centers and starting construction on a $700 million, 1.2 million-square-foot hospital that is scheduled for completion in 2013. Dr. Madara also has published more than 200 research papers.

A panel of 10 physician members worked with an outside search firm and interviewed several candidates in person, said Jeremy A. Lazarus, MD, speaker of the AMA House of Delegates and chair of the search committee. They recommended Dr. Madara to the AMA Board of Trustees, which approved the choice.

"We sought a leader," said board Chair Ardis Dee Hoven, MD. "Someone willing to lend their intellect and insight and fully engage in helping the AMA and its physician members navigate the many challenges facing health care and physician practices today. I am pleased to say today that we found a physician leader who meets those high demands and expectations."

Physicians must take an active role in directing how American health care changes, Dr. Madara said.

"Our health care system is changing in many ways. The pace and rate of change is really intense -- I've never seen anything like this in my life," he said. "One needs to be upfront in shaping that change and making sure it improves patient care and in helping physicians adapt and thrive fiscally in our country."

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