Author Atul Gawande to speak at symposium honoring Ralph Muller, former CEO of the University of Chicago Hospitals

September 23, 2005

Physician and author Atul Gawande, MD, MPH, a surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, assistant professor of surgery and health policy and management at Harvard University, staff writer for The New Yorker magazine, frequent contributor to the New England Journal of Medicine, and author of the award-winning book, Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science, will be the keynote speaker at a symposium honoring Ralph Muller, the former President and CEO of the University of Chicago Hospitals and Health System.

The symposium--to be held at the Max Palevsky Theatre in Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 East 59th Street, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Monday, October 3, 2005--honors Muller for his contributions to healthcare and to the University of Chicago Hospitals.

The Muller Symposium series, underwritten by John Mabie, a long-time Hospitals trustee, was developed to bring guest speakers to campus who would provide insights on the current issue of healthcare policy and management in academic medical centers.

Muller, currently the CEO of the University of Pennsylvania Health System, led the University of Chicago Hospitals for 16 years, from 1985 to 2001. He was the first president of the Hospitals after they first became a separate corporation, distinct from the University in 1986.

"Ralph Muller was a key player in bringing the Hospitals to the international reputation they hold today," said Michael Riordan, who succeeded Muller as President and CEO of the Hospitals. "He set the standard for running an academic medical center in a challenging urban setting. Ralph combined a careful focus on patient satisfaction with an aggressive approach to private and government payors. At the same time, he never wavered from the institution's commitment to research, teaching, and innovative patient care."

The Hospitals began a period of rapid expansion during Muller's leadership, with construction of several new facilities, including the award-winning Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine in 1996. That process has accelerated in the last four years with the opening of the new University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital in February 2005, followed by construction, now under way, of a new pediatric emergency room, and plans for a new intensive care-surgical tower in 2010.

While at the Hospitals, Muller served as head of the Council of Teaching Hospitals (1997-1998), chairman of the Association of American Medical Colleges (1999-2000), and chairman of the board of trustees for the National Opinion Research Corporation. In May 2001 he was named to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), an independent federal body that advises the U.S. Congress on issues affecting the Medicare program.

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