Oct. 8, 2007 — Dr. Arthur Garson Jr., an internationally recognized pediatric cardiologist and executive vice president and provost of the University of Virginia, has been elected to the prestigious Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, which represents one of the highest honors for physicians and non-physician health professionals in areas such as law.
Garson was among 65 new members elected to the IOM, one of four in his area of health policy, which serves as both an honorific membership organization and an analytic and advisory organization.
"Election to the Institute of Medicine is one of life's truly great honors," said Garson. "But added to that is the opportunity to work at the IOM with the best people in the country to develop strategies to improve the health of the nation and beyond."
"Tim Garson's intellectual and personal leadership is changing health in the broadest sense, and his unique combination of clinical, research and analytical contributions surely make him one of the most highly qualified persons honored in this way," said University President John T. Casteen III. "His election is obviously good for him and his family; it is also good for U.Va. and for the nation."
Election to the institute is highly competitive. The addition of 65 new members this year brings the organization's total active membership to 1,538. In addition, the institute has 85 foreign associates, including five elected this year, along with 70 emeritus members for a total membership of 1,693.
Established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences, the institute has become recognized as a national resource for independent, scientifically informed analysis and recommendations on human health issues. According to the institute, members make a commitment to devote a significant amount of volunteer time as members of IOM committees, which engage in a broad range of studies on health policy issues.
Garson, the Robert C. Taylor Professor of Health Science and Public Policy, served as vice president and dean of the School of Medicine prior to being named to his current position as executive vice president and provost in which he is serving as co-chairman of the Commission on the Future of the University.
During Garson’s tenure as dean, he led Health System-wide strategic and operational planning. In addition, the School of Medicine started a Master of Public Health program, the Academy of Distinguished Educators, the Center on Health Care Disparities, the Patient Education Institute, the Medical Education Research Institute and the Virginia Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (a joint effort among several schools). Plans are under way for two laboratory research buildings, a medical education building, a clinical cancer building and a children’s hospital.
Known for his passion for health care reform, Garson helped originate and draft the Health Partnership Act, a bipartisan bill designed that has been introduced into the U.S. Senate and House, to expand health care coverage to millions of uninsured Americans. The legislation would fund grants to states for innovations to improve coverage as well as health care quality and efficiency.
He is the author or co-author of eight books, including the recently published “Health Care Half Truths: Too Many Myths, Not Enough Reality.”
Garson continues to see pediatric cardiology patients, especially those with arrhythmias and fainting, and he teaches on rounds and in regular conferences on electrophysiology and cost-effectiveness.
Garson has also been a national leader in academic medicine and health care policy, serving as president of the American College of Cardiology in 1999-2000.
Garson has been a member of both the Institute of Medicine task force on rapid improvements in the health care system and the Commonwealth Fund task force on health insurance and the uninsured.
He was named to the White House Advisory Panel on Health System Improvement in 2001. In 2003, Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson appointed him chair of the national Advisory Council of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and in 2004 he was named chair of the health care programs subcommittee of the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Health Insurance and the Uninsured.
Garson, 58, graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, in 1970 and received his M.D. from Duke University in 1974, remaining there for his pediatric residency.
In 1979, he completed a pediatric cardiology fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine and joined its faculty in 1985. He was named chief of pediatric cardiology in 1988. In 1992, he received a master’s degree in public health, specializing in health policy and health care finance, from the University of Texas in Houston and was recruited to Duke to be associate vice chancellor of health affairs. While there, he spent most of his time in health policy. Three years later he returned to Houston and became senior vice president and dean for academic operations at Baylor and vice president of Texas Children’s Hospital.
Garson, a native of New York City, and his wife, Suzan, are the parents of two daughters, both of whom expect to be involved with elementary school, either as teachers or working in education policy.