CONCORD, N.H. – Dartmouth College is getting $35 million to open a center it hopes will help the nation take the next big steps in health care reform: improving quality while lowering costs.

The historic health care overhaul legislation President Obama signed in March will give millions of Americans access to health care, but “the real rocket science in health care right now is in the delivery,” said Dartmouth President Jim Yong Kim, who has been promoting the idea of a national institute on health care delivery since arriving at Dartmouth last July.

Now, he has a $35 million commitment from an anonymous donor to establish the Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science.

The center will bring together experts in everything from medicine and management to sociology and systems engineering to figure out what is working in successful health care systems such as Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic. They’ll then teach practitioners, who can return home and make changes immediately, Kim said.

“We’re not just doing the research and presenting it for people to either accept or not accept,” he said.

The center also will be home to a new master’s degree in health care delivery science, which will begin enrolling students in July 2011.

“The science of health care delivery is being practiced by many wonderful scholars throughout the country, but most colleges and universities have not made it a major focus,” Kim said. “A lot of medical schools teach health policy, but they don’t really teach the complexities of what it takes to actually build effective, functioning, health care systems, clinics or hospitals.”

Kim is a former director of the World Health Organization’s HIV/AIDS department. He helped found Partners in Health to support health programs in poor communities worldwide. Kim came to Dartmouth from Harvard Medical School, where he was chairman of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine.


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