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Transforming health care
through research and education

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HRET Mission

Transforming health care through research and education.

HRET Vision

Leveraging research and education to create a society of healthy communities, where all individuals reach their highest potential for health.

Transforming health care through research and education


Uwe Reinhardt

Uwe Reinhardt

Professor Uwe Reinhardt, who was a health economist,a professor at Princeton University, and a major figure in the field of health services research, passed away in November 2017. In his memory, HSR partnered with AcademyHealth to launch a Reinhardt Lecture as a new feature of AcademyHealth’s Annual Research Meeting. Dr. Reinhardt had at one time been the President of the Association for Health Services Research, which was the predecessor of AcademyHealth. This award recognizes a leader in health services research who: (1) has made significant and lasting contributions to the field of health services research; (2) demonstrates a commitment to the impact of research and training the next generation of researchers; (3) represents diverse perspectives over time; (4) has a sense of humor; and (5) reflects areas of particular interest to Dr. Reinhardt, including healthcare costs and financing, healthcare workforce, health outcomes, and placing the U.S. healthcare system in the global context.

The inaugural Reinhardt Lecture was delivered this past June by Dr. Katherine Baicker from the University of Chicago. In addition to the live lecture delivered at the meeting, HSR has committed to publish the comments of Dr. Baicker and all future invited Reinhardt lecturers. Dr. Baicker’s paper appears in the December 2018 issue of HSR which also features papers we have invited as a part of annual publication of the “Best of ARM.”

Knowing the impact that Dr. Reinhardt had on so many people in the field of health services research, we collected memories members of our community have of him.

Memories of Uwe Reinhardt

"From the time I was a graduate student, I would seek out the AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting sessions where Uwe Reinhardt was participating.  As a panel chair or discussant, he set the standard for masterful knowledge of health care policy, burnished with his trademark sense of humor.  The 2008 AcademyHealth conference was especially memorable.   At two sessions—"Reflections on the Field of HSR" and "Health Care Reform:  What the United States Can Learn from the Experience of Other Developed Nations"—he stirred me to write down his memorable quotes with my notes, and then I arrayed them in a top ten list of my favorites."

Uwe Reinhardt's TOP TEN

10. "I'll teach you English."  -to TV journalists
9. "I always ask for the second question because with the first question, people are always shy."
8. "I said, 'You should see me in a bad mood.'"  -in retort to NJ governor
7. "If the VA is so bad, why do Republicans support it?"
6. "These people aren't stupid.  They don't just wait for us."  -on Europeans being innovative
5. "The Brits, they don't just routinely kill people."
4. "He was the president of Brandeis when I became a Jewish philanthropist."  -on Stuart Altman
3. "Joe [Newhouse] and I were the neoclassical bad boys ... and it was always Karen [Davis] with her Oklahoma charm [who] would put down us bad boys."  -on health policy advising
2. "They were bitching that some doctors weren't submitting claims in 24 hours."  -on the efficiency of Taiwan health care administrators
1. "Like extreme boxing, this is extreme policy."

David Nyweide, Ph.D.
Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services



"I was a young staffer for the Physician Payment Review Commission when Uwe served on the Commission in the early 1990s. The staff always looked forward to the combination of wit and intellect with which he would dissect our papers and presentations in public meetings.  He was already a VERY IMPORTANT PERSON and I would have felt lucky just to be in the same room with him.  But he made the entire staff feel important too, treating each of us with tremendous respect, always acting as if he had more to learn from us than we from him.  As much as I enjoyed the laughs, it was his humanity and willingness to engage with us regarding the content of our analyses and the conclusions that we drew from them endeared him to our team. "

Anne L. Schwartz, Ph.D.
Executive Director
MACPAC - Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission



"One of the greatest scholars in our field, Uwe was always a mentor to me. When I got out of graduate school as one of the only women in health economics, he offered to critique my papers and coach me about how to give talks. Of course, I never would have his humor! He had such a spirit of  kindness and generosity. He also helped me when I was approached by news outlets to teach me how to focus on what I wanted to say. And even if we did not see each other during several years, when we met again he showed the same interest as he always had in my research. A great researcher for his work on efficiency and other countries, Uwe will always be in my thoughts and my heart."

Deborah A. Freund, PhD
University Professor
President Emerita
Claremont Graduate University



"It is hard to think of an issue in health policy that was not touched and influenced by Uwe Reinhardt. We will never forget him, the lessons he taught, and the humor he brought to each discussion no matter how complex and politically charged. He was, of course, a master of detail and could examine the "ills" of the health care system as no other. And for every diagnosis of a problem, he offered a solution. As a longtime member of our Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, Uwe made sure that our analysis always assessed what the impact of health programs and policy proposals would be for the low-income and most disadvantaged populations. Then he would take the numbers and the data and weave them together to put facts and faces on the issue and make the case for needed reforms. But, his greatest contribution was his ability to teach all of us...especially the young analyst--how to do our work with both rigor and compassion. We will always remember him for his integrity, humanity, ability to inspire, and especially his warmth and friendship."

Diane Rowland on behalf of his Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured Colleagues.



"As guide and friend, Uwe was part of my life journey for over 35 years. I began writing about health care economics and policy as a young reporter for the Chicago Tribune back in 1982, the first journalist for a general-interest newspaper to do so. I met Uwe at a meeting not long after. We spoke regularly, and I even started to attend the first meetings of the Association for Health Services Research, where Uwe was an active leader. Uwe eventually became one of my two recommenders for an Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellowship in 1986, which entails going out into the field for a year to report on a topic.

That experience taught me the difference between meeting room reality and the reality of the front lines of care. It eventually led me away from journalism into health services research, writing about quality and safety. After Demanding Medical Excellence; Doctors and Accountability in the Information Age was published by a university press in 1997, it was Uwe who assured me that a surgeon who’d read my book and called from Taiwan to ask me to keynote a quality conference was legit. In fact, he was a friend of Uwe and May.

I got to know both Uwe and May better during that trip, including hearing Uwe’s story of how, while they were courting, they were followed on campus by Asian men wearing black wingtips and trying to blend in. After I left journalism for full-time health wonkdom, Uwe and I gradually became colleagues and, as with so many others, email correspondents. His encouragement always brightened my day.

A personal highlight was speaking to a conference where I was, in effect, Uwe's “opening act.” I assured the audience that the hotel kitchen staff washed their hands as frequently as any doctor — a joke which highlights what I and so many others admired about Uwe. Journalists and researchers alike are hemmed in by professional norms of seriousness that can sometimes morph into dullness or self-importance. Uwe provided the antidote, a gifted, charismatic individual with a deep moral core who combined humor and intellectual rigor to repeatedly illuminate for colleagues and the lay public alike critically important ethical and economic inequities in American health care. In “singeing without burning,” Uwe transcended tribalism, built community where none existed and challenged us to listen to our higher, better selves."

Michael Millenson
President, Health Quality Advisors LLC and
Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine


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