Reforming our health care system

Fred Sanfilippo

Fred Sanfilippo, MD, PhD

Try to imagine all of the goods and services currently consumed each year in the United States. The magnitude is almost incomprehensible, and yet, left unchecked, that's just how much one study predicts the U.S. health care system will cost within the next 40 years. Already we spend more than $2 trillion a year-far more than any other country in the world-on a system that provides consistently poorer outcomes and lower satisfaction, by most measures, than dozens of other countries.

In this issue of Emory Health, you'll learn about some of the many ways in which Emory's Woodruff Health Sciences Center (WHSC) is engaged in transforming the health care delivery system. WHSC leaders are at the forefront of local, regional, and national reform efforts. Whether drafting potential reform policies, convening the best health care minds to develop solutions, or implementing improvements within our own health system, WHSC faculty and staff are committed to leading the much-needed overhaul of the nation's current health care system, which many agree "is neither healthy, caring, nor a system."

Perhaps one of the most important ways we're leading change is by collaborating with other individuals and institutions through the Blue Ridge Academic Health Group. Founded in 1993 and hosted by WHSC since 2002, the Blue Ridge Group is a coalition of leaders of academic health centers and health policy and practice experts from across the country. The group meets annually to address a groundbreaking topic related to health care and to create a report based on its research and recommendations. The report is made available to thought leaders, policymakers, and other interested individuals and institutions.

To date, the group has issued 13 reports on topics such as quality and safety, informatics, conflict of interest, medical education reform, and most recently, a policy proposal for a U.S. health board ( - 2008-11-20). When the group convened this summer, topics of discussion included health care value and social determinants of health. 

As you read the articles in this issue, you'll learn more about the Blue Ridge Group and many other ways that WHSC is leading the national health care reform debate and transforming health and healing ... together.


Fred Sanfilippo, MD, PhD
Executive Vice President for Health Affairs

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