Kenneth W. Kizer, director of the UC Davis Institute for Population Health Improvement, received the Rutherford T. Johnstone Award for outstanding contributions to the field of occupational and environmental medicine at the Western Occupational Health Conference, held in San Francisco last week. The award is presented annually by the Western Occupational & Environmental Medical Association.
Kizer, a distinguished professor in the UC Davis School of Medicine (Department of Emergency Medicine) and Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis, was recognized for his outstanding service to the specialty of occupational medicine in a number of areas, including his contributions to diving and undersea medicine, emergency medical services systems development and emergency management, military veterans' health issues, health promotion and disease prevention.
In his Rutherford T. Johnstone Award lecture, entitled "Health Care Reform, Population Health, and the Future of Occupational and Environmental Medicine," Kizer spoke about how occupational medicine specialists are well-positioned to play larger roles in the future of American health care because of their unique position at the crossroads of the employer, employee and health-care system.
He specifically addressed the need for better and more granular data about the role of the workplace as a cause or contributor to acute and chronic illnesses and the impact of job-related injuries and illnesses on population health and American worker productivity.
Kizer emphasized the need for greater health-data connectivity between and among worksite health-care settings and other health-care providers and the importance of broader engagement among occupational medicine specialists and other health-care providers and payers, especially in disability management and health promotion where occupational medicine practitioners often have unique expertise. He also spoke about the role of occupational medicine specialists in promoting greater understanding of the many determinants of health and the multiple ways they can work with employers to influence these determinants.
The Institute for Population Health Improvement (IPHI) is an independent operating unit within the UC Davis Health System that, among other things, manages the California Cancer Registry, administers multiple chronic disease surveillance and prevention programs for the California Department of Public Health, and partners with the California Department of Health Care Services on the Medi-Cal Quality Improvement Program and various health-care reform programs. Recently, IPHI assumed responsibility for managing the state's health information exchange development program, now known as California Health eQuality.