Michael W. Painter, a distinguished physician, attorney, health care policy advocate, and 2003-2004 Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow, is a senior program officer and a senior member of the RWJF Quality/Equality team. Painter sees the team, with its mission to help communities improve the quality of health care for their citizens, as benefiting from RWJF’s unique “vantage point, leverage, and credibility in health and health care.” He notes that the Foundation demonstrates outstanding leadership in assisting communities nationwide in using local market forces to improve the quality of health care for patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma, depression and heart disease. As he puts it: “no one person, group or profession can improve care for chronic illness without the support of others. We must align community leaders, consumers, doctors, nurses, employers and insurers in collaborative community efforts.”
In 2003-2004, Painter was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellow with the office of Senator William H. Frist, MD, former majority leader. He describes this role as an extraordinary opportunity to employ both his medical and legal expertise in helping to formulate health care policy at the national level. Prior to that, he was the chief of medical staff at the Seattle Indian Health Board, a community health center serving urban American Indians and Alaska Natives. Painter led that clinic’s award-winning diabetes team. He has a clinical faculty appointment with the University of Washington, Department of Family Medicine.
Painter served as the co-chair for the 2002-2003 Washington State Department of Health Collaborative on Adult Preventive Services, and also served as a medical educator and consultant for the Northwest AIDS Education and Training Center. He is a policy advocate at the national, state, and local levels regarding health care issues affecting urban American Indians and Alaska Natives. He is a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, American Academy of Family Physicians, Association of American Indian Physicians, National Medical Association, and California Bar Association.
Painter earned a JD from Stanford Law School and an MD from the University of Washington. He received his residency training at the Providence Family Medicine Residency in Seattle, and is a board-certified family physician. He earned a BA in economics and mathematics from Vanderbilt University, graduating summa cum laude, and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
Born in Oklahoma, Painter’s father was an urban planner and city manager; his mother was a political volunteer and activist. He has two children and lives in Princeton Junction, N.J., with his wife, Mary, a volunteer and homemaker. He enjoys biking and running and has competed in marathons and bike events on both the East and West coasts.