Former RWJF President and CEO Receives 2013 Lienhard Award

Steven A. Schroeder, MD, leader of smoking cessation and tobacco prevention efforts, selected for Institute of Medicine honor.

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Former RWJF president and CEO Steve Schroeder, MD (1990 to 2002), and professor, Department of Medicine, and director, Smoking Cessation Leadership Center, UCSF

Washington, D.C.—The Institute of Medicine today presented the 2013 Gustav O. Lienhard Award to Steven A. Schroeder, MD, whose pioneering efforts to control tobacco use have helped save millions from premature, smoking-related deaths. The award also recognizes Schroeder's leadership in general medicine as well as his work to improve end-of-life care.

"It is my great privilege to present this award to a dedicated champion of health for Americans and citizens around the world," said IOM President Harvey V. Fineberg. "Dr. Schroeder's perseverance in funding tobacco research and creating breakthrough strategies to help smokers quit facilitated a shift in public attitudes toward smoking and shaped policies to prevent smoking."   

As president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) from 1990 to 2002, Schroeder established and led programs to reduce smoking, enhance end-of-life care, expand health insurance for children, and encourage physical activity. His most influential initiative at RWJF focused on leveraging research, policy, advocacy, and education to reduce tobacco use and drive systemwide changes that created higher tobacco taxes, smoke-free indoor air laws, and better access to addiction treatment. RWJF tobacco research was cited in the formulation of, and advocacy for, such policy adoption. The impact of anti-smoking campaigns by RWJF and its partners was profound. Smoking rates among adults declined from 25.5 percent in 1993 to 18 percent in 2011, meaning that 5.3 million fewer people were smoking and more than 60,000 smoking-related deaths had been avoided by 2010.

At RWJF, Schroeder also funded the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care, which was influential in documenting large regional variations in medical services that do not correlate to desired health care outcomes. In addition, he initiated a national program to enroll eligible children for health insurance following the passage of State Children's Health Insurance Program legislation. The program has been credited as an important reason why the number of uninsured children reached a modern low from 2000 to 2005.  Furthermore, after negative results from a controlled trial to improve care for seriously ill hospital patients, known as the SUPPORT study, Schroeder instituted a series of national programs to improve such care at hospitals.  Bringing together physicians, nurses, palliative care experts, clergy, and patients, the initiative attempted to minimize legal barriers to prescribing pain medications at the end of life, expand hospice and hospital-based palliative care, energize patient groups, and work with hospital chaplains.  As a result, more than 500 hospitals have received training in palliative care and many have instituted their own programs.

Upon leaving RWJF and returning in 2003 to the University of California, San Francisco—he was originally on the faculty from 1976 to 1990—Schroeder continued his dedication to curbing tobacco use by founding the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center. Under his direction, the center aims to increase the cessation rate of smokers and the number of clinicians who help smokers quit by creating partnerships to develop and implement action plans. By working with leaders at more than 80 health organizations nationwide, the center has expanded the types of groups that support smokers' attempts to quit, such as dental hygienists, pharmacists, emergency physicians, and nurses; created new ways to market toll-free telephone quit lines; and engaged the mental health community in treating tobacco addiction.

Schroeder has also been devoted to all aspects of health care delivery, including the training of health professionals, the equitable distribution of care, economics, and legislative barriers. He was one of the first physicians to describe variability in the physicians' use of costly medical services to demonstrate the pro-technology biases associated with fee-for-service medical payment and to illustrate the failure of voluntary approaches to containing the costs of hospital care. At UCSF, he founded the division of general internal medicine and conducted research and training programs of national significance, and at George Washington University, he was the founding medical director of a university-sponsored HMO. 

Schroeder earned his bachelor's degree from Stanford University and his medical degree from Harvard Medical School, where he later served as president of the Harvard Medical Alumni Association. He trained in internal medicine at the Harvard Medical Service of Boston City Hospital and in epidemiology as an epidemic intelligence service officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He has held faculty positions at Harvard University, George Washington University, and UCSF. Schroeder is the recipient of six honorary degrees and many honors, including the Medal of Honor from the American Cancer Society, New Jersey Medicine 1999 Person of the Year, National Leadership Award 2001 by the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, James D. Bruce Memorial Award for Distinguished Contributions in Preventive Medicine from the American College of Physicians, and David E. Rogers Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges. He was a member of the editorial board of the New England Journal of Medicine and currently serves on the boards of the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health, the Robina Foundation, the Marin Community Foundation, and the Marin General Hospital. Schroeder is the past chair of the American Legacy Foundation (now known as Legacy for Health), which in 2006 established the Schroeder Institute for Tobacco Research and Policy Studies in his honor. He was elected to the IOM in 1982 and is the former chair of IOM’s Board on Health Care Services.

Schroeder is the 28th recipient of the Lienhard Award, which includes a medal and $40,000 prize. Given annually, the award recognizes outstanding achievement in improving personal health care services in the United States. Nominees are eligible for consideration without regard to education or profession, and award recipients are selected by a committee of experts convened by the IOM. This year's selection committee was chaired by Raynard S. Kington, president of Grinnell College.

The Lienhard Award is funded by an endowment from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Gustav O. Lienhard was chair of the foundation's board of trustees from the organization's establishment in 1971 to his retirement in 1986—a period in which the foundation moved to the forefront of American philanthropy in health care. Lienhard, who died in 1987, built his career with Johnson & Johnson, beginning as an accountant and retiring 39 years later as its president. Additional information about the Lienhard Award can be found at http://www.iom.edu/lienhard.   

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