Clancy to leave AHRQ

February 4, 2013 in Medical Technology

After 10 years at the helm of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), high-profile leader Carolyn Clancy, MD, will step down as director.

AHRQ exists under the umbrella of the Department of Health and Human Services. The announcement came via a Jan. 31 memo to the AHRQ staff from HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, in which she stated Clancy would be stepping down “in the next few months,” while a search is under way for her successor.  The memo provided no reason for Clancy’s departure.

[See also: House subcommittee approves bill defunding AHRQ.] and [AAFP goes to bat for AHRQ.]

Clancy, a general internist, was appointed Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) on Feb. 5, 2003, and reappointed on Oct. 9, 2009. Prior to her appointment, Clancy was director of AHRQ’s Center for Outcomes and Effectiveness Research.

In the memo, Sebelius praised Clancy’s work at AHRQ.

“Carolyn has impacted the lives of millions of Americans, diligently working to improve the health of our nation. I am deeply grateful for her service,” she wrote.


She noted that under Clancy’s leadership, AHRQ has undertaken innovative new work that has improved the quality, safety, efficiency and effectiveness of the nation’s healthcare delivery system.

[See also: AHRQ seeks funding for new project.]

“Carolyn has been passionate about the importance of linking quality improvement with the urgency of reducing disparities in healthcare,” Sebelius wrote. “During her tenure, the agency produced the nation’s first annual reports on quality, safety, and disparities in care. AHRQ has supported groundbreaking research on patient safety and related interventions, such as TeamSTEPPS, the Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program, and other efforts to reduce healthcare associated infections, now implemented both nationwide and internationally.”


Sebelius added that, under Clancy’s leadership, AHRQ has been instrumental in “cross-cutting” Departmental initiatives, from the development of the Affordable Care Act National Quality Strategy to the launch of CHIPRA provisions on assessing children’s quality of care. The team launched demonstrations linking reforms in medical liability to aggressive efforts to improve patient safety.

[See also: 6 ways AHRQ will study EHRs, workflow.]

“She has led the agency to empower patients to plan an active role in their healthcare, such as through creating tools that assess patients’ perspectives on their care, now an essential component of value-based purchasing for hospitals,” Sebelius added in the memo. “Through these efforts, the agency’s commitment to high-quality care is embedded throughout the organization and will be felt by countless Americans for years to come.”

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