By Mike Billings
Andrew Bindman, MD, has been named director of the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), which is charged with producing evidence to make health care safer, better, more accessible, more equitable and more affordable.
AHRQ is one of the major operating divisions of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and Bindman will report directly to HHS Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell.
Bindman is a professor of Medicine and Epidemiology & Biostatistics, as well as an affiliated faculty member within the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies at UC San Francisco. He has spent more than 30 years practicing, teaching and conducting health sciences research at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center.
During his time at UCSF, Bindman assumed several leadership roles, including chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine at ZSFG and director of the California Medicaid Research Institute, which is a partnership between UCSF and the California Department of Health Care Services.
Bindman has also been active in the policy arena. In 2009-2010, he was a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow on the staff of the Energy and Commerce Committee within the U.S. House of Representatives. There, he was intimately involved in the drafting of legislative language for the federal health reform law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).
“He’s a magnificent choice, because he brings that rare combination of being evidence-driven, with a lot of heart,” said Claire Brindis, DrPH, director of Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies. “He will bring integrity and authority, and we’re so proud of him.”
From 2011 to 2014, he served as a senior adviser to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Health Policy. And from 2014-2015, he was a senior adviser to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
As the director of AHRQ, Bindman will drive the agency’s three core missions of producing research and evidence to improve the quality and safety of health care and the functioning of the health care system; producing tools and training materials to make sure that evidence is understood and used; and investing in data and measures used by providers, patients and policymakers.
Bindman will be on leave from UCSF while serving as AHRQ director.