Donald Likosky, MS’99, PhD’02

Recently, TDI had a chance to connect with Donald Likosky, MS’99, PhD’02 about his experience at the Center for Evaluative Clinical Sciences (now The Dartmouth Institute), how it impacts his work, and what he is doing now.

What brought you to Dartmouth and the CECS program?
“I recall having a meeting with my father and Jack Wennberg in Strasenburgh Hall. I was interested in healthcare and the variation story, having read much of Jack’s work on the topic. Jack spoke about CECS, and the three of us walked across the hallway to Gerry O’Connor’s office. Gerry, always so enthusiastic about the program, handed me a brochure and invited me to apply.”

How do you use TDI in your everyday work?
“CECS and TDI have been instrumental to my career. It shaped my perspective of our healthcare system, and caused me to view our “system” as disjointed or broken. I truly believe my role is not only to highlight areas of unwarranted variation, but to work with frontline clinical team members and healthcare professionals to implement and evaluate its redesign. While I didn’t set out for this work coming out of college, I find my career path to be challenging, rewarding and invigorating.”

Any words of wisdom for incoming TDI students?
“The lessons learned from TDI are applicable, relevant and necessary for the redesign of our healthcare system. The lessons learned from Dartmouth are spoken about at nearly every academic venue I go to. Absorb as much as you can from your time with the faculty and your colleagues. I am deeply indebted to the faculty and staff at TDI. I know you will be as well.”

After completing his dissertation, Dr. Likosky stayed on as a post-doctoral research fellow and then faculty member. He served as the Associate Director of the Northern New England Cardiovascular Disease Study Group, and as Director of the Surgical Workgroup. Two years ago, he moved to the University of Michigan, where he now serves as an Associate Professor in the Department of Cardiac Surgery and as Section Head for Health Services Research and Quality.

He continues to participate in a number of projects with colleagues from Dartmouth, including those from the NNE, Jon Skinner and Jeremiah Brown, MS’03, PhD’06. Dr. Likosky is the principal investigator on an R01 grant through the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, focused on reducing healthcare acquired infections across 33 hospitals participating in the Michigan Society of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgeons Quality Collaborative.


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