Dr. Donald Lighter

Dr. Donald Lighter currently serves as Director of The Institute for Healthcare Quality Research and Education and works with organizations to improve quality management using techniques such as Lean Six Sigma, the Baldrige Award management framework, and advanced information technologies. Additionally, he serves as the Corporate Medical Director for Healthcare Quality and Safety at Shriners Hospitals for Children. From 2009-2010, he served as Vice President for Quality at WellCare. From 2001-2009, Dr. Lighter served as the Chief Quality Officer for the Shriners Hospitals for Children, a 22 hospital system, and he worked in the areas of medical staff performance and compensation, leadership training, and medical affairs strategic planning.

Dr. Lighter’s over 30 years’ experience in the health care industry includes academic and private practice in pediatrics, managed care leadership roles, Medicaid and Medicare quality management programs, and medical missionary work. Relevant prior positions include:

– Medical Director, Quality Management, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee (commercial, Medicare lines)
– Physician Advisor, MidSouth Foundation for Medical Care (Medicare managed care and quality improvement)
– Medical Director, External Quality Review Organization, TennCare (Tennessee Medicaid Managed Care)
– Medical Director, University of Tennessee Health Plan (Medicaid managed care)
– Medical Director, Heritage National Health Plan (commercial managed care)
– Senior Examiner, Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award

In addition to these medical leadership positions, Dr. Lighter has served as Professor and a member of the core faculty for the Physicians’ Executive MBA program at the University of Tennessee and has authored two widely used text books on health care quality improvement, Principles and Methods of Quality Management in Health Care, now in its second edition, and Advanced Performance Improvement in Health Care: Principles and Methods, published in 2009. Over the course of his career, Dr. Lighter has led the formation of two IPAs and three HMOs, as well as development of a physician-hospital organization of university physicians. He has also served as a consultant to the Board of the American Academy of Pediatrics on medical informatics and has received the Academy’s highest award for his work in medical information systems.

Dr. Lighter and his wife Sally, an attorney, reside in Knoxville, TN, and have four children and six grandchildren.

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