Press Release

Dick Davidson Receives AHA Distinguished Service Award

Dick Davidson, President Emeritus of the American Hospital Association (AHA) today received the organization's highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award. Davidson led the national advocacy organization from 1991 to December, 2006. This award recognizes significant lifetime contributions and service to the nation's health care institutions and associations.

"Dick's leadership came during some of the most tumultuous years in the history of the nation's hospitals," said AHA President Rich Umbdenstock, who succeeded Davidson in January. "He helped to unify the field around the goals of strengthening public trust and confidence and collaborating at the community level to find new ways to serve patients and improve health. And he accomplished it in an era of enormous change and public scrutiny."

During Davidson's 15-year tenure, the AHA led national efforts to make information about hospital quality available to the public and consistently pushed for action to expand health insurance coverage to more people, especially children.  The association also undertook a major initiative in patient safety, acted to increase the number of minorities in health management, and to address numerous workforce issues confronting hospitals.

AHA Board Chairman Kevin Lofton noted that one of Davidson's major priorities -- the co-founding of the Institute for Diversity in Health Management, an affiliate of the AHA -- changed the field's culture.  "It made scores of institutions realize that if their leadership didn't reflect their communities, they were undermining their mission."

Davidson has been honored by the National Center for Healthcare Leadership, and by several universities and state hospital associations over the years. "He had a simple litmus test for everything the Association worked on whether it involved public policy or health care delivery," observed Umbdenstock.  "The result had to make things better for patients, families and the community."

Davidson began his health care career as the director of education for the Maryland-District of Columbia-Delaware Hospital Association.  He later became the Maryland Hospital Association's (MHA) first president in 1969.  During his time at MHA, the organization was recognized nationally for its work on payment reform, the development of clinical quality indicators and medical and corporate values and ethics in the hospital setting.  Additionally, he consulted for national foundations, served on editorial boards and earned a wide reputation as a writer and speaker on contemporary health issues, as well as the future of health care financing and delivery in America. 

Dick and his wife of 50 years, Janet, live in Annapolis, Maryland. They are the parents of three sons and have six grandchildren.

Davidson earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in education from West Chester University and Temple University, respectively, both in Pennsylvania, and a doctorate in education from Washington, D.C.'s George Washington University.

About the AHA

The AHA is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the health improvement of their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which include nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks, other providers of care and 43,000 individual members. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends. For more information, visit the AHA website at

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