On Thursdays, we will highlight an oral history featuring health care leaders who shaped the past and laid the foundation for the future. Since 1978, the AHA has conducted more than 100 interviews as part of this project and transcripts are available in the oral history collection on the AHA’s Resource Center webpage. The following oral history with Howard J. Berman comes from an interview conducted in 2011.

Howard Berman – in his many roles as a health care administrator, an insurance CEO, a professor and author – dedicated his work to tackling health care management issues and contributing to association policy. Drawn to health administration in his undergraduate studies of finance at the University of Illinois, Berman later obtained a public health service traineeship at the University of Michigan. After completing a residency with the New York City Department of Hospitals, Berman went on to work for the AHA and later became the president and CEO of BlueCross BlueShield of the Rochester (NY) Area, now Excellus.

In his interview, Berman discusses working with former AHA President Alex McMahon and their push for a Medicare prospective payment system. “We viewed it as the most interesting problem in health care at the moment and we were going to solve it because it was the right thing to do for communities,” said Berman. The dedication to solving problems, particularly those that enabled hospitals to better improve the health of their communities and make their communities a better place, always stayed at the core of his work. To read the full oral history transcript, click here.