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 Richard J. Davidson comes from an interview conducted in 2009.
Dick Davidson was president of the American Hospital Association from 1991 until 2006, coming to the AHA after serving as the first president of the Maryland Hospital Association. During his 15-year tenure, the AHA led national efforts to make information about hospital quality available to the public and advocated for the expansion of health insurance coverage. Other key initiatives during this time focused on improving patient safety, increasing diversity, and addressing workforce issues.
In summing up a career spent in health care leadership, Davidson noted that he hopes people will remember this about him, "That he always fought to have hospitals do the right thing...If every CEO every day said, My job is to be doing the right things for my community, for my patients, for my employees, then we'd go in the right direction or we'd find ways to make things happen that may not be happening today. But it's the fundamental underpinning that makes all of this go."
To read the full oral history, click here. Davidson died March 27, 2016. He was 79.