WASHINGTON (March 27, 2019) – The American Hospital Association (AHA) will present its highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award, to Ralph W. Muller, CEO of the University of Pennsylvania Health System. This award recognizes significant lifetime contributions and service to health care institutions and associations. Muller will receive the award at the ceremony on April 8 at the AHA Annual Membership Meeting in Washington, D.C.
The AHA is honored to present the Distinguished Service Award to Muller for his unstinting service and contributions to improving the nation’s health care. Through his renowned leadership and pivotal influence across the field, he has paved the way for high-quality innovative care. His policy background and wide-ranging interests helped shape his perspective on adapting to the changing landscape in health care. As part of his mission to advance health in America, Muller recognizes the significance of bringing care into the community while focusing on the health and well-being of all. The contributions Muller has made during his illustrious career reach far beyond an individual health system or state.
“Throughout his career, Ralph has demonstrated a strong commitment to public service and a real passion for improving patient care,” said AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack. “Just as important, he’s served as a mentor to many in the field—including me—and has trained an entire generation of health care leaders who are working to build a better future for hospitals, health systems and the patients we serve.”
Muller has served and currently serves on the boards of several national health care organizations. In recognition for his quality leadership, he is a director of the National Committee for Quality Assurance, Vizient, and the ECRI Institute. As an expert in health care delivery and financing, he has served as commissioner on the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission; commissioner of The Joint Commission; chairman of the Association of American Medical Colleges; chairman of the Council of Teaching Hospitals and Health Systems; chairman of the University HealthSystem Consortium; and chairman of the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. He is also an elected member of the National Academies of Medicine and a fellow at the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Muller currently serves as CEO of the University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS), a world-renowned academic medical center, with plans to step down from his role in June 2019. UPHS has approximately 38,000 staff caring for more than 5 million patients annually, providing comprehensive services across its six acute care hospitals and a network of state-of-the-art outpatient facilities across Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey. During Muller’s 17-year tenure at UPHS, the health system has become a world leader in innovative new immunotherapies that are revolutionizing cancer treatment, has overseen transformative building projects for facilities that have set new standards for advanced care in both the inpatient and outpatient settings, and is at the forefront of innovation in developing and translating new discoveries to improve patient care and in training the next generation of physician leaders.
Prior to joining UPHS in 2003, Muller served as President of the University of Chicago Hospitals and Health System for 16 years. During his time at the University of Chicago, Muller also served as deputy dean of the division of the Biological Sciences at the Pritzker School of Medicine and budget director for the university. Before joining the University of Chicago, Muller held senior positions with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, where he served as deputy commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Welfare. While he was serving as deputy, Muller was the chief operating officer responsible for the state’s major welfare programs, including Medicaid.
Muller’s involvement with the AHA dates back to 1988, when he served as the Regional Policy Board delegate until 1990. He also served on the Coalition to Protect America’s Health Care Board (2000-2002); AHA’s Committee of Commissioners to The Joint Commission (2008-2010, 2011-2013); and the AHA Reform Advisory Group (2017-2018).
Gabriella Valentine, (202) 626-2264,
About the AHA
The AHA is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the improvement of health in their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which include nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks and other providers of care. 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 website at .