Avedis Donabedian, the Nathan Sinai Distinguished Professor of Public Health recognized throughout the world for his work in the area of quality assessment and monitoring of health serv-ices, died of cancer Nov. 9.
Donabedian retired from the University in 1989 after 28 years of service. He was described as a “giant” in the field of public health by former U-M colleagues. His long list of accolades from colleagues are a testament to his impact in public health, particularly his contribution to the difficult task of measuring the caliber of medical care provided to the population.
In 1999, Donabedian was awarded one of public health’s highest honors—the Sedgwick Memorial Medal for Distinguished Service in Public Health—by the American Public Health Association. The award recognized Donabedian for his research in quality assessment and monitoring of health services, epidemiology of patient needs and the design of program benefits for the public and private sectors.
In 1997, he was awarded the Ernest A. Codman Award, recognizing his leadership in promoting the use of outcomes measures to improve health care services.
Donabedian, who published eight books, was most known for his work in developing the “Donabedian paradigm,” a theme that was the basis for the concept and design of the statistical model used for hospital rankings.
His pioneering contributions to the development of systematic frameworks for understanding health service phenomena have established him as one of the preeminent creative scholars in the field.
He was among the original members inaugurated in the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and received the George Welch Medal of the American Medical Association. He was an honorary member of the National Academy of Medicine of Mexico and the Royal College of General Practitioners of the United Kingdom. Foundations in his name have been established in Italy, Spain and Argentina.
Donabedian’s former students serve as directors or faculty members in more than 15 university programs in health services administration, and many others are on the faculties of departments of preventive and family medicine.
Donabedian is survived by his wife, Dorothy; his sons, Haig, Bairj and Armen; his sister, Margaret; his brothers, Hovhannes and Christopher; and four grandchildren.
Memorial contributions may be made to the School of Public Health and to Ann Arbor Hospice.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Jan. 6 in the Vandenberg Room, Michigan League, followed by a reception in the Michigan Room.
From News and Information Services