Sheila Leatherman

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Sheila Leatherman, MSW, CBE, Hon FRCP

Research Professor, Health Policy and Management


Professor Leatherman conducts research and policy analysis on quality of care and the reform of national health systems, while also working in developing countries to design and test the effectiveness of interventions that integrate microfinance and expanding health access.Professor Leatherman’s distinguished career working to advance the field of health care quality spans almost three decades and multiple continents. Read More

Domestically, she has a broad range of experience in health care management in State and Federal health agencies, as both chief executive of an HMO and as a senior executive of United Health Group in the U.S. She is also a Senior Fellow at IHI, where she works internationally with health systems and health care quality related research and evaluation.

In the field of health care quality, Professor Leatherman is currently working in multiple countries worldwide, to develop methods for quality measurement and advise on systemic strategies for improving the performance of health systems; counties include Ghana, South Africa, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Singapore, Qatar, Nigeria.. She worked from 1997-2008 as an independent evaluator of the impact of government reforms on quality of care in the National Health Service in the United Kingdom. In 2007, she was awarded the honour of Commander of the British Empire (CBE) by Queen Elizabeth for her work of over a decade in the National Health Service. and appointed as an honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. She currently chairs the QualityWatch Initiative which tracks and reports on the quality of care for England, and is funded by The Nuffield Trust and The Health Foundation.

In North America, she has coauthored a series of books on the quality of health care in the US including general (2002), child health (2004), and the Medicare population (2005). She also coauthored the first national report for Canada on health care quality, commissioned by the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation, which was published in 2010. She currently serves as Senior Advisor to The National Quality Forum in the US.

Along with her work on health care quality and health systems reform, Professor Leatherman has conducted research and field work in multiple countries related to the design and evaluation of strategies for integrating microfinance with community health interventions. She has served as the research advisor to a demonstration project, funded by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to test innovations that link health programs with microcredit in India, West Africa, Bolivia and the Philippines; led a project to assess the global impact of systematically integrating microfinance and health access interventions for the poor; written a strategy working paper commissioned by the International Labour Organization on health microinsurance; and served as a co-investigator on a project integrating microfinance and education for young men in Tanzania.

Professor Leatherman is also an active humanitarian, devoting much time to relief efforts in the developing world. She serves as a Trustee for both Freedom from Hunger (microcredit and health) and the American Refugee Committee (refugees and displaced persons).

She was elected as member of the Institute of Medicine at the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 2002 and made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in the UK in 2006. She was appointed to the U.S. National Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in Health Care by President Clinton in 1997.

Active Projects

  • Quality Watch- Independent Scrutiny of Health & Social Care Quality
  • A Multilevel Intervention to Reduce HIV Risk among Networks of Men in Tanzania
  • Assessment of Health Programs for Pro Mujer, an NGO delivering mircofinance and health care to women in five countries of Latin America
  • Developing national and systemic capacity for health system strengthening; England, Ethiopia, Mexico, Nigeria, Qatar and Singapore


  • Argentina
  • Cambodia
  • Ecuador
  • England
  • Ethiopia
  • India
  • Mexico
  • Nicaragua
  • Nigeria
  • Peru
  • Qatar
  • Singapore
  • Tanzania
  • United States