ACGME Approves New Board of Director Officers

1 October 2020
At its September 2020 annual Board meeting, the ACGME Board of Directors approved the following slate of officers (L to R): Chair Karen J. Nichols, DO, MA, MACOI, CS; Vice Chair Claudia J. Wyatt-Johnson, MA; and Treasurer H. Hunt Batjer, MD, FACS.

At its September 2020 annual Board meeting, the ACGME Board of Directors approved the following slate of officers.

Karen J. Nichols, DO, MA, MACOI, CS is the new Chair of the ACGME Board. In this role, she oversees the implementation of the organization's strategic plan and all committees that have activities in accreditation or education and training; is an ex-officio member of each ACGME committee and council; and chairs the three major Board meetings each year. She will serve a two-year term.

Dr. Nichols assumes this role after serving as Chair-Elect last year and as the Board’s Vice Chair the prior year. She was previously the Dean of Midwestern University/Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine in Downers Grove, Illinois from 2002-2018. Prior to that, she was Assistant Dean, Post-Doctoral Education and Division Director (chair), Internal Medicine at the Midwestern University/Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine since 1997 and was in the private practice of internal medicine and geriatrics in Mesa, Arizona from 1985-2002. A DO graduate of the Kansas City University College of Osteopathic Medicine (KCU-COM), she also holds a Master’s degree in management with a specialty in health care administration from Central Michigan University.

Dr. Nichols has served as president of the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), president of the Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association, president of the American College of Osteopathic Internists, and was the first woman to hold all those positions. She is also Past President of the Institute of Medicine of Chicago Board of Governors, and the first DO to hold the position. Dr. Nichols has served on the boards of the KCU-COM and the American Osteopathic Foundation. She frequently speaks nationally on leadership, end-of-life care, and outreach issues for osteopathic medicine. She also has received seven honorary degrees and top awards from the AOA and American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine.

Claudia J. Wyatt-Johnson, MA is the new Vice Chair. In this role, she will assume the Chair’s duties if the Chair is absent or unable to perform those duties. She will serve a one-year term. Ms. Wyatt-Johnson is a public director of the ACGME. She is co-founder of Partners In Performance (PINP), a strategic human resource consulting firm that works extensively with hospital systems, physician practice groups, and community health plans, as well as a wide spectrum of the broader health care industry. In this role, she helps organizations become the best places for talented people to choose to work. She consults to boards on effective oversight and on the requirements of Intermediate Sanctions. She has focused on recruitment and retention of clinical staff and on pay and performance in a not-for-profit environment. She has also created incentive programs for a range of organizations and has helped clients implement systems to address generational differences and foster diversity.

Prior to PINP, Ms. Wyatt-Johnson was a Principal with Ernst & Young and was a health care industry practice leader and Midwest compensation practice leader for Watson Wyatt (now Willis Towers Watson). Early in her career she was Manager of Employee Relations at JCAHO. She is also an Officer of the Board of Trustees at Lake Forest College.

Ms. Wyatt-Johnson has completed the Leadership Development Program at the Harvard Business School and the Women’s Director Development Program at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She has appeared on national television and radio, is a frequent speaker on human resource issues, and has published numerous articles in health care journals on compensation and oversight.

She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Lake Forest College, and a Master of Arts degree from Loyola University. In addition, she has studied at the Graham School of the University of Chicago since 2007.

H. Hunt Batjer, MD, FACS is the new Treasurer of the ACGME Board. In this role, he chairs the Finance Committee. He will serve a one-year term.

Dr. Batjer received his medical education and completed his neurological surgery training at the University of Texas Southwestern (UT Southwestern), completed a neurology fellowship at the University College London, and completed a cerebrovascular disorders fellowship at the University of Western Ontario. He then joined the faculty of the UT Southwestern Medical Center in 1983, remaining there until 1995, when he accepted the position as the Michael J. Marchese Professor and Founding Chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. In September of 2012, Dr. Batjer returned to UT Southwestern as the Lois C.A. and Darwin E. Smith Distinguished Chair in Neurological Surgery and Chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery.

Dr. Batjer has had numerous roles in organized medicine. He is a past-president of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, the Society of University Neurosurgeons, the Neurosurgical Society of America, and the Society of Neurological Surgeons, and is the immediate past-president of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. He is past-chairman of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons Section on Cerebrovascular Disease. He is a past-director and past-chair of the American Board of Neurological Surgery and was Chairman of the Board of the Interurban Neurosurgical Society from 2001 to 2012. He is past-chair of the ACGME Review Committee for Neurological Surgery, and was Co-Chair of the NFL Committee on Head, Neck, and Spine Injuries from 2010 to 2017, where he helped develop the League’s concussion protocol. He has been on the ACGME Board of Directors since 2016 and on the Executive Committee since 2019. In 2011 he was named Honored Guest of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. In 2016 he was the Medalist for Neurosurgical Society of America and was awarded the Founder’s Laurel by the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. He is the 2020 Harvey Cushing Medal recipient, the highest honor given by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.

Dr. Batjer is recognized internationally as a leading cerebrovascular surgeon. His research in ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke has resulted in over 470 publications and book chapters. He has presented 53 endowed lectureships and served as visiting professor in 63 medical institutions worldwide. He considers his involvement with the ACGME’s mission of improving health care and population health by assessing and advancing the quality of resident physicians' education through accreditation one of his most important contributions to the field.