Edward H. Wagner, MD, MPH

“Our models for transforming primary care both focus, quite appropriately, on patients. And they improve patients' health and health care experiences.”

Edward H. Wagner, MD, MPH

Group Health Research Institute Senior Investigator
Director (Emeritus), MacColl Center


Patients and health care systems worldwide have benefited  from Edward Wagner's commitment to transforming health care. Best known for  innovations in chronic illness care, Dr. Wagner's work spans a range of topics  in health services research and produces results that consistently enhance our  nation's capacity for health systems change.

Translating evidence-based methods of improving care into  practice is the tie that binds Dr. Wagner's investigations in preventive  medicine, geriatrics, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Another  common thread is collaboration—between researchers and health care teams and between health care teams and patients. Under his leadership, several projects, initiatives, and  organizations aimed at improving care have sprung up and flourished.

Group Health Research Institute's founding director, Dr. Wagner established its MacColl Center for Health Care Innovation in 1992, launching a new effort to move advances in quality improvement research into practice. He and his team developed and disseminated the Chronic Care Model (CCM), an evidence-based framework for health care that delivers safe, effective, and collaborative care to patients.

The CCM is widely recognized for its capacity to guide health care teams in caring for chronically ill patients. Funded as a national program by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and led by Dr. Wagner, Improving Chronic Illness Care (ICIC) introduced the Chronic Care Model to a wide spectrum of organizations, ranging from Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) to individual health care practices of all sizes and types.

Dr. Wagner also serves as principal investigator for the Cancer Research Network CRN, a National Cancer Institute-funded consortium of 14 health-plan-based research organizations. The CRN is part of the HMO Research Network, a larger alliance of health care delivery organizations with  sophisticated research capabilities that he helped establish in 1996.

Dr. Wagner's professional service is extensive. Locally, he served as co-chair of the task force that led to the creation of the Puget Sound Health Alliance (PSHA); he now participates in its quality improvement committee. PSHA is a regional multi-stakeholder collaboration committed to improving health care quality and reducing costs in the Pacific Northwest.

In 2007, Dr. Wagner received the Health Quality Award from the National Committee for Quality Insurance (NCQA) and was elected  into the IOM. A longstanding champion of patient-centered care, he was also  honored in 2007 with the Picker  Award for Excellence in the Advancement of Patient-Centered Care—for  advocating that respecting patients' values and preferences be central to  chronic illness care. He received the Founders' Award from the American College of Medical Quality in 2010. He is a Distinguished Alumnus of the University of North Carolina.

Dr. Wagner has authored two books and more than 250  publications. He serves on the editorial boards of Health Services Research, the British Medical Journal and the Journal of Cancer Survivorship. He is also a professor of health services at the University of Washington School of Public Health.

Research interests and experience

Recent publications

Derrett S, Gunter KE, Nocon RS, Quinn MT, Coleman K, Daniel DM, Wagner EH, Chin MH.

How 3 rural safety net clinics integrate care for patients: a qualitative case study.

Med Care. 2014 Nov;52 Suppl 4:S39-47. doi: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000000191.

Sugarman JR, Phillips KE, Wagner EH, Coleman K, Abrams MK.

The Safety Net Medical Home Initiative: transforming care for vulnerable populations.

Med Care. 2014 Nov;52 Suppl 4:S1-S10. doi: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000000207.

Wagner EH, Gupta R, Coleman K.

Practice transformation in the safety net medical home: a qualitative look.

Med Care. 2014 Nov;52 Suppl 4:S18-22. doi: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000000196.

Wagner EH, Sandhu N, Coleman K, Phillips KE, Sugarman J.

Improving care coordination in primary care.

Med Care. 2014 Nov;52 Suppl 4:S33-8. doi: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000000197.




Nurse navigators help Group Health patients with cancer 

November 2013 

Latest release

Medical Care special issue features Safety Net Medical Home Initiative

Oct. 15, 2014—Group Health helped pioneer the patient-centered medical home. Now a team from GHRI’s MacColl Center has co-led, with Qualis Health, the largest initiative to spread this model of care to safety net practices that treat vulnerable populations.


Patients can do more to control chronic conditions

The Wall Street Journal, Jan 12, 2014