"The two words ‘information’ and ‘communication’ are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through." -- Sydney J. Harris

MNCM ‘godmother’ Julie Brunner retires from Minnesota Council of Health Plans after 12 Years

Julie Brunner purple low resIt seems fitting that 2015 would mark both MN Community Measurement’s 10th anniversary as a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, and when we say goodbye to the woman perhaps most responsible for our being.

This month begins a new chapter for Julie Brunner. After a 40 year career in public policy, with the last 12 years as executive director of the Minnesota Council of Health Plans (MCHP), Julie is retiring. Under her leadership, Minnesota’s nonprofit health plans gained national recognition for working with partners to improve the health of Minnesotans and create a more efficient health care system. She’s also been a trusted leader for policymakers, government agencies, media representatives and community leaders.

After joining MCHP, one of Julie’s first projects was the Minnesota Community Measurement Project, which launched in 2002 in collaboration with the Minnesota Medical Association as an attempt to collect comparable data across health systems and report it publicly. That project was the seed of MN Community Measurement.

“We’ve always thought of Julie as our godmother,” said Jim Chase, MNCM president. “She took the initial ideas about public reporting and made them into a sustainable organization that had broad support across the community.”

The Minnesota Community Measurement Project produced its first report on Optimal Diabetes Care performance in 2003. It reported on five key components of diabetes care in an “all-or-none” composite measure, and featured information on 49 medical groups.

“Julie recruited the initial medical group participants, helped organize the initial reports, and even drove all over the state to talk with physicians and reporters about the importance of this work,” Chase described. “She had the vision to know that, while the effort was started by the health plans, it had to transition to a multi-stakeholder organization in order to have the greatest long-term impact.”

Julie shepherded the Minnesota Community Measurement Project in its evolution to become MN Community Measurement in 2005, including hiring Chase and recruiting our founding Board of Directors. A decade later, MNCM has become the primary trusted source for health data sharing and measurement in Minnesota, and a driver of change that improves health, patient experience, cost and equity of care in our state and nation.

We congratulate Julie on her incredible career and considerable impact on the health of all Minnesotans, and wish her the best in her retirement and future endeavors. We will miss her insight and contribution as a member of the MNCM Board of Directors. And we look forward to working with MCHP’s new President and CEO, Jim Schowalter, as a new member of our Board.