SOURCE: Healthwise


June 16, 2015 14:30 ET

Healthwise Founder and CEO Don Kemper Announces 2016 Retirement

Healthwise Board of Directors to Select New CEO

BOISE, ID--(Marketwired - Jun 16, 2015) -  Don Kemper, founder and chief executive officer of Healthwise, announced to his employees today that he will retire in 2016, possibly as early as the end of June. Kemper founded Healthwise in 1975 and has led its development as a major source of information and tools to help people make better health decisions, which is the mission of the nonprofit organization.

Kemper has led Healthwise through four eras of mission achievement:

  • In the 70s and 80s Healthwise was known for its health self-care handbooks and workshops that helped people to do more for themselves, ask for the care they needed, and say "no" to care that wasn't right for them.
  • In the 90s the Healthwise® Knowledgebase became a primary source of consumer health information on the web.
  • Beginning with the publication of Information Therapy in 2002, Healthwise became a national advocate for expecting doctors to prescribe evidence-based health information to their patients. Today, more than 25 percent of US physicians are able to prescribe Healthwise information to their patients through their electronic health record systems.
  • Healthwise is now advancing new ways for the patient's voice to be recorded within the clinical record. The 2014 merger with the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation helps ensure an individual's care plan will include all elements of a healthy life that produce health outcomes that matter to him or her.

"Healthwise has been a dream come true for me," said Kemper. "I have enjoyed the people I have worked with and the positive health impact we have made, every day, every week, and every month for the past 40 years. We have advanced the role of the patient and continue to push the boundaries of what everyday people can do to achieve the health and health care goals that they set for themselves."

Longtime Healthwise president and chief operating officer, Jim Giuffre, and Michael Barry, president of the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation and chief science officer of Healthwise, will continue in their current roles to help guide the organization. With an exceptional leadership team and a board of directors with unrivaled health care and technology experience, Healthwise expects a smooth transition.

During Kemper's 40-year tenure, Healthwise has become recognized as a national leader in health information and patient engagement. People have turned to Healthwise information more than 1.6 billion times during its 40-year history, and every minute 400 people use Healthwise information. Additionally Healthwise staff has grown from three to 275, and Healthwise is recognized for its exceptional work culture as noted by:

  • Top Small Business Award from the Wall Street Journal in 2007
  • National Psychologically Healthy Workplace award from the American Psychological Association in 2007
  • Innovative Company of the Year award from the Idaho Innovation Awards in 2010

"What Don brought to Idaho is a phenomenal, world-class company," said Jim Everett, CEO of the Treasure Valley YMCA and member of the Healthwise board of directors. "He has walked the talk. It's the healthiest place to work in this community. Don inspires us with his amazing vision, an unwavering vision. He's a big dreamer. He's a person who brings people together."

Kemper has served in national policy or advocacy roles in the following organizations:

  • National Quality Forum Board of Directors, 2011 - present
  • e-Health Initiative & Foundation for e-Health Initiative Board of Directors, 2010 - 2012
  • Founding Chairman of Hi-Ethics, Inc. (Health Internet Ethics), 1999 - 2001
  • Member of the AMA-sponsored Health Sector Assembly, 1999 - 2014
  • Founding Chairman of the Center for Information Therapy (Board member 2005 - 2010)

Kemper has co-authored numerous self-care and health policy books and articles, including:

  • Information Therapy: Prescribed Information as a Reimbursable Medical Service
  • Healthwise® for Life
  • Growing Wiser
  • Healthwise® Handbook, winner of the American Health Book Award

The Healthwise books that Kemper has co-authored have sold over 35 million copies.

Kemper announced his planned retirement now -- a full year prior to his departure -- to ensure an effective transition to his successor. The Healthwise board of directors will go through a rigorous process that will result in the selection of a successor as CEO. "Our Board is exceptionally strong, knowledgeable, and ready for the task," said Kemper. "They provide a 'true north' compass for Healthwise as we advance the mission in new and innovative ways."

The search committee is chaired by Peggy O'Kane who is also chair of the Healthwise board and the president of the National Committee for Quality Assurance. Jim Balkins, Healthwise CFO, is providing staff for the committee and is available for inquiries at

About Healthwise

Healthwise is a nonprofit organization with a mission to help people make better health decisions. In 2014, Healthwise merged with the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation to further advance the mission. People have turned to Healthwise information more than 1.6 billion times to learn how to do more for themselves, ask for the care they need, and say "no" to the care that is not right for them. Healthwise partners with hospitals, electronic medical record (EMR) providers, health plans, care management companies, and health websites to provide up-to-date, evidence-based information to the people they serve. 1.800.706.9646.

© 2015 Healthwise, Incorporated.
Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise.

Contact Information

  • Media Contact:
    Christian Lybrook
    Director of Corporate Communications
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