Samuel O. Thier

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Samuel Osiah Thier (born June 23, 1937)[1] is professor of Medicine and Health Care Policy at Harvard University.[2]

He previously served as the president of Brandeis University from 1991–1994[3] and the president of the Massachusetts General Hospital from 1994-96. Thier is an authority on internal medicine and kidney disease and is also known for his expertise in national health policy, medical education and biomedical research.

Early life and education[edit]

Thier was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1937. He attended Cornell University, and then earned a Doctor of Medicine degree in 1960 from the State University of New York at Syracuse.[4] In addition, he has received sixteen honorary degrees and the UC Medal of the University of California, San Francisco.


Thier began his career at the Massachusetts General Hospital, progressing from Intern in 1960, to Chief Resident in Medicine in 1966, to Assistant in Medicine and Chief of the Renal Unit in 1967.

He served as Associate Director of Medical Services at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and then Vice Chairman of the Department of Medicine at the University’s School of Medicine.

In 1975, he became Chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine at Yale University School of Medicine, where he was the Sterling Professor, and Chief of Medical Service at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

Thier served as President of the Institute of Medicine, United States National Academies, from 1985 to 1991.[5]

Thier was the President of Brandeis University from 1991 to 1994. At Brandeis, he was largely credited with improving the financial situation of the institution.

Thier was the President of Massachusetts General Hospital. He continues to teach at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Partners HealthCare[edit]

Main article: Partners HealthCare

In 1994 Thier became president of the newly-formed Partners HealthCare, founded by Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). From 1996 to 2002 he was CEO of Partners HealthCare.[6][7][6] Thier led Partners' efforts to demand higher payments from insurance companies.[8] In May 2000 Thier and William C. Van Faasen, CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts— the state's biggest health insurer—shook hands on a quiet deal that raised insurance costs all across Massachusetts. They agreed that Van Faasen would substantially increase insurance payments to Partners HealthCare doctors and hospitals while CEO Thier would not allow other insurers to pay less than Blue Cross.[6]


Thier has had many leadership positions, including membership on the Board of Trustees of Yale-New Haven Hospital, Johns Hopkins University, and Cornell University. Thier continues to teach several undergraduate lectures at Brandeis University each semester. In 2007 he served as director of Merck & Company, the Charles River Laboratories, The Commonwealth Fund and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston[9]

Awards and honors[edit]

He was named Honorary Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the American Philosophical Society. He received the John Stearns Medal for Distinguished Contributions in Medicine from the New York Academy of Medicine in 2005.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ "Former Partners HealthCare CEO to Discuss Future of Health Care System". Harvard Public Health Now. 19 March 2004. Retrieved 2 December 2010. 
  3. ^ "Samuel O. Thier - 1991 to 1994". Brandeis University. Retrieved 2 December 2010. 
  4. ^ "Overseer since 2003". TIAA-CREF. Retrieved 2 December 2010. 
  5. ^ "Brandeis University Selects Samuel Thier As Its New President," New York Times. May 5, 1991.
  6. ^ a b c Scott Allen, Marcella Bombardieri (28 December 2008), A handshake that made healthcare history, Boston Globe, retrieved 11 July 2015 
  7. ^ "History of Partners", Partners, nd, retrieved 11 July 2015 
  8. ^ "Unhealthy System: Is medical giant Partners HealthCare good for Massachusetts?". The Boston Globe. The Boston Globe Spotlight team. 2008. Retrieved 11 July 2015. 
  9. ^ "Boston Fed Announces 2007 Board of Directors", Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, 2007, retrieved 11 July 2015 
  10. ^ "The John Stearns Medal for Distinguished Contributions in Medicine". New York Academy of Medicine. Retrieved February 19, 2011.