Dr. Peter Buerhaus is a nurse and a healthcare economist, and is well known for his studies and publications focused on the nursing and physician workforces in the United States.  He is Professor of Nursing and Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Health Workforce Studies at Montana State University. Before coming to Montana State University, Dr. Buerhaus was the Valere Potter Distinguished Professor of Nursing (2000-2015) and Professor of Health Policy (2013-2015) at Vanderbilt University, and assistant professor of health policy and management at Harvard School of Public Health (1992-2000).  During the 1980s he served as assistant to the chief executive officer of The University of Michigan Medical Center’s seven teaching hospitals (1983-1986) and assistant to the Vice Provost for Medical Affairs, the chief executive of the medical center (1987-1990).

Dr. Buerhaus maintains an active research program involving studies on the economics of the nursing workforce, forecasting nurse and physician supply, developing and testing measures of hospital quality of care, determining public and provider opinions on issues involving the delivery of health care, and assessing the quantity and quality of health care provided by nurse practitioners.  Of the more than 100 articles he has published in peer-reviewed journals, five publications are designated as “Classics” by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Patient Safety Network.  Other publications have ranked among the most widely accessed articles published in the health policy journal Health Affairs.  Dr. Buerhaus is co-author of the 2008 book The Future of the Nursing Workforce in the United States: Data, Trends, and Implications.  He has editorial responsibilities with many peer reviewed health services research and nursing journals, and has advised policy makers and legislators on nursing workforce policy.

In 2003, Dr. Buerhaus was elected into the National Academies Institute of Medicine and since1994 has been a member of the American Academy of Nursing.  He has served on the Advisory Council of the National Institutes of Health National Institute of Nursing Research (2001-2006), National Quality Forum Steering Committee on Nursing Quality Performance Measures (2004-2005), Board of Directors of Sigma Theta Tau International (2001-2005), and The Joint Commission’s Nursing Advisory Committee (2003-2010).  He is currently an expert advisor for the Bipartisan Policy Center’s health care workforce initiative, and is a member of the Institute of Medicine Committee on Graduate Medical Education Governance and Transparency.

Dr. Buerhaus earned his baccalaureate degree in nursing from Mankato State University (1976), a master’s degree in nursing health services administration from The University of Michigan (1981), master’s degree in community health nursing from Wayne State University (1983), a doctoral degree from at Wayne State University (1990), and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation post doctoral faculty fellowship in health care finance at The Johns Hopkins University from 1991-1992.

On September 30, 2010, Dr. Buerhaus was appointed to Chair the National Health Workforce Commission that was established under The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  Among other responsibilities, the Commission (once funded) will provide advice to the Congress and to the President on national health care workforce policy.