Dustin Corcoran named CEO of Calif. Medical Association

Dustin Corcoran, a 12-year veteran of the staff of the California Medical Association, has been selected as the CMA’s new chief executive officer.

Corcoran replaces Alfred Gilchrist, who returned to Colorado to serve as the CEO of that state’s Medical Society.

The selection of Corcoran, a senior vice president who has been serving as the CMA’s interim CEO, was announced by the CMA’s governing board following a meeting.

“Over his 12 years with CMA, Dustin has an outstanding track record and has shown himself to be incredibly skilled at advocating on behalf of California physicians and understanding the issues they confront every day,” CMA President Brennan Cassidy, MD, said Friday following the meeting.

“Dustin brings tremendous leadership to CMA at the time we most need it, when physicians are fighting like never before to maintain practice viability and improve the quality of care and access to care for all of their patients.”

Before Gilchrist, who served only about three months, the top executive at the CMA had been Joe Dunn, a former state senator and attorney from Orange County.

Dunn, in conjunction with a former Senate colleague and Sacramento lobbyist-consultant Richie Ross, has since formed a new advocacy legal firm in Sacramento.

Corcoran joined CMA in 1998 as the membership coordinator for its political action committee. When an opportunity arose to work as a lobbyist under the late Steve Thompson, Corcoran jumped at the chance. Over the next six years, Thompson mentored Corcoran, who was responsible for bills related to access to care, emergency medicine, hospitals, tobacco usage, public health and health care system reform.

Corcoran played an important part in lobbying the Legislature to pass, and Gov. Gray Davis to sign, SB 2, groundbreaking legislation authored by Sen. John Burton that required employers to provide their workers with health insurance or pay a fee. The bill would have extended coverage to more than a million uninsured Californians, but voters subsequently narrowly overturned the law, after restaurants and retailers heavily financed a campaign against it.

After Thompson’s death in 2004, Corcoran took over as CMA’s head lobbyist and went on to become Senior Vice President. Corcoran was named the most effective lobbyist under 40 in 2005 by Around The Capitol and one of the 100 most powerful political brokers in California in 2009 by Capitol Weekly.

In addition to his work at CMA, Corcoran sits on the Board of Directors for the Neuropathy Action Foundation.

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