Lyla Hernandez has devoted her career to improving the provision of health care at the intersection of public health and medicine, to providing training and improving training programs for public health and medical practice, and to designing statistical systems for monitoring and improving population health and the provision of medical care.
She has pursued these goals by collaborating with health care providers and scientists in both public and non-governmental settings, and for the past 22 years at the Institute of Medicine (IOM), now the Health and Medicine Division of The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. In recognition of her innovative leadership in public health and medicine, Ms. Hernandez has been honored to receive the National Academies Lifetime Achievement Award, and the IOM award for “contributions to IOM reports of exceptional quality and influence.”
Upon completion of a Masters of Public Health in Health Education and Medical Care Administration at the University of California, Berkeley, Ms. Hernandez coordinated a program establishing quality assurance programs in hospitals, ambulatory care facilities, and skilled nursing facilities, and subsequently served as Associate Director of a nation-wide training program, and then Executive Director of the American Medical Peer Review Association. This work included identifying training needs for programs aimed at assessing the quality of medical care, and planning and conducting more than 70 workshops and other trainings on nearly two dozen topics.
Lyla Hernandez has directed more than a dozen IOM studies. One set of studies focused on assessing clinical evaluation programs of the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs, and on how best to measure health over time. Outcomes included a new longitudinal cohort study implemented by DoD to systematically and comprehensively measure health care needs of military personnel upon entry, and then through pre- and post-deployment periods. A second set of studies identified the most critical leading-indicators for assessing the changing health of Americans, and developed recommendations for how best to measure the achievement of specific goals set forth in Healthy People 2020. A third set identified trans-disciplinary studies needed to assess interactions among social, behavioral, and genetic factors in health, how best to design studies of complementary and alternative medicine, and how to value non-clinical community-based wellness strategies. A fourth set assessed the national need for training physicians for public health careers, and identified eight core issues that need to be addressed in training public health experts for the 21″ Century, which the American Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health used to spearhead the revision of public health curricula across the county.
Most recently Lyla Hernandez directed two IOM roundtables bringing together leaders from government, academia, industry, foundations, associations, patient communities and other stakeholder groups. The roundtable on Translating GenomicBased Research for Health addressed global issues surrounding the translation of genomics and genetics findings into medicine, public health, education, and policy. The roundtable on Health Literacy aimed at informing, inspiring, and activating a wide variety of stakeholders to support the development, implementation and sharing of evidence-based health literacy practices and policies with the goal of improving the health and well-being of all people. That roundtable envisions a society in which the demands of the health and health care systems are respectful of and aligned with people’s skills, abilities, and values.