Outstanding Achievement Award: Brian Osberg

A driving force behind shaping managed healthcare in the state of Minnesota and the country, Brian Osberg, MPH '86, dedicated his career to forming policy for how past, current and future generations receive health care. A quiet leader, Brian’s tenacity and longevity left an everlasting mark on managed healthcare.

Brian will receive the University's Outstanding Achievement Award on Thursday, May 5 at the SPH Celebration of Giving & Alumni Awards. The Outstanding Achievement Award is the highest honor awarded to a graduate from the University of Minnesota.

For more than 40 years, Brian used his experience in health care management and policy to help people get the health care they need and deserve. His management experience extends across the provider, health plan and public health care purchasing sectors, and it was through his quiet leadership that Brian often ventured into unchartered territory as healthcare rapidly evolved. While in the private sector, his focus was on the development of integrated care systems in a managed care environment. His accomplishments in this realm included the formation of physician-hospital partnerships, the development of health plan-provider joint ventures, the management of provider-sponsored managed care organizations, and the creation of risk-sharing arrangements. In his last position before retiring from the National Governors Association, Brian used his talents formulating and using best practices related to Medicaid and CHIP and the intersection of those programs with other health care areas, including public health and insurance exchanges.

In 2002, he was appointed by then Governor Jesse Ventura as Assistant Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services. The next governor, Tim Pawlenty, retained Brian in this position where he stayed for 8 years, a tenure rarely seen in these types of positions. His ability to negotiate, collaborate and build bridges were themes throughout his career, a skill not often lauded, but highly effective in bringing about change. As Minnesota State Medicaid Director, he led the agency’s health care reform efforts, developed its capacity to manage its health care services including chronic care coordination and medical home, created innovative managed care products for Medicare and Medicaid clients, and developed related IT and e-health systems.

In addition to his degrees from the University of Minnesota, Brian has also completed the requisite course work for a Masters in Teaching from the University of St. Thomas. This fall, he is teaching an online course at St. Thomas in its master of business administration program. Outside of Brian's professional achievements, he has devoted time and energy serving the School of Public Health and its students and alumni. His relationship to the University is one marked by his ability not only to strategically envision next steps, but also a commitment to do the necessary work.

Soon after he earned his Master of Public Health degree, at a time when he was working to usher in new health care models, he realized that the School would be producing graduates with a knowledge deficit in this area. In turn, he took it upon himself to design and teach a class on emerging health systems, a class still offered today.

As a volunteer for the SPH Alumni Society Board of Directors, Brian continued to infuse practice-based concepts into the school’s curriculum. His belief in the strength of public health education at the University compelled him to make the lead gift to the school’s alumni scholarship fund. While serving on the National Board of Directors for the University of Minnesota Alumni Association, he helped lead fundraising efforts for the Gopher football stadium.

“My volunteer service to the University, especially to the School of Public Health, is a natural extension of the great experience I had there as a student, and it is an expression of my gratitude for all it afforded me,” says Brian. “I owe my professional success and personal development to the education I received at the U."