Peter Hiam , Esq

Board Member

If I were to tell you what would probably be in my obituary, you would know the dry facts of my life: white male, 75 (+?), immigrant from Canada, married, three children (46, 43 and 25), five grandchildren, resident of Cambridge for many years, graduate of Harvard College and Law School, veteran, retired lawyer, former state official, member of several non-profit boards, etc.

Although the facts are accurate, I hardly recognize myself in this description.  I have many interests.  I’m an avid but impractical gardener — put seeds in my pocket wherever I go and have grown many of them, but I have no sense of design so my garden is a jumble.  I read history, fiction, several daily newspapers; spend time in New Hampshire and Nova Scotia; and follow public affairs quite closely.  But the center of my life and energy is my family.  I’ve been blessed to have a spouse — Helen — who is my partner in every sense of the word and whom I could not image living without.  I’m also blessed to have all my children and grandchildren live nearby where I see them often, sometimes several times a day.  The one great sorrow in my fortunate and generally happy life was the loss of my eldest child almost thirty years ago, a loss I still feel practically every hour of every day.

In terms of what in my career is relevant to Health Resources in Action, my experience at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) and the Rate Setting Commission (RSC) have been the most important.  During my years at MDPH, I worked with outstanding public health experts, including David Kinloch, Ann Pettigrew, Myer Herman, and Alfred Prechette.  They were my tutors.  At the RSC, I saw public health from a different perspective – money.  I became familiar with the financing of health care, the sometimes perverse incentives that different payment systems created and the enormous political difficulties in carrying out, or sometimes even discussing, reforms.