John Garrison served as Chief Executive Officer of the American Lung Association®, America’s oldest national volunteer health agency from July 1990 through June 2001. Prior to that he had been the Chief Executive Officer of Easter Seals from 1978-1990. He now heads his own consulting business, J.R. Garrison and Associates. He is currently under contract to provide Cherish Our Children International, an international humanitarian organization, the leadership it seeks to make it a major player on the world scene.
The mission of Cherish Our Children International is to promote nurturing alternatives to institutional settings and to prevent the abandonment of children. Cherish Our Children International currently supports impoverished and abandoned children in Serbia, Romania, Kenya, and the United States.
Mr. Garrison has been a national leader in the battle against the tobacco industry and in the fight for clean air. Mr. Garrison was the only voluntary health association executive to oppose giving the tobacco industry legal immunity during the industry’s 1997 tobacco settlement negotiations with the state attorneys general. This led former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop to describe him as “a man of integrity not easily swayed by public opinion.”
As a public health advocate, he has made multiple media appearances on NBC’s Today Show and the Lehrer Newshour. He also has appeared frequently on CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX and CNN network news. He has co-hosted World Business Review with both Casper Weinberger and Alexander Haig where he served as the public health expert. One of the Haig segments won two prestigious awards.
Mr. Garrison has served on the board of directors of the National Health Council, where he is a past Chairman. He served six years on the board of directors of Independent Sector and also served on the advisory panel to the National Charities Information Bureau Standards Review Project. He, along with Dr. C. Everett Koop, served as one of two non-Minnesotans, on the board of the Minnesota Partnership for Action Against Tobacco. He also was a member of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations' Hospital Professional and Technical Advisory Committee and currently is a member of their Public Advisory Committee on Health Care Quality. He served on the board of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, and now serves on the boards of the National Board for Respiratory Care, the Coalition for World No Tobacco Day, and Health Care Choices. He is an adjunct assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
He was recognized by Business Week in March 1990, as one of America's five top social service executives. He was also profiled in The Foundation Center's book Careers for Dreamers and Doers and authored an article on strategic management in United Way's guideline book, Making It Work. He is listed in Who’s Who in America.
While at Easter Seals he was a forceful advocate for disability rights. The December 1991 issue of "Money Magazine" named Easter Seals to its honor roll of the ten best-managed charities in America. The decision was based on Easter Seals operations over a three-year period in which all but the last four months occurred during Mr. Garrison’s tenure as chief executive officer.
Prior to joining Easter Seals in 1978, Mr. Garrison was executive vice president of the Hospital Association of New York State (HANYS), with the responsibility for day-to-day operations. He oversaw programs in labor relations, public relations, health planning, health finance, group insurance, and management training for the association, which represented more than 300 non-profit and public hospitals.
Mr. Garrison joined HANYS in 1975, after two years as deputy commissioner for administration of the New York State Department of Health. Prior to that position, he had served for seven
years on the staffs of Governor Nelson Rockefeller and Lieutenant Governor Malcolm Wilson of New York with particular involvement in health and social welfare issues.
Mr. Garrison graduated from Harvard College and received his master's degree in public administration from New York University's Wagner School of Public Affairs where he finished first in his class. He is a recipient of a distinguished alumnus Torch Award from the Wagner School. He has received an honorary doctorate degree from Bellevue University in Bellevue, Nebraska.
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