Ken Yamaguchi, MD, MBA, retired from Centene Corp. in June 2022 after seven years as an executive vice president and chief medical officer. Previously, he was the Sam and Marilyn Fox Distinguished Professor at Washington University School of Medicine. During his tenure at Centene, he continued clinical work as part-time faculty at Washington University. He now is a professor at Northwestern University School of Medicine and has been named as a Top Doctor in America by Castle Connolly for nearly 25 years.
Dr. Yamaguchi received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UCLA. After earning his medical degree with distinction from George Washington School of Medicine, he completed his residency there, followed by a fellowship in shoulder and elbow surgery at Columbia University in New York. He then did elbow training at the Mayo Clinic. Next, he earned an MBA at the Olin School of Business at Washington University and participated in numerous executive programs at the Olin, Kellogg, and Booth Schools of Business.
Dr. Yamaguchi is an author of more than 175 publications and has given more than 150 presentations nationally and internationally. Invited professorships have included Johns Hopkins University, Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, Brown, Dartmouth, Peking University, and Oxford University. He has had numerous leadership positions in medicine, including: Executive Committees of the American Orthopaedic Association and American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons, deputy editor for the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, member of the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, and treasurer of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.
The recipient of various awards and honors throughout his career, Dr. Yamaguchi was selected to complete the American Orthopaedic Association’s prestigious John J. Fahey, MD, Memorial North American Traveling Fellowship. He was also recognized with the Thomas M. Coffman Career Development Award from the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation and received teaching awards numerous times from the Orthopedic Department. In 2014, he received the Distinguished Teaching Award from the Washington University School of Medicine, given to only one member among the entire school faculty. In 2014, he also received the Kappa Delta Ann Doner Vaughn Award, considered the premier international achievement for lifetime work in orthopedic research. At Olin Business School, he was voted by classmates to receive the Class Ambassador Medallion Award as the person who best exemplified the values of his class and program.
Dr. Yamaguchi has also been active in medical device innovation. He has worked with Zimmer Biomet Corp. and Tornier Corp. (Stryker Medical) to help develop highly successful joint replacement systems for both the shoulder and elbow. Currently, he is one of the team leads in designing the next-generation shoulder replacement system for Zimmer Biomet.
As an executive vice president and chief medical officer at Centene, he directly oversaw a department of approximately 1,000 personnel and, indirectly, several thousand medical/affiliated personnel. He was part of the executive management team of five people, which effectively oversaw all business operations and strategy for Centene. Areas of responsibility covered strategic input into all business initiatives, including: health plan operations, national new business opportunities, international business, acquisitions, and medical strategy. Direct oversight included: clinical programs, clinical policy committee, pharmacy and therapeutics committee, precision drug committee, payment policies and coverage, data governance, clinical analytics, corporate utilization management, population health strategy, Medicare UM, behavioral health UM operations, quality and risk adjustment, and the behavioral health resource center.
Dr. Yamaguchi joined the Board of Trustees of Claremont Graduate University in 2023.