Message from the CEO

Welcome to our new website!

In January of 2016, I took over as CEO and president of WCRI. I had big shoes to fill, namely those of WCRI’s founder and executive director of more than 30 years, Dr. Richard Victor. It is not easy taking over from someone who founded an organization, especially one doing such complex and important research as WCRI. However, I benefited from a great transition plan, a strong board, a great staff, and the support of our members and supporters from across the country.

Transition can be disruptive. My first year goal in taking over as CEO and president was for the transition to be transparent to those outside the Institute. I believe we were successful, as we continue producing credible, independent, and high-quality research that is used by policymakers and system stakeholders across the country. 

That said, producing impactful research means providing research findings that are used in public policy debates to improve workers’ compensation systems. Although many rave about our research, we also hear from some of our members and non-members alike that it tends to be very scholarly and technical. With the transition behind us, I am focused on making our research more easily accessible to a broader set of stakeholders without sacrificing the rigor that has defined our work for so many years. This means developing new formats for disseminating our research, as well as exploring new ways to get the work in front of people.

An example of a new delivery vehicle is our new website, which takes into account the latest design elements and features available today. In addition to an overall cleaner design and navigation system, all users will have the ability to search our research using various filters from their phone, tablet, or desktop computer. This is just one of the ways we are working to improve how we communicate our research and what we offer, especially to policymakers and others system stakeholders.

Last year brought many changes and challenges to the workers’ compensation system. One of the more notable was the U.S. Department of Labor’s report, which questioned whether the workers’ compensation system is fulfilling its obligations to injured workers. Recent elections at the federal and state level as well as key court decisions also pose potential changes and challenges, some large, for the system in the years ahead. 

More than ever in this challenging environment, WCRI’s research is needed to move beyond the anecdotes, to better inform efforts to improve state workers’ compensation systems. Only through research and careful monitoring can we have a fruitful dialogue about the challenges and opportunities that are available in a given system. And if reforms are proposed or enacted, we are prepared to study them so that we understand the consequences, both intended and unintended.

WCRI is prepared to research the many challenges that face us in the years to come. We will continue to educate policymakers and system stakeholders and provide the sound research, credible data, and objective analysis that contribute to an informed debate while avoiding taking positions or making recommendations.

We thank our members for their generous support of our research through their data, funding, and expertise. WCRI would not be where it is today without your help.

Respectfully yours, 

John W. Ruser, Ph.D.

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