Ken Yamaguchi

Chief Medical Officer

Ken Yamaguchi, MD, MBA, joined Centene in April of 2015 as an Executive Vice President, Chief Medical Officer. Prior to this position, he was a full-time academic surgeon at Washington University.  He continues to maintain the position of the Sam and Marilyn Fox Distinguished Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery as part-time faculty and has been named as a Top Doctor in America by Castle Connolly yearly for nearly 20 years.

Dr. Yamaguchi received both his BA and MS from UCLA.  After earning his medical degree with distinction from George Washington School of Medicine, Yamaguchi also completed his residency there and then a fellowship in shoulder and elbow surgery at Columbia University in New York. He then did elbow training at the Mayo Clinic. He followed this with an MBA at the Olin School of Business at Washington University as well as numerous executive programs at the Olin, Kellogg, and Booth Schools of Business.

Yamaguchi is an author of more than 200 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 Orthopedic Association and American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons, Deputy Editor for the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, 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, Yamaguchi was selected to complete the American Orthopaedic Association’s prestigious John J. Fahey Memorial North American Traveling Fellowship, recognized with the Thomas M. Coffman Career Development Award from the Orthopedic Research and Education Foundation, and received the teaching awards numerous times for the Orthopaedic 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 received the Ann Donner Vaughn Kappa Delta Award, considered the Nobel Prize for lifetime achievement 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 (Wright Medical) to help develop highly successful joint replacement systems for both the shoulder and elbow.  Currently, he is the team lead in designing the next generation of shoulder replacement system for Zimmer-Biomet.

As Chief Medical Officer, he directly oversees a department of approximately 1000 personnel and indirectly, several thousand medical/affiliated personnel. Areas of responsibility include strategic input into all business initiatives including: health plan operations, national new business opportunities, international business, acquisitions, and medical strategy.  Direct oversight includes: 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, behavioral health UM operations, quality and risk adjustment, and behavioral health resourcecenter.

Dr. Yamaguchi has a daughter, Kelli, who is a graduate of NYU, Tisch School for the Arts and is currently a production manager for Bento Box Animation.  He has a son, Kyle, who is a graduate of Washington University in St Louis and is currently in the management training program at CVS-Aetna.




Centene, a Fortune 50 company, offers affordable and high-quality products to nearly 1 in 15 individuals across the nation, including Medicaid and Medicare members (including Medicare Prescription Drug Plans) as well as individuals and families served by the Health Insurance Marketplace, the TRICARE program, and individuals in correctional facilities. The Company also serves several international markets, and contracts with other healthcare and commercial organizations to provide a variety of specialty services focused on treating the whole person. Centene focuses on long-term growth and the development of its people, systems and capabilities so that it can better serve its members, providers, local communities, and government partners.