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J Healthc Qual. 2009 Mar-Apr;31(2):5-9.

Interview with a quality leader--Karen Davis, executive director of The Commonwealth Fund. Interview by Lecia A. Albright.

Abstract

Karen Davis is president of The Commonwealth Fund, a national philanthropy engaged in independent research on health and social policy issues. Dr. Davis is a nationally recognized economist, with a distinguished career in public policy and research. Before joining the Fund, she served as chairman of the Department of Health Policy and Management at The Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, where she also held an appointment as professor of economics. She served as deputy assistant secretary for health policy in the Department of Health and Human Services from 1977 to 1980, and was the first woman to head a U.S. Public Health Service agency. Before her government career, Ms. Davis was a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC; a visiting lecturer at Harvard University; and an assistant professor of economics at Rice University. A native of Oklahoma, she received her PhD in economics from Rice University, which recognized her achievements with a Distinguished Alumna Award in 1991. Ms. Davis is the recipient of the 2000 Baxter-Allegiance Foundation Prize for Health Services Research. In the spring of 2001, Ms. Davis received an honorary doctorate in human letters from John Hopkins University. In 2006, she was selected for the Academy Health Distinguished Investigator Award for significant and lasting contributions to the field of health services research in addition to the Picker Award for Excellence in the Advancement of Patient Centered Care. Ms. Davis has published a number of significant books, monographs, and articles on health and social policy issues, including the landmark books HealthCare Cost Containment, Medicare Policy, National Health Insurance: Benefits, Costs, and Consequences, and Health and the War on Poverty. She serves on the Board of Visitors of Columbia University, School of Nursing, and is on the Board of Directors of the Geisinger Health System. She was elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in 1975; has served two terms on the IOM governing Council (1986-90 and 1997-2000); was a member of the IOM Committee on Redesigning Health Insurance Benefits, Payment and Performance Improvement Programs; and was awarded the Adam Yarmolinsky medal in 2007 for her contributions to the mission of the Institute of Medicine. She is a past president of the Academy Health (formerly AHSRHP) and an Academy Health distinguished fellow, a member of the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, and a former member of the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research National Advisory Committee. She also serves on the Panel of Health Advisors for the Congressional Budget Office.

PMID:
19350874
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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