Stevenson to serve as interim chair of Health PolicyJul. 10, 2023, 9:40 AM
by Jill Clendening
David Stevenson Jr., PhD, MS, professor of Health Policy, has been named interim chair of the Department of Health Policy at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He succeeds Melinda Buntin, PhD, Mike Curb Professor and founding chair of the department, who has joined Johns Hopkins University to establish a Center for Health Systems and Policy Modeling.
Stevenson has been a member of the Department of Health Policy since it was established in 2013. The department includes a multidisciplinary group of scholars who conduct research to inform improvements in health care delivery and population health.
“The Department of Health Policy is important to our mission. It continues to play a vital role in national issues, providing valuable insights that help drive the development of state and national health policy, along with providing key research findings that shape our understanding of public health issues like prescription drug pricing and health insurance coverage,” said Jeff Balser, MD, PhD, President and CEO of VUMC and Dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. “Dr. Stevenson’s career as a national leader in health policy and his tenure within the department have him well qualified for this new role. I want to thank him for his service as interim chair.”
In 2018, Stevenson was promoted to professor of Health Policy, and in 2019 he was honored with an inaugural Endowed Directorship in Public Health Research and Education. Before joining VUMC, he served on the faculty of the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School.
Stevenson received a bachelor’s degree in religion from Oberlin College, a master’s degree in health policy and management from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He earned a doctorate degree in health policy from Harvard University. He has worked in various research and policy settings, including the U.S. Department of Public Health, the Urban Institute and Medstat.
Stevenson’s work focuses on educational activities, including mentoring and teaching medical students, residents and fellows. He serves as vice chair for Education in the Department of Health Policy, as director of Health Policy Education and directs the Health Policy Track in the Master of Public Health Program at the School of Medicine. He also serves as faculty co-chair of the Medical School Committee for Admissions.
Stevenson is a national expert in long-term care and end-of-life care policy research, and he was a member of the consensus committee that produced the 2022 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report on Nursing Home Quality. He now serves as committee co-chair of the Moving Forward Nursing Home Quality Coalition, a national initiative to realize the vision of this report.
He has presented on this and other work before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging and various federal agencies such as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the Department of Justice and the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission.
Stevenson also serves on the Technical Expert Panel for the National Nursing Home Five Star Rating system and previously served on a similar Technical Expert Panel for Hospice Compare. Stevenson’s research has been cited and has factored directly into the Biden administration’s recommendations around nursing home transparency and accountability.
Stevenson has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed articles, review articles, books and chapters. He serves on the editorial board of Health Services Research, the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management and the Journal of the American Medical Director’s Association.
“A primary role of the chair, interim or not, is to support and promote the department’s work as a whole,” Stevenson said. “This is made much easier by the fact that we’re doing high-quality, impactful research and that we’re incredibly supportive of each other. Honestly, several people in the department would have been willing and able to serve in this role. And each one of us would have benefited from the vision and momentum that already existed in the department, due in large part to the efforts of Dr. Buntin, support from Dr. Balser and VUMC leadership, and the dedication of our faculty and staff.
“My role is to keep the department moving forward and ensure that our next chair benefits from the commitment to excellence and good will that have defined our first decade as a department. Perhaps most of all, I’m excited to help serve as a bridge to our next decade as a department and to the opportunities and ideas a new chair will help us define and pursue.”
A 14-member committee, led by Steven Webber, MBChB, MRCP, chair of the Department of Pediatrics, James C. Overall Professor and pediatrician-in-chief at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, has been appointed to conduct a national search to identify the department’s permanent leader.