Karen Davis, Ph.D.

President, The Commonwealth Fund

Karen Davis, Ph.D., is president of The Commonwealth Fund, a national philanthropy engaged in independent research on health and social policy issues. Dr. Davis has had 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 was also a professor of economics. The first woman to head a U.S. Public Health Service agency, she served as deputy assistant secretary for health policy in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 1977-1980. Prior to that, she was a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a visiting scholar at Harvard University, and an assistant professor of economics at Rice University. She has written extensively on health and social policy issues, including the books Health and the War on Poverty: A Ten Year Appraisal, and National Health Insurance: Benefits, Costs, and Consequences. Dr. Davis received the Baxter Health Services Research Award in 2000, the AcademyHealth Distinguished Investigator Award, and the Picker Award for Excellence in the Advancement of Patient Centered Care in 2006. She has been awarded honorary doctorates from Johns Hopkins University, the University of Maryland Baltimore, and Newcastle University in the United Kingdom. She is on the Board of Directors of the Geisinger Health System, an AcademyHealth distinguished fellow, a member of the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, and serves on the Panel of Health Advisors for the Congressional Budget Office. She was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2009.