Vanderbilt University Medical Center Names David Stevenson, PhD, MS, Chair of Department of Health Policy

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Vanderbilt University Medical Center Names David Stevenson, PhD, MS, Chair of Department of Health Policy

30 Oct, 2023

David Stevenson, Ph.D., M.S., Professor of Health Policy, has been named chair of the Department of Health Policy at Vanderbilt University Medical Center effective Oct. 1. Stevenson began serving as interim chair in July, succeeding former chair Melinda Buntin, Ph.D. He 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. A 14-member committee led by Steven Webber, MBChB, MRCp, James C. Overall Professor and chair of the Department of Pediatrics, conducted a national search to identify the department’s permanent leader.

“I want to thank Dr. Stevenson for his service as interim chair and welcome him as the newest member of our leadership team. I am confident that with his vision and leadership skills, the department will continue to advance as a national leader, providing vital insights that will help shape the quality and delivery of health care,” said Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., President and CEO of VUMC and Dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

“I also want to express my appreciation to Dr. Webber and the other members of the search committee for their important work on this search.”

In 2018, Stevenson was promoted to professor of health policy, and in 2019, he was honored with an inaugural endowed directorship in health policy 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 and a master’s degree in health policy and management from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He earned a doctorate in health policy from Harvard University. He has worked in various research and policy settings, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Urban Institute, and Medstat.

Stevenson has served as vice chair for education in the Department of Health Policy, as director of health policy education, and co-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. He is a national expert in long-term care and end-of-life care policy research and 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.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve as chair of the Department of Health Policy,” said Stevenson. “We have a great foundation to build on because of the amazing faculty and staff who work in the department. This foundation is further strengthened by the support we have from Dr. Balser, Dr. Pietenpol, and others across the medical center, with whom I look forward to collaborating. I’m excited to support the department’s continued work in producing high-quality, impactful research and training the next generation of health policy and public health scholars. Working together, I’m confident that we can identify new opportunities for excellence and expand our impact even further.”

About Vanderbilt University Medical Center

The Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) is a prominent medical provider located in Nashville, Tennessee, encompassing multiple hospitals, clinics, and facilities throughout Middle Tennessee. As an independent non-profit organization, VUMC maintains strong academic affiliations with Vanderbilt University. The health system is substantial, with over 3 million patient visits annually, a workforce of 40,000, and 1,709 licensed hospital beds as of 2022.

VUMC is comprised of various units including the Vanderbilt University Adult Hospital, Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, and several others. The center is renowned for its teaching hospital and has made significant strides in electronic medical records. The medical center is involved in extensive research activities, with Vanderbilt biomedical scientists conducting over $616 million of federally and corporately sponsored research.

In 2016, Vanderbilt University and VUMC became separate entities, though they continue to cooperate closely, with VUMC clinicians serving as faculty members at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. The medical center is also a leader in patient care, operating the only Level 1 trauma center, Level 4 neonatal intensive care unit, and Level 3 burn unit in its region.

About Dr. David Stevenson

David Stevenson, Ph.D., is a Professor of Health Policy at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, serving in the Department of Health Policy. His primary research interests encompass aging, end-of-life care, and long-term care, with a particular focus on the quality and safety of care. Dr. Stevenson has extensively explored various topics within these domains, including the evolution of Medicare’s hospice benefit, the impact of ownership on hospice and nursing home care, and the regulatory oversight of hospice agencies and nursing homes.

In addition to his research endeavors, Dr. Stevenson is deeply committed to educational activities, including mentorship and teaching for medical students, residents, and fellows. He holds the position of Vice Chair for Education in his department, serves as the Health Policy Track Director in Vanderbilt’s Master of Public Health program, and co-chairs the MD Admissions Committee at Vanderbilt. Dr. Stevenson is also the inaugural holder of an endowed directorship in health policy education.

Dr. Stevenson earned his BA in Religion from Oberlin College, an SM in Health Policy and Management from the Harvard School of Public Health, and a Ph.D. in Health Policy from Harvard University. Prior to his tenure at Vanderbilt, he was a faculty member in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School.


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