Former HHS Assistant Secretary Joins West Health Policy Center as President

Former HHS Assistant Secretary Joins
West Health Policy Center as President

WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 18, 2012 – Michael J. O’Grady, PhD, former HHS Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, has joined the West Health Policy Center as its inaugural president. Launched by pioneering philanthropists Gary and Mary West earlier this year, the Center’s mission is to develop common sense reimbursement and regulatory proposals that will save the United States more than $100 billion in cumulative health care costs within 10 years.

During his tenure as HHS Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, O’Grady was widely recognized for increasing the rigor of the Department’s analytic and scientific work and ensuring that rigorous, accurate, and reliable data and analysis informed the Administration’s decisions.
"We are delighted to have Dr. O’Grady join us at this exciting yet challenging time,” said Gary West, founder of the Center. “With more than two decades of health policy and research leadership, Mike has the vision and the commitment to develop and translate into action the innovative, scientific, and realistic reforms needed to curb the out-of-control health care costs plaguing our nation. He will complement the efforts already underway by Rodger Currie, Senior Vice President of the West Wireless Health Institute, who is charged with implementing cost control solutions with policy makers,” West added.

“Throughout his career, Dr. O’Grady has been instrumental in the development of key federal policies to tackle the complex and controversial health issues facing the country,” said Dr. Joseph M. Smith, chairman of the West Health Policy Center’s board and Chief Medical Officer and Chief Science Officer of (WWHI). “Mike will be a critical asset to the West Health Policy Center as it develops and advances policies that lower health care costs.”

The Center’s main activities include conducting independent, non-partisan research and analysis; convening and educating stakeholders; and advancing practical and actionable health policy. It is part of a larger initiative, including WWHI and the West Health Investment Fund, created by Gary and Mary West to lower the cost of health care.

O’Grady is one of the country’s leading health policy experts, with 24 years working in senior policy and research positions in both Congress and the Administration. As the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, he directed both policy development and policy research and provided rapid, critical analyses of legislative and regulatory proposals.

Prior to his Senate confirmation as the Assistant Secretary, O’Grady held senior staff positions at the Senate Finance Committee, the Joint Economic Committee, as well as the Bipartisan Commission for the Future of Medicare, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission and the Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress.

“Our nation’s health care costs are rising at an unsustainable rate,” said O’Grady. “Gary and Mary West have created a unique ecosystem to develop innovative and practical policy options that will slow the growth of health care spending to a level the American people can actually afford. That was an irresistible draw for me, and I look forward to working with the excellent team they have brought together.”

After leaving HHS in 2006, O’Grady served as a Senior Fellow at the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago and a Principal at O’Grady Health Policy LLC where he concentrated on health policy research and analysis for public and private organizations.

He also served as Principal Investigator for the Cost Effectiveness team of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s Continuous Glucose Monitor project. The clinical trial and cost effectiveness teams were awarded the 2011 Mary Tyler Moore and S. Robert Levine, M.D., Excellence in Clinical Research Award by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

In addition, O’Grady served on the Board of Scientific Counselors at the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, and is currently the Chair of the National Academies of Sciences/Institute of Medicine’s Panel on Measuring Medical Care Risk in Conjunction with the New Supplemental Poverty Measure.

O’Grady received his Doctorate in Political Science from the University of Rochester. He will start at the Center on August 20, 2012.


The West Health Policy Center was established as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that conducts independent, non-partisan research and analysis, convenes and educates stakeholders, and advances practical and actionable health policy. A cornerstone of the Center is a competitive fellowship program in which five established researchers will be selected through a nationwide application and interview process each year based on their ability to identify at least $1 billion in actionable annual health care cost savings. The Washington, D.C.-based Policy Center is funded solely by Gary and Mary West through a multi-year, multi-million dollar commitment. The Wests also solely fund the West Wireless Health Institute and West Health Investment Fund, mission-aligned entities seeking to lower the cost of health care.


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