Prominent Health Care Economist and Higher Education Leader Deborah Freund Joins the RAND Corporation

For Release

September 10, 2015

Deborah Freund, a prominent health care economist and higher education leader, has been appointed to the RAND Corporation's Paul O'Neill Alcoa Professorship in Policy Analysis, RAND President and CEO Michael D. Rich announced today.

Freund will be based in RAND's Santa Monica office and expects to work on a variety of health and higher education issues, including how some states are using unique approaches to expand or improve Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act.

“We are excited and honored to have Deborah Freund join our staff, and we look forward to her contributions in many public policy domains,” Rich said.

Freund said she looks forward to working with RAND colleagues from a wide variety of disciplines.

“I enjoy working on difficult problems with people who approach things differently than I do,” she said. “I've often said that I did interdisciplinary research before the term even existed.”

Freund's research has focused on issues related to managed care for Medicaid patients, outcome measurement in orthopedic treatment and pharmacoeconomics, a field that she helped pioneer. She has just completed a term as president of Claremont Graduate University.

She served as vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost at Syracuse University from 1999 to 2006. While at Syracuse, she also held the title of distinguished professor of public administration in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

Prior to that, Freund was vice chancellor for academic affairs and dean of the faculties at Indiana University. She also served as associate dean of Indiana University's School of Public and Environmental Affairs, and was director of its Bowen Research Center.

She is the recipient of the Kershaw Prize given to the best young scholar under 40 by the Association of Public Policy Analysis and Management, the J.S. Drotman Award from the American Public Health Association to recognize the individual younger than 30 who has challenged public health in a creative manner, and the Board of Trustees Award from the American Hospital Association.

Among her past research projects is one that revised the way the Australian government reviews the effectiveness of new drugs and pays for their use, and another that established a database now used by many of major health insurers to determine what they should pay for out-of-network claims.

Her current board service includes Cedars Sinai Health System, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, the Inland Empire Economic Partnership and the Los Angeles County Fair Association. She also has served on the board of Excellus Blue Cross and Blue Shield, MedAmerica, the Health Research and Education Trust and Academy Health. She chaired the boards of the Association of University Programs in Health Administration and the medical care section of the American Public Health Association.

The Paul O'Neill Alcoa Professorship in Policy Analysis was established in December 2000 as O'Neill was completing his services as chairman of the board of Alcoa and as chairman of the RAND board of trustees. Alcoa is the world's leading producer of primary aluminum. The Alcoa Foundation, working in 26 countries, is a global resource actively investing in improving the quality of life in Alcoa communities worldwide.

RAND Health is the nation's largest independent health policy research program, with a broad research portfolio that focuses on health care costs, quality and public health preparedness, among other topics.

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