Atul Grover advocates for health policy solutions that transcend political divides

He Johns Hopkins Change Agents Profile is a monthly feature highlighting the impact of Johns Hopkins alumni in positions of influence in Washington, DC policymaking circles.

when the Association of American Medical Colleges threw his Institute for Research and Action In 2020, the national organization turned to one of its veteran executives, Atul Groverto run what he calls a “think-do tank.”

The institute works to redefine intractable health policy problems that have been clouded by political propaganda and highlight meaningful and realistic solutions, no matter how unpopular they may be on both sides of the aisle, said Grover, who earned a doctorate in health and public policy. of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2004.

“What I find lacking in policy discussions is something I learned at Johns Hopkins,” said Grover, a general internist with a background in health policy and economics. “And that’s getting to the basics of the policy to determine: What is the problem that we’re trying to solve?”

Occupation: Executive Director, Institute for Research and Action, Association of American Medical Colleges
Years: 52
Native city: Cheltenham, Pennsylvania
Education: PhD, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2004

As he wrote on the institute’s website: “Although I am an academic at heart, I have long lived and worked within the Beltway. What I find to be missing from most of our health policy conversations in Washington is the ability to balancing academic rigor with political feasibility in simple, actionable English. That starts with defining, and sometimes explaining, the complexity of the problem, rather than immediately jumping to solutions or slogans.”

Grover has deep ties to Johns Hopkins. He was born at Johns Hopkins Hospital when his father was completing her doctorate in public health in the early 1960s before moving to suburban Philadelphia where Grover grew up.

Grover earned a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a medical degree from the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. He then completed a residency in internal medicine at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine and earned his doctorate in health and public policy from the Bloomberg College.

He helped develop and teach “Introduction to Health Policy” to Johns Hopkins undergraduates for over a decade and occasionally teaches at the Bloomberg School.

Like most of his colleagues at Johns Hopkins and across the field of public health, Grover focused the institute’s work throughout 2020 on highlighting problems associated with the national response to COVID-19 and offering solutions. Last year it published several evidence-based guidelines to support face coverings, testing policy, and vaccine distribution, as well as guidance outlining the steps needed to end the pandemic.

In August, the institute published three articles that analyze the health policy elements contained in the Inflation Reduction Law.

Grover applied his no-nonsense, practical lens to examine why America spends so much on health care. The real problem that needs more attention is how to reduce individual costs, not what the nation spends.

“People don’t care what the United States spends on health care,” Grover said. “They care what they pay for.”

A information document on the website of the institute describe your position on how to address the real issues.

“Healthcare policy is tough,” Grover wrote on the institute’s website. “But it’s a little easier when we can clearly define the problems we’re trying to solve and agree on at least some of the achievable goals for a healthier nation. This is only possible when those of us in health and public policy are willing to publicly acknowledge the interdependencies, flaws, and politically challenging trade-offs we must face to move toward a healthier future.”

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