Jessie Gruman is president of the Center for Advancing Health, a nonpartisan Washington-based policy institute funded by foundations and individuals in 1992 to work on patient engagement: people will not benefit from the health care available to them unless they can participate fully and competently in it. Dr. Gruman draws on her own experience of treatment for four cancer diagnoses, surveys, peer-reviewed research and interviews with patients and caregivers as the basis of her work to describe – and advocate for policies and practices to overcome – the challenges people face in finding and good care and getting the most from it.


Dr. Gruman has worked on this same set of concerns in the private sector (AT&T), the public sector (National Cancer Institute) and the voluntary health sector (American Cancer Society). She holds a B.A. from Vassar College and a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Columbia University and is a Professorial Lecturer in the School of Public Health and Health Services at The George Washington University. She serves on the board of trustees of the Center for Medical Technology Policy and the Technical Board of the Milbank Memorial Fund.


Dr. Gruman was honored by Research!America for her leadership in advocacy for health research and received honorary doctorates from Brown University, Carnegie Mellon University, Clark University, Georgetown University, New York University, Northeastern University, Salve Regina University and Tulane University, and the Presidential Medal of The George Washington University. She is a Fellow of the Society for Behavioral Medicine, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Council on Foreign Relations.


Dr. Gruman is the author of The Experience of the American Patient: Risk, Trust and Choice (Health Behavior Media, 2009); Behavior Matters (Health Behavior Media, 2008) and AfterShock: What to Do When the Doctor Gives You – or Someone You Love – a Devastating Diagnosis (Walker Publishing, second edition, 2010), as well as scientific papers and opinion essays and articles. She blogs regularly on the Prepared Patient Forum.


Recent Posts by Jessie Gruman

What Do Patients Need From Clinicians? Jessie Gruman On Patient Engagement

Editor's note: The February issue of Health Affairs was a thematic issue focused on patient engagement. In conjunction with the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), the journal has launched a new initiative inviting questions from patients and others via Facebook for Health...

Hospitals, Practice Administrators and Clinicians: You Gotta Learn to Love Patient Ratings

You are increasingly being held accountable for the outcomes of the health care you deliver. Pay for performance; shared savings in ACOs; public report cards…the list of strategies to monitor and measure the effects of your efforts is lengthening. Many of you seem dismayed by the increased...

Patient Advocates: Flies In The Ointment Of Evidence-Based Care

The women recounted how their lives had been saved as they pleaded for the Food and Drug Administration not to withdraw approval for Avastin as a treatment for advanced breast cancer. They did so even without evidence that it provides benefit and with evidence that it confers risks. Their...

A Valentine To Shared Decision Making

Shared decision making is hot right now. Research.  Surveys.  Tools.  Training.  Conferences.  Policies. The current model of shared decision making consists of providing patients with evidence that allows them to compare the risks and side effects of different treatments or preventive services...