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Risa Lavizzo-Mourey Appointed Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor

A world-renowned expert in health policy and geriatric medicine, Lavizzo-Mourey has served since 2003 as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and, for fifteen years before that, as a distinguished professor and administrator at Penn.

President Amy Gutmann and Provost Vincent Price are pleased to announce the appointment of Risa Lavizzo-Mourey as the University of Pennsylvania’s nineteenth Penn Integrates Knowledge University Professor, effective January 1, 2018. She will be the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Population Health and Health Equity Professor with joint faculty appointments in the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy in the Perelman School of Medicine, the Department of Health Care Management in the Wharton School, and the Department of Family and Community Health in the School of Nursing

“Whether leading one of the nation’s largest health care philanthropies, advising the White House on health policy, or publishing prolifically in some of the world’s most influential medical journals, Risa Lavizzo-Mourey is an eminent interdisciplinary change-maker,” said Penn President Amy Gutmann. “Her exemplary contributions to geriatrics and other health fields are matched by her devotion to promoting lasting social change and improving the health of all people. We are delighted to welcome home this truly exceptional scholar, clinician, leader, and Penn alumna.”

Lavizzo-Mourey has been named eight times to the Forbes list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women and nine times by Modern Healthcare as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare. At RWJF, the nation’s largest philanthropic organization devoted to health, she spearheaded a billion-dollar initiative to reverse the nation’s childhood obesity epidemic and built programs to help people obtain better healthcare and provide research and other assistance to states implementing the Affordable Care Act. Under her leadership, the Foundation’s Commission to Build a Healthier America and its landmark 2009 report “Beyond Health Care” focused on recommendations to improve health at the local, state, and federal levels.

At Penn, Lavizzo-Mourey was Sylvan Eisman Professor of Medicine and Director of the Institute on Aging. She began her career at Penn in 1986, after earning an MBA at Wharton in Health Care Administration while completing Penn’s Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program, and during her tenure served as Associate Executive Vice President for Health Policy, Associate Dean for Health Services Research, and Chief of the Division of Geriatric Medicine.  At the federal level, she was deputy administrator of what is now the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality; worked on the White House Health Care Reform Task Force, co-chairing the working group on quality of care; has served on numerous federal advisory committees, including the Task Force on Aging Research, the National Committee for Vital and Health Statistics, and the President’s Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Health Care Industry; and is master and former regent of the American College of Physicians, where she chaired the committees on ethics and human rights, as well as a member of the American Philosophical Society. 

She has published almost a hundred original articles, editorials, and book chapters, including widely influential and highly cited articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association, New England Journal of Medicine, and Annals of Internal Medicine.  In addition to an MBA from the Wharton School, she earned an MD from Harvard Medical School and, in recognition of her far-ranging and path-breaking accomplishments, an honorary Doctor of Laws from Penn in 2010.

“Risa Lavizzo-Mourey’s work,” said Penn Provost Vincent Price, “embodies Penn’s deepest mission: using innovative, interdisciplinary research to make a tangible impact on people’s lives around the world. I am certain that she will continue to be an inspiring catalyst, colleague, mentor, and collaborator across every part of our campus in the years ahead.”

The Penn Integrates Knowledge program was launched by President Gutmann in 2005 as a University-wide initiative to recruit exceptional faculty members whose research and teaching exemplify the integration of knowledge across disciplines and who are appointed in at least two Schools at Penn.