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Brian Smedley

2012 Conference Speaker

Brian D. Smedley, one of the expert speakers at NASI’s 2012 conference, is Vice President and Director of the Health Policy Institute of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Washington, DC. In this position, Smedley oversees all of the operations of the Institute, which was started in 2002 with funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The Institute has a dual focus: to explore disparities in health and to generate policy recommendations on longstanding health equity concerns.

“Brian Smedley has dedicated his career to reducing our nation’s health disparities,” said Maya Rockeymoore, President and CEO of Global Policy Solutions.  “We have a health care system that leaves some communities isolated, where health outcomes can vary based on race, ethnicity and income. Brian’s work has called attention to this problem and led to innovative policies aimed to improving the situation. He is an incredible resource for the Joint Center, as well as to anyone looking to end the health equity problem that exists.”

Formerly, Smedley was Research Director and co-founder of a communications, research and policy organization, The Opportunity Agenda, where he led the organization’s effort to center equity in state and national health reform discussions and to build the national will to expand opportunity for all. To that end, Smedley is a co-editor, along with Alan Jenkins, of the book, All Things Being Equal: Instigating Opportunity in an Inequitable Time.

Prior to helping launch The Opportunity Agenda, Smedley was a Senior Program Officer in the Division of Health Sciences Policy of the Institute of Medicine (IOM), where he served as Study Director for the IOM reports, In the Nation’s Compelling Interest: Ensuring Diversity in the Health Care Workforceand Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care, among other reports on diversity in the health professions and minority health research policy. 

Smedley came to the IOM from the American Psychological Association, where he worked on a wide range of social, health, and education policy topics in his capacity as Director for Public Interest Policy. Prior to working at the APA, Smedley served as a Congressional Science Fellow in the office of Rep. Robert C. Scott (D-VA), sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. 

Among his awards and distinctions, in 2004 Smedley was honored by the Rainbow/PUSH coalition as a Health Trailblazer award winner; in both 2002 and 2009 he was awarded the Congressional Black Caucus Healthcare Hero award; and in August, 2002, was awarded the Early Career Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest by the APA. Smedley holds an undergraduate degree from Harvard University, along with an M.A. and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, both from UCLA.

Smedley lives in Silver Spring with his wife and two children, ages nine and six, and enjoys playing the drums, photography, and cooking