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David C. Colby

2016 Conference Co-Chair

David C. Colby recently retired from the role of Vice President of Policy at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Colby was the first appointee to this role at RWJF. Along with Maya MacGuineas and Kilolo Kijakazi, Colby is co-chairing the Academy’s 2016 annual policy research conference.

Colby joined RWJF as a senior program officer at RWJF in 1998, He subsequently held a number of leadership positions, including directing RWJF’s coverage and quality efforts, and serving as deputy director of its Health Care Group. From 2007-2014 he was Vice President of Research and Evaluation, leading a team dedicated to improving the nation's ability to understand key health and health care issues so that informed decisions can be made concerning the way Americans maintain health and obtain health care.

Prior to joining RWJF, Colby spent nine years in the federal government—first with the Physician Payment Review Commission, then as deputy director of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission. While working in government, Colby developed policy research contributing to landmark legislation that changed the formula for Medicare reimbursement.

Earlier in his career, Colby was associate professor in the Policy Sciences Graduate Program and coordinator of the Master of Policy Sciences Program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He was also dean of freshmen and assistant dean at Williams College and held faculty positions at Williams College and State University College at Buffalo. Colby also worked on physician payment issues as a Robert Wood Johnson Faculty Fellow in Health Care Finance, serving in the Congressional Budget Office from 1986 to 1987.

“David’s work on Medicare issues in Washington was very helpful not only to those working on the development of the program, but also in the deep background he brought to the Foundation,” said Robert D. Reischauer, distinguished Institute fellow and president emeritus of the Urban Institute, which Reischauer led from 2000 to 2012. “His work most recently in editing our compendium, Medicare and Medicaid at 50: America’s Entitlement Programs in the Age of Affordable Care. was key to the book’s success as a relevant policy tool and thorough history.”

Colby has also co-edited six volumes of To Improve Health and Health Care. His published research has focused on Medicare and Medicaid, AIDS, and civil rights. He was an associate editor of the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law from 1995 to 2002.

A member of the National Academy of Social Insurance since 2000, Colby earned his Ph.D in political science from the University of Illinois. He received a master’s degree from Ohio University, and a bachelor’s degree from Ohio Wesleyan University