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G. Lawrence Atkins

Meet the Academy's New President

G. Lawrence Atkins succeeded Janice Gregory as President of the National Academy of Social Insurance on July 1, 2012. While working as a Social Security and retirement income policy expert on the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging and as a technical adviser to Senator John Heinz (R-PA) on the 1983 National Commission on Social Security Reform, Larry was invited to join NASI as a founding member. NASI’s founder, Robert M. Ball, served on the Social Security Reform Commission with Senator Heinz, and both Senator Heinz and Senator Moynihan were active in creating NASI (including sponsorship of an unsuccessful resolution to give NASI a Congressional charter). From his initial involvement as a founding member nearly 25 years ago – and after 40 years of health and social policy analysis, development, and legislative representation at the local, state, and federal levels – Atkins is now leading NASI as its 11th President in addition to serving on NASI’s Board of Directors.  

“As the country turns to finding solutions to the rising cost of health care, NASI is fortunate that Larry Atkins has agreed to serve as President,” said Lisa Mensah, Chair of NASI’s Board of Directors and Executive Director of the Aspen Institute Initiative on Financial Security. “Larry brings decades of experience with social insurance programs to the board. We are thrilled to have a leader of his caliber.”

Until retiring from his most recent position as Executive Director, U.S. Public Policy at Merck & Company, Atkins directed the pharmaceutical company’s public policy and legislative strategy development, covering federal, state and local public policy issues. Before his time at Merck, Larry held numerous roles in health and retirement income policy in Washington, DC. He was Executive Director, Public Policy and Reimbursement at Schering-Plough Corporation, was founder and President of Health Policy Analysts, a consulting firm to Fortune 500 companies, and was Executive Director of the Corporate Health Care Coalition. He also headed a health and employee benefits policy practice in the DC office of the New York law firm Winthrop, Stimson, Putnam and Roberts.

Over the years, Atkins has authored numerous publications, chapters, and journal articles on aging, retirement income, and employee benefit topics. He also served as a member of the 1991 Social Security Advisory Commission (the “Steelman Commission”), the Technical Panel to the 1995 Social Security Advisory Commission, and most recently on NASI’s Study Panel on Health Insurance Exchanges. Atkins majored in History at Kenyon College, holds masters degrees in Education from the University of Kentucky and in Community Development from the University of Louisville, and a Ph.D. from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, where he currently serves on the Board of Overseers.

In his spare time, he “walks the walk” of healthy aging – as head coach of the triathlon team and the triathlon training program at the YMCA in Washington, DC, and a competitor in more than 60 triathlons including four Ironman competitions – and counting! While serving as NASI’s President, Atkins will also split his time between a policy consulting practice in DC, sailing at his home in Chatham on Cape Cod with his wife Cornelia, who teaches 3rdgrade at the Beauvoir School, and spending time with his son and daughter-in-law, who live in Manhattan.