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Sara Rosenbaum

Co-chair of a new Academy Study Panel on the Role of Medicaid in Building a Culture of Health

Sara Rosenbaum, J.D., is the Harold and Jane Hirsh Professor of Health Law and Policy and Founding Chair of the Department of Health Policy at George Washington University’s  Milken Institute School of Public Health. She holds a Professorship by Courtesy in the George Washington Law School and is a member of the faculty of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Rosenbaum has recently been appointed a co-chair of the Academy’s new study panel, The Role of Medicaid in Building a Culture of Health. The Medicaid Culture of Health project, funded by a generous grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, aims to understand the role that Medicaid has to play in improving the wellbeing of beneficiaries by addressing the social determinants of health and developing a Culture of Health within communities. The Academy will convene a study panel of experts from a diversity of professional backgrounds and topics of expertise to develop recommendations for policymakers, health decision-makers, and leaders of local, state, and federal programs serving Medicaid recipients.

Rosenbaum has devoted her professional career to issues of health justice for populations who are medically underserved as a result of race, poverty, disability, or cultural exclusion. Her most notable work has been on the expansion of Medicaid, the expansion of community health centers, patients' rights in managed care, civil rights and health care, and national health reform. Between 1993 and 1994, she worked for President Clinton, directing the drafting of the Health Security Act and designing the Vaccines for Children program, which offers near-universal coverage of vaccines for low income and medically underserved children. Rosenbaum also regularly advises state governments on health policy matters and has served as a testifying expert in legal actions involving the rights of children under Medicaid. Additionally, she serves as the Commissioner on the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC), which advises Congress on federal Medicaid policy.

“Sara Rosenbaum is deservedly known and rightly respected as one of the nation’s best thinkers, writers, and doers in service to the nation’s poor,” said Gerry Shea, Senior Advisor to the Board of the Academy. “She is among the best of the best.”

An honored teacher and scholar, a highly popular speaker, and a widely read writer on many aspects of health law and policy, Rosenbaum has emphasized public engagement as a core element of her professional life, providing public service to six Presidential Administrations and fifteen Congresses since 1977. Rosenbaum also served on the Presidential Transition Team for President-Elect Obama. She is the leading author of Law and the American Health Care System, 2d ed., published by Foundation Press, May, 2012, a landmark textbook that provides an in-depth exploration of the interaction of American law and the U.S. health care system. She has received national awards for her work, serves on governmental advisory committees, private organizational and foundation boards, and is a past Chair of AcademyHealth. She is a member of the CDC Director's Advisory Committee, the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP).

A graduate of Wesleyan University and Boston University Law School, Rosenbaum has been a member of the Academy since 1994. She is also the mother of an acclaimed theater director.