Sarah Goodwin

Kathi Ovnic
Holly Korschun
October 4, 1999

Former deputy assistant secretary of Health and Human Services Kenneth E. Thorpe, Ph.D., has been named Robert W. Woodruff Professor and Chair of the department of health policy and management at the Rollins School of Public Health of Emory University.

Dr. Thorpe brings to Emory his reputation for critically and constructively evaluating the U.S. health care system, particularly in regards to its financing strategies and provisions for the uninsured. He is widely sought after as a policy resource for government and private entities, as well as for national media. In his first weeks at Emory he was invited by the Republican Main Street Partnership to discuss the future of employer-sponsored insurance. He served in the Clinton Administration from 1993 to 1995, and in that capacity he advised both the President and Vice President on health policy issues.

"For more than a decade, Ken Thorpe has been an important figure in national and local debate involving the structure, delivery and financing of health care," says James W. Curran, M.D., dean, Rollins School of Public Health. "Our students and faculty will benefit enormously from Dr. Thorpe's expertise and unique perspective on health financing strategies and how they impact the public health."

Dr. Thorpe comes to Emory from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, where he has held the Vanselow Chair of Health Policy, directed the Institute for Health Services Research and served as professor of health systems management since 1995.

In 1991, Dr. Thorpe was a member of the Institute of Medicine's Panel on the Future of Employer-Sponsored Health Benefits and served as a consultant to the National Leadership Coalition for Health Care Reform.

In 1993-94, he worked at the White House as chair of the Quantitative Impacts of Health Reform section of President Bill Clinton's Health Care Reform Task Force.

Dr. Thorpe was named Deputy Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) in 1993, and for two years worked closely with HHS Secretary Donna Shalala on a number of public health and health policy issues. While there, he served as the U.S. representative to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) conference on health reform. He has also served as a resource person for health sector reform in Asia.

Dr. Thorpe has been called to speak before a number of U.S. House and Senate committees, most recently being the Senate Finance Committee (Applying the FEHBP to Medicare -- May 21, 1997) and the Senate Aging Committee (Structure Reforms in the Medicare Program ­ May 19, 1997). He has published widely in peer-reviewed journals, including New England Journal of Medicine, Health Affairs and the Journal of the American Medical Association.

While at Emory, Dr. Thorpe says he hopes to expand the department's research portfolio and develop a series of innovative and new executive training programs. He wants to expand the school's collaboration with Emory's schools of business, law and nursing.

In 1993, Dr. Thorpe received the Up and Comers Award from Modern Healthcare magazine. He has also served on the health policy faculty at the schools of public health at University of North Carolina, Harvard and Columbia.

Dr. Thorpe earned a bachelor's in political science from the University of Michigan, a master's in public policy from Duke University and a doctorate in public policy from Rand Graduate Institute, where he received the Herbert Goldhamer Award as the top graduating doctoral student.