Skip to content

J. Michael McGinnis

Michael McGinnis, MD, MA, MPP is a longstanding field leader in population health, through his research, publications, and actions. Awarded one of the field’s most prominent recognitions—the 2018 Fries Prize for Improving Health—he was cited for “fundamentally transforming our nation’s understanding about how to improve health by re-conceptualizing the nation’s perspective on its leading health threats [see  Actual Causes of Death in the United States (JAMA) and The Case for More Active Policy Attention to Health Promotion (Health Affairs)], and establishing the Healthy People process of national goals and objectives to target action.” In addition, as founding director of the health group at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, he conceived and led the establishment of the Health & Society Scholars Program and the Young Epidemiology Scholars Program, as well as a suite of grantmaking activities targeted to building the field of population health. Earlier, in a tenure unusual for political and policy posts, he held continuous appointments through the Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton Administrations at the Department of Health and Human Services, with policy responsibilities for disease prevention and health promotion. In this capacity, he was founder and steward of various still ongoing programs and policies, including: the Healthy People program, the HHS/USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, and the Ten Essential Services of Public Health.

Internationally, he served as chair of the World Bank/European Commission Task Force for Health Reconstruction in Bosnia; director of the World Health Organization’s smallpox eradication program in Uttar Pradesh, India, and director of the U.S.-Eastern Europe cooperative health research program. An elected member of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) and Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, he is currently NAM Senior Scholar and Leonard D. Schaeffer Executive Officer at the NAM, Executive Director and creator of the NAM Leadership Consortium for a Value & Science-Driven Health System, and founder and facilitator of its Learning Health System initiative. Educated at Berkeley (AB), UCLA (MA, MD), and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government (MPP), other honorific recognitions include the federal Distinguished Service Medal, the 1996 National Health Leader of the Year award, the 2013 national Public Health Hero Award.  Full CV is available here.