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Dr. Sommers is the Huntley Quelch Professor of Health Care Economics at the Harvard School of Public Health and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is a health economist and a primary care physician whose main research interests are health policy for marginalized populations, health insurance and the affordability of care, and the health care safety net. He has received numerous awards for his research, including the Outstanding Dissertation Award, Alice Hersh New Investigator Award, the Article-of-the-Year Award, and the Health Services Research Impact Award from AcademyHealth, a preeminent national association of health policy researchers; and the Outstanding Junior Investigator Award from the Society of General Internal Medicine. He was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2019. His research has been published in leading journals including the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, Journal of Health Economics, and Health Affairs. His research has been profiled in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and National Public Radio. He has testified before Congress and advised state Medicaid programs.
Dr. Sommers has served in the federal government in multiple leadership roles. In January 2021, he was appointed by President Biden as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health Policy in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and he served in that role until early 2023. From 2022-2023, he was appointed to lead ASPE as the Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Assistant Secretary. Previously, he served as a Senior Advisor in ASPE from 2011-2016, and he served as a Senior Counselor to the Assistant Secretary between January and July 2023.
Dr. Sommers teaches courses on the health care safety net and health economics, and he has won multiple awards at Harvard for teaching and mentoring. He is the chair of the Political Analysis track of the Harvard PhD Program in Health Policy and the Director of the Course of Study for the Health Policy Masters in Public Health.
He received a PhD in Health Policy from Harvard and an MD from Harvard Medical School.