Jessie Gruman, Ph.D., nationally known health care author and expert on patient engagement, will deliver the Alex Drapos Memorial Lecture, “That’s Not What I Wanted to Hear!: Evidence-Based Medicine and our Hard Choices,” at 4 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 4, in Razzo Hall.
The Alex Drapos Memorial Lecture Series is a program of free, public lectures concerning law, health care and American society, established by the Fallon Clinic Foundation, in memory of Alexander Drapos ’58, a former Clark trustee and Fallon Clinic Foundation trustee.
Gruman, who is founder and president of the Center for Advancing Health (CFAH), a nonpartisan Washington-based policy institute, will discuss the
realities of being a patient in the U.S. health care system and how people can empower themselves with knowledge to make informed choices about their medical treatment. She notes that while most people want medicine to be “evidence-based,” when they realize what that would mean in practice they confront some hard choices about such matters as treatment options, cost, and physician/patient/insurer control over decision-making. Her work draws on her own experience of treatment for four cancer diagnoses as well as research and interviews with patients and caregivers.
Gruman is the author of “AfterShock: What to Do When the Doctor Gives You – or Someone You Love – a Devastating Diagnosis” (Walker Publishing, second edition, 2010), “The Experience of the American Patient: Risk, Trust and Choice” (Health Behavior Media, 2009); and “Behavior Matters” (Health Behavior Media, 2008), as well as scientific papers and opinion essays and articles. In “AfterShock,” she offers a 10-stage approach for dealing with a serious diagnosis, covering such areas as getting a second opinion, navigating the health care maze and making important decisions about everything from your course of treatment to whom you should confide in about your illness.
Besides her personal experience, Gruman uses surveys, peer-reviewed research and interviews with patients and caregivers as the basis of her work to describe — and advocate for policies and practices to overcome — the challenges people face in finding good care and getting the most from it.
Gruman has worked on this same set of concerns in the private sector (AT&T), the public sector (National Cancer Institute) and the voluntary health sector (American Cancer Society). She holds a B.A. from Vassar College and a Ph.D. in social psychology from Columbia University and is a Professorial Lecturer in the School of Public Health and Health Services at The George Washington University. She serves on the board of trustees of the Center for Medical Technology Policy and the Technical Board of the Milbank Memorial Fund.
Gruman was honored by Research!America for her leadership in advocacy for health research and received honorary doctorates from Clark University, Brown University, Carnegie Mellon University, Georgetown University, New York University, Northeastern University, Salve Regina University and Tulane University, and the Presidential Medal of The George Washington University. She is a Fellow of the Society for Behavioral Medicine, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Council on Foreign Relations.