Laurence Baker tapped to head Department of Health Research and Policy

The new chair of the department is an expert on how changing financial incentives and organization affect health-care delivery and costs.

- By Jennie Dusheck

Laurence Baker

Laurence Baker, PhD, was appointed chair of the Department of Health Research and Policy, effective Oct. 1

A leading health economist, Baker has served as the department’s chief of health services research since 2001. He is also a fellow at Stanford’s Center for Health Policy/Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research, a senior fellow of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge,  Massachusetts.

Baker replaces Phil Lavori, PhD, who departed to become vice chair of the School of Medicine’s new Department of Biomedical Data Science.

“Laurence is a natural and excellent choice for the HRP chair position, well-respected, trusted and admired by his peers,” said Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the School of Medicine. “As one of the top health economic experts in the world with a strong policy focus, Laurence will bring the unique perspective, energy and thoughtful guidance needed during this time of change for the department.”

Baker’s current research focuses on how changes in health-care delivery systems influence the cost and quality of care, with a particular focus on the growth of large, multi-specialty and hospital-affiliated medical practices.

“It’s an exciting time for HRP,” Baker said. “My key goal is to make sure we are well-positioned to take advantage of emerging new data and techniques and to be involved in exciting opportunities like the population-health and big-data initiatives. As we pursue these goals, we’ll be looking for ways to strengthen and build our faculty and our educational programs, and take advantage of opportunities to collaborate with colleagues at the School of Medicine and around the university.”

Lavori, the departing chair, said, “Baker is trusted, admired and respected by all his colleagues in HRP. His colleagues in health economics consider him to be one of the top experts in the world, and under his leadership the HSR division has grown in strength. He has a keen eye for talent and a magnetic reputation, and will be able to lead the faculty in building the strength of HRP.”

Over 10 years, Lavori recruited talented faculty, trained a cohort of physician scientists and made significant contributions to the Stanford Cancer Institute and Stanford’s Center for Population Health Sciences.

“I’ve learned a lot from Phil and have really appreciated his steady and thoughtful leadership of HRP and his insightful approaches to seeking excellence at a time when lots of things have been changing,” Baker added. Lavori also launched two PhD programs: one in epidemiology and clinical research, and the other in health services research.

“Phil built a strong foundation for HRP’s continued growth and preeminence, and I thank him for his years of service,” Minor said. 

About Stanford Medicine

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2023 ISSUE 3

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