Doug Owens, MD, MS, Named Inaugural Chair of Department of Health Policy

June 16, 2021

We are delighted to announce that Douglas K. Owens, MD, MS, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research and the Center for Health Policy in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, has been appointed the inaugural Chair of the Department of Health Policy.

Since joining the faculty at Stanford University 30 years ago, Dr. Owens has demonstrated visionary leadership, conducted transformative clinical and health services research, and proven an adept and productive collaborator. The culmination of these skills and others uniquely qualifies him to lead our Department of Health Policy — an intellectual hub that will span Stanford’s seven schools, address the interconnected problems of access, quality, cost, and equity, and reimagine the relationship between public health and medicine.

A globally recognized expert in primary care outcomes research, Dr. Owens has deep experience developing innovative research programs, including clinical practice guidelines tailored to specific patient populations. A 2005 paper published in The New England Journal of Medicine by Dr. Owens and colleagues included landmark findings that starkly changed approaches to HIV prevention. The paper showed that expanding HIV screening would increase life expectancy, curb transmission, and was cost-effective in virtually all health care settings.

Dr. Owens continues to build on this groundbreaking research by studying the cost-effectiveness of preventive and therapeutic interventions for HIV/AIDS, analyzing different interventions for cardiovascular disease, and assessing the effectiveness of hepatitis C virus infection therapies. He is also researching the cost-effectiveness of prevention and treatment for opioid use disorder. In 2019, the National Institutes on Drug Abuse recognized Dr. Owens’s work on HIV, HCV, and the opioid epidemic with a MERIT Award.

Throughout his career, Dr. Owens has also helped define health policy nationally as an active member of numerous government and medical societies. As part of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, he facilitated the development of national preventive health screening guidelines, including those for breast, colorectal, cervical, and lung cancers. Additionally, he was one of 18 health policy experts selected to serve on the Second Panel on Cost-Effectiveness in Health and Medicine, which convened over four years through 2016 to provide recommendations for improving the quality of cost-effectiveness analyses.

Dr. Owens will assume his new post on September 1.