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Gail R. Wilensky, PhD

Economist and Senior Fellow at Project HOPE

Gail R. Wilensky, PhD

Gail Wilensky is an economist and senior fellow at Project HOPE, an international health foundation. She directed the Medicare and Medicaid programs and served in the White House as a senior adviser on health and welfare issues to President George H.W. Bush.

Wilensky’s expertise is developing strategies to reform health care, with particular emphasis on Medicare, comparative effectiveness research, and military health care. Currently a trustee of the United Mine Workers of America’s Combined Benefit Fund and the National Opinion Research Center, she also serves on the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) Board of Regents, the Harvard Medical School Visiting Committee, and the Geisinger Health System Foundation Board of Directors. Wilensky recently presided over the Defense Health Board—a federal advisory board to the Secretary of Defense—and was a member of the World Health Organization’s Commission on Social Determinants of Health. She also co-chaired the Defense Dept.’s Task Force on the Future of Military Health Care, and previously she chaired the Physician Payment Review Commission and MedPAC.

As an elected member of the Institute of Medicine, Wilensky has served two terms on its governing council. She is a former chair of the AcademyHealth Board of Directors, a former trustee of the American Heart Association, and a current or former director of numerous other nonprofit organizations. Currently she is a director of UnitedHealth Group (UNH) and Quest Diagnostics (DGX).

Wilensky testifies before congressional committees, serves as an adviser to Congress members and other elected officials, and speaks both nationally and internationally. She received a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a PhD in economics at the University of Michigan and has received several honorary degrees.