PAMF Research Institute’s Dr. Harold Luft Receives 2018 Centennial Medal from Harvard University
PALO ALTO, Calif.- Harold S. Luft, Ph.D., director of Sutter Health’s Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute (PAMFRI), has been awarded the Centennial Medal from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the school’s highest honor recognizing outstanding alumni whose contributions to knowledge, to their disciplines, to their colleagues, and to society have made a fundamental and lasting impact.
Dr. “Hal” Luft, who is also a senior scientist at PAMF’s Research Institute and the Caldwell B. Esselstyn Professor Emeritus of Health Policy and Health Economics at the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California, San Francisco, received the honor for his influential work as a health care economist.
Dr. Luft was presented with the award on May 23 at a ceremony at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) in Cambridge, Mass. He earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in Harvard’s Department of Economics, completing his Ph.D. thesis in 1973 on the impact of poverty on health, and health on poverty, in America.
“Harold Luft’s dedication to advancing interdisciplinary, empirical research has improved health care for the benefit of millions of Americans,” said Emma Dench, GSAS interim dean. “We are proud to award him the 2018 Centennial Medal.”
For the last 10 years, Dr. Luft has served as director of the PAMF Research Institute where researchers work directly with doctors to explore clinical data and test ideas for improving health care practice.
“I’m thrilled that Dr. Luft is being recognized by Harvard University for this honor,” said Elizabeth Vilardo, M.D., MBA, Sutter Health CEO of Bay Area Foundations. “He not only has an impressive body of world-class research of his own, but he has shown unusual dedication to creating a stable and supportive environment to encourage current and future generations of researchers in their pursuits to make healthcare more compassionate, easier to understand, and more accessible and affordable for all.”
Dr. Luft’s research and teaching have covered a wide range of areas, including medical care utilization, health maintenance organizations, hospital market competition, quality and outcomes of hospital care, risk assessment and risk adjustment, and health care reform.
He has been involved in postdoctoral training since 1973, having served as director of the Institute for Health Policy Studies postdoctoral program and associate director of the Health and Society Scholars program sponsored jointly by UCSF and the University of California, Berkeley as well as other programs.
He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) and served six years on its Council. He was a member of and chaired the National Advisory Council of the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (now the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality).
He served on the board of Academy Health for 10 years and was co-editor of the journal Health Services Research. He has authored or co-authored and edited six books and published more than 200 articles in scientific journals.
In addition to Dr. Luft, three other GSAS alumni received the Centennial Medal: Beth Adelson, Ph.D. ’83, founder of the 24th Street Sangha in Philadelphia and professor emerita of psychology and computer sciences at Rutgers University; Guido Goldman, Ph.D. ’69, founding director of the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies; and Choon Fong Shih, Ph.D. ’73, University Professor at the National University of Singapore.
The Centennial Medal was first awarded in June 1989 on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the founding of GSAS.
Dr. Luft lives in Palo Alto. To learn more about Dr. Luft’s award, read the Centennial Medal Citation.