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Harvard names Stanford Medical School Professor Alan M. Garber as its next provost

Garber, a member of the Stanford faculty for 25 years, will take the helm as Harvard's provost on Sept. 1.

Justin Ide / Harvard Alan Garber

Alan Garber

Alan M. Garber, the Henry J. Kaiser Jr. Professor at Stanford, has been appointed the next provost of Harvard University.

President John Hennessy congratulated Garber and Harvard on the appointment.

"Alan Garber exemplifies the very best of the academy," Hennessy said. "In his 25 years as a distinguished member of the Stanford University faculty, he has brought an interdisciplinary ethos and leadership to teaching, to the research community and to the medical profession. His service to the academy and to the nation in medical decision-making, science and policy has been prolific. I have no doubt he will serve Harvard with the same passion. I congratulate both Alan and Harvard."

Garber, a professor of medicine, earned an MD degree at Stanford in 1983. He earned a bachelor's degree (1976) and a PhD (1982) in economics at Harvard.

Garber is the director of the Center for Health Policy/Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research, run under the auspices of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) and the Stanford University School of Medicine. The jointly operated centers were founded in 1998 to engage faculty, staff and students from across Stanford – including medicine, economics, statistics, business, law, engineering and psychology – in research on health policy and clinical practice.

"Alan's departure for Harvard is a grievous blow to FSI and to Stanford," said Coit D. Blacker, director of the Freeman Spogli Institute. "It's also an inspired choice on the part of our friends in Cambridge. All of us at FSI will miss Alan more than words can properly convey. I am grateful to him for his leadership of the Center for Health Policy and will miss his wise and unselfish counsel. We wish him great success as he takes on this latest challenge."

In a note to colleagues at the centers, Garber wrote: "My time on the faculty at Stanford has been wonderful in every important way.  The past 13 years, when CHP and PCOR were created and grew, have been the high point of my Stanford career. I could not have asked for a better set of colleagues and friends.  Your integrity, dedication, and passion for your work and for our community are extraordinary. Stanford is an amazing and exciting university, and nothing better exemplifies the innovative spirit and excellence of the university than our centers."

Following is the announcement from Harvard:

President Drew Faust announced Friday that Alan M. Garber '76, the Henry J. Kaiser Jr. Professor, and professor of medicine and economics, at Stanford University, has been appointed the next provost of Harvard University.

"Alan is a distinguished academic leader who brings to Harvard an extraordinary breadth of experience in research across disciplines," said Faust. "He has an incisive intellect, a deep appreciation for the challenges facing research universities, and a loyalty and commitment to Harvard, where he has maintained strong ties since his years as an undergraduate in the College. I am extremely pleased that a person of Alan's talent, range, and versatility will be joining the University's senior leadership team."

Garber will succeed Steven E. Hyman, who in December announced his decision to step down at the end of this academic year. Garber's appointment is effective Sept. 1.

"I am excited and humbled by this opportunity to serve an institution that made a profound difference in my own life," said Garber. "Harvard has a storied history and a present full of remarkable accomplishments and extraordinary strengths. I look forward to helping the University achieve its enormous promise for the future."

Garber first came to Harvard in 1973 as an undergraduate. After graduating summa cum laude in economics in 1976, Garber received a PhD in economics, also from Harvard, and an MD from Stanford with research honors. After his graduate work, he served his internship and residency in internal medicine at the Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

In his academic work, Garber brings an economist's perspective to critical questions of health policy. His research focuses on ways to improve health care quality and delivery, methods to assess the cost effectiveness and comparative value of health interventions, and how best to structure incentives for cost-effective care. He has served as founding director for both the Center for Health Policy and the Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research, both at Stanford. Garber currently serves on the steering committee for Stanford's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.

As provost, Garber will partner with the president in defining the strategic academic vision for the University. He will work with her to sustain the excellence of the academic enterprise and to achieve greater integration of research, teaching, programs, and people across the University. Garber will have direct responsibility for academic planning and its financial foundations. He will also play a central role in supporting crosscutting programs and in working with the deans to leverage the strengths of the Schools in service of the University as a whole.

Early priorities will include leading the University's efforts to define academic aspirations and achievable programs in the entrepreneurial space represented by Allston, and steering the ongoing reorganization of the Harvard library system.

Pending Garber's arrival in September, the president will oversee all academic functions, delegating specific responsibilities as needed.

In addition to being the Henry J. Kaiser Jr. Professor at Stanford, Garber serves as professor of medicine and (by courtesy) of economics, health research and policy, and of economics in the Graduate School of Business. A leading researcher in the domain of health care delivery and financing, Garber served as founding director of the health care program of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a position he held for 19 years.

He is the author or co-author of more than 125 articles, as well as 40 book chapters and monographs. He has edited or co-edited eight books on health policy research. He also sees general medical patients at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, where he serves as a staff physician and associate director of the Center for Health Care Evaluation.

The recipient of numerous academic awards, Garber has been elected to membership in the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, and the Association of American Physicians, and is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians.