Jessie Gruman

CFAH President

Jessie Gruman is president and founder of the Center for Advancing Health, a nonpartisan, Washington-based policy institute which, since 1992, has been supported by foundations and individuals to work on people’s engagement in their health care from the patient perspective. Prior to founding CFAH, Gruman worked on these same concerns in the private sector (AT&T), the public sector (National Institutes of Health) and the voluntary health sector (American Cancer Society).

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What does it take for all Americans to find good health care and make the most of it?

Self-Monitoring Health IT Falls Short of Providing the Information We Need
April 16, 2014
Yes, there are some data-fan, quantified-patient types out there. But most of us are not enamored of monitoring bits and bytes of our biophysical functioning. So perhaps we can turn our attention toward patients' more immediate concerns of having the right information at the right time in order to care for ourselves and those we love...

How to Make the Most of Your Doctor Visit
April 9, 2014
Over the years, we've listened to hundreds of people discuss their experiences with their health and health care. One thing that seems to come up for many people is how hard it can be to find good care and make the most of it, which includes knowing what to do at a doctor's appointment. The following tips can help...

Working With Your Doctor's Office
April 2, 2014
It is common for those who work in and deliver health care to overestimate our knowledge about our bodies, our illnesses and how the health care system works. Such as: Who is the nurse practitioner? Where is Dr. X's office? When is "soon"? Why are you recommending this test? To help people find good health care and make the most of it, the following video explains two key things to ask when making your appointment and three questions to get answered before you leave your doctor's office...

The Goldilocks Approach to Our Health Knowledge: How Much Is Just Right?
March 26, 2014
Most professional health care stakeholders believe that the more we patients and caregivers know about our health and diseases, the better our outcomes will be. When faced with the facts about our health risks and dangerous habits, they think we will rationally change our behaviors and correct our misunderstandings. As a patient, I want to know: At what point do I know enough to reap these hypothetical benefits?

My (Un)prepared Patient Story
March 19, 2014
I'm impressed with the health care that is now available to treat diseases that – even a decade ago – were a death sentence. And I'm so very grateful for them. But we and our doctors and nurses often overlook just how much the success of these tools depend on our active, informed participation. And many of us don't fully understand what it takes to participate well in our care...

More Jessie Blogs and Essays


National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship: Rays of Hope 2013

Jessie Gruman was presented with the Excellence in Media Award and participated in the evening's panel, addressing Media and the Cancer Experience.

Newseum, Washington, D.C.
September 26, 2013
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Health Affairs Briefing: New Era of Patient Engagement

W Hotel, Washington, DC
February 6, 2013
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AcademyHealth National Health Policy Conference

Grand Hyatt Hotel, Washington, DC
February 4, 2013
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Institute of Medicine Evidence Communication Innovation Collaborative

Keck Center of the National Academies, Washington, DC
January 14, 2013
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QualityNet Conference: A More Perfect Union:

Jessie Gruman delivered the keynote address titled "Beyond Buzzwords: What It Really Means to Engage Patients in Their Care"

Baltimore, Maryland
December 11, 2012
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Kimmel Center, New York University

Jessie Gruman spoke about "When a Friend or Loved One Gets a Cancer Diagnosis: How to Respond?"

New York, NY
December 4, 2012
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More News and Events


Jessie Gruman Receives Excellence in Media Award from NCCS

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CFAH President Jessie Gruman was presented with the Excellence in Media Award by the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS) at its annual Rays of Hope gala on September 26 at the Newseum in Washington, DC. She also participated in the evening's panel, addressing Media and the Cancer Experience. (Pictured: Jessie Gruman with Julia Rowland, Director of the Office of Cancer Survivorship at the National Cancer Institute, who presented the award.)


At Too Many Hospitals, a Revolving Door

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In this New York Times interview, Jessie Gruman shares her hospital discharge experience after having surgery for stomach cancer and points to three specific areas of improvement to help reduce readmissions. Interviewer Judith Graham asks, "Given the inadequacies in care for discharged patients — a well-documented and common problem — is it any wonder that so many bounce back to hospitals after they’re sent home?"


An Accidental Tourist Finds Her Way in the Dangerous Land of Serious Illness

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Health Affairs February issue, A New Era of Patient Engagement, selected my essay, An Accidental Tourist Finds Her Way in the Dangerous Land of Serious Illness, for its Narrative Matters piece. In the essay, I share experiences from my latest cancer diagnosis and call for policies to support patients and families with the increased responsibilities they face to find good health care and make the most of it.


When Your Doctor Says, “I Have Bad News”

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Jessie offers advice on how to cope with a scary diagnosis – withoug getting caught up in the chaos of fear. Written by Jon Spayde for Experience Life magazine's November 2012 issue.


The Lemon of Illness and the Demand for Lemonade – “The Open Mind” Interview

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Richard Heffner, host of The Open Mind on PBS, interviewed me about what it’s like to be a patient in the midst of changes in health care delivery, advances in information technology and the implementation of new health policies.