USC Price School of Public Policy

USC, Brookings establish Leonard D. Schaeffer Initiative for Innovation in Health Policy

February 2, 2016
Leonard D. Schaeffer

Leonard D. Schaeffer

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Leonard D. Schaeffer, a trustee of both Brookings and the University of Southern California, has provided a gift of $4 million to establish the Leonard D. Schaeffer Initiative for Innovation in Health Policy, a partnership between the Center for Health Policy at Brookings and the Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics at the University of Southern California (USC). USC Professor Paul Ginsburg will direct the joint work of the new Schaeffer Initiative which aims to tackle some of the nation’s most pressing health care problems including the future of Medicare as costs continue to rise, shaping the Affordable Care Act to improve outcomes, and maximizing the value of innovation in drugs and devices.

“Health care spending has soared to $3 trillion and massive disruptions are underway in America’s health care system,” said Leonard Schaeffer. “This new partnership will accelerate the development of evidence-based policies that are needed to successfully implement change in both the public and private sectors, evaluate results, and understand the implications for the nation’s health and economy.”

The Initiative aims to inform the national health care debate with rigorous, evidence-based analysis leading to practical recommendations using the collaborative strengths of USC and Brookings.

“All of us at Brookings are most grateful for Leonard’s energy, engagement, and support as a long-serving Trustee,” said Strobe Talbott, president of Brookings. “We now have another reason to be appreciative. The Leonard D. Schaeffer Initiative for Innovation in Health Policy gives us the basis to build on a promising bi-coastal partnership with a world-class university, enhancing both institutions’ ability to play a significant role in improving health policy in the United States.”

“Leonard Schaeffer has a profound and abiding commitment to education, and to our university. With this generous gift of support, he is building on his extraordinary legacy of innovation in healthcare,” USC President C. L. Max Nikias said. “To Leonard, the key to finding solutions to health challenges is to have institutions known for rigorous, independent research lead the way. We are grateful for his vision, guidance, and friendship.”

Ginsburg, a Harvard-trained economist and health policy expert who will continue as a professor at USC, has also been named the Leonard D. Schaeffer Chair in Health Policy Studies at Brookings where he will also direct the Center for Health Policy. Ginsburg is the former president of the Center for Studying Health System Change, an organization founded in 1995 to conduct research focused on changes to the organization, financing, and delivery of health care in the U.S. Previously, Dr. Ginsburg was the founding executive director of the Physician Payment Review Commission (now MedPAC), a senior economist at RAND, a deputy assistant director at the Congressional Budget Office, and a faculty member of Duke and Michigan State Universities.

“Having Paul Ginsburg direct such an important endeavor greatly increases our ability to have real world impact,” said Dana Goldman, Director of the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics. “We look forward to working in partnership with Brookings to develop meaningful policy solutions that draw on the creativity, resourcefulness, and intellectual rigor of both our institutions.

“Paul is widely recognized for his expertise in health policy and research,” said Ted Gayer, Vice President and Director of Economic Studies at Brookings. “We are pleased to welcome him to our program and to strengthen our relationship with USC. We are also deeply grateful to Alice Rivlin for her leadership of the Center for the past two and a half years. She will continue in her role as a senior fellow and her affiliation with the Center for Health Policy.”

“I am excited about this opportunity to again focus intensively on health policy development and analysis,” said Paul Ginsburg. “I am honored to have the enthusiastic support of both Brookings and the USC Schaeffer Center in being tapped to lead this joint initiative. The fact that both Dana Goldman at USC and Alice Rivlin at Brookings will be engaged in this work is a big asset to me.”

Ginsburg has been named to Modern Healthcare’s “100 Most Influential Persons in Health Care” eight times, is a founding member of the National Academy of Social Insurance, a public trustee of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, and serves on the Health Affairs editorial board. He will spend the majority of his time in Washington, D.C.


The Brookings Institution is a private nonprofit organization devoted to independent research and innovative policy solutions. For almost 100 years, Brookings has analyzed current and emerging issues and produced new ideas that matter – for the nation and the world.

The Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics at USC works to measurably improve value in health through evidence-based policy solutions, research excellence, transformative education, and private and public sector engagement. The Schaeffer Center is the result of a collaboration between the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy and USC School of Pharmacy.