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Glen Mays Named Chair of the Department of Health Systems, Management and Policy

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Glen Mays, PhD, who specializes in preparedness and health systems, policy and economics, has been named Chair of the Department of Health Systems, Management and Policy in the Colorado School of Public Health following a national search. He begins his position on June 1, 2019. 

Currently, Mays is an endowed professor in health management and policy at the University of Kentucky (UK) College of Public Health where he also directs the Center for Public Health Systems and Services Research. 

On a national level, Mays is the Director of the Systems for Action Researchprogram funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Systems for Action tests strategies for aligning delivery and financing systems for medical care, public health, and social services in ways that improve population health. Mays created and maintains the National Longitudinal Survey of Public Health Systems that has followed a nationally-representative cohort of U.S. communities since 1998 to examine inter-organizational and inter-governmental approaches to public health delivery and financing. He is also founding director of the national Public Health Practice-Based Research Networks (PBRN) program, which brings together more than 2,000 state and local public health organizations from across the U.S. to conduct applied research on innovations in public health practice. 

In the area of preparedness, Mays directs the National Program Office for the National Health Security Preparedness Index (NHSPI), created by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Index identifies strengths as well as gaps in the protections needed to keep people safe and healthy in the face of large-scale public health threats, and tracks how these protections vary across the United States.

“Dr. Mays brings much to the Colorado School of Public Health, adding new initiatives to an already strong department,” said Jonathan Samet, MD, MS, dean of ColoradoSPH. “I am delighted that he will take on the leadership of the department, and I am confident that he will continue to make outstanding contributions to health systems research and to state and national public health policy.”

For Mays, a move to Colorado fits well with his ongoing work. 

“There are advanced health systems and health agencies in the region that want to innovate and learn what works best—the result is a very unique place where it is possible to do leading research for the nation and the world, while applying knowledge locally to improve health and wellbeing across Colorado and the Rocky Mountain West,” said Mays. “Through close collaboration with partners, the Colorado School of Public Health can become the go-to source for research-tested policy solutions to difficult health problems in Colorado and the region.” 

In his own research, Mays indicates that a growing focus concerns the question of how health systems can most effectively address social determinants of health such as housing stability, food insecurity, social isolation, involvement with the criminal justice system, and adverse child experiences (ACEs).

“We are beginning to test some novel ways of connecting medical care systems with public health and social service systems, both operationally and financially,” he said. “I am excited to continue this work with the many forward-thinking medical, social and public health leaders in Colorado.” 

Mays earned his MPH and PhD in Health Policy and Administration from the University of North Carolina, and completed a fellowship in Health Economics at the Harvard Medical School. He also holds an undergraduate degree in Political Science from Brown University. Alongside his academic pursuits, Mays has a life-long passion for long-distance running and enjoys exploring the outdoors with his wife, Brynn, and sons, Quentin and Jasper.  

At the University of Kentucky, Mays also directed the UK Center for Public Health Systems and Services Research in the College of Public Health and served as associate director of the Center for Health Services Research, based in the UK College of Medicine. Prior to joining UK in 2011, Mays served as professor and chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, and was a senior health researcher at Mathematica Policy Research in Washington, DC.