Jessie C. Gruman to Keynote Northeastern's Fall Commencement

Healthcare Policy Advocate to Receive Honorary Doctorate Degree

Jessie C. Gruman, founder and president of the Center for the Advancement of Health (CFAH), an independent, nonpartisan Washington-based policy institute devoted to strengthening people’s abilities to make good use of health care, will deliver the keynote address to more than 1,200 students at Northeastern University’s fall commencement exercises, to be held on Thursday, August 30 at 7:30 p.m. in Matthews Arena. Gruman will receive an honorary doctorate of public service at the ceremony.

Jessie C. Gruman established the Center for the Advancement of Health in 1992 with funding from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Nathan Cummings Foundation. The Center receives support from the Annenberg Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Atlantic Philanthropies and others. Since its establishment the Center has worked to ensure that people are able to meet the demands placed on them by health decisions that are increasingly complex, health professionals who are increasingly specialized and pressed for time and health care that is increasingly brilliant but chaotic.

The same set of issues and concerns have been the foundation of Gruman’s work in the private, public and voluntary health sectors; she has worked at AT&T, the National Institutes of Health, and the American Cancer Society. She is also a Fellow of the Society of Behavioral Medicine and has received the Society’s awards for distinguished service and “Leadership in Translation of Research to Practice.” She was also recognized for outstanding service from the American Psychological Association and was honored by Research!America for her leadership in advocacy for health research.

Gruman received her undergraduate degree from Vassar College where she also served as the Executive in Residence. She has a Ph.D. in social psychology from Columbia University. She is a Professional Lecturer in the School of Public Health at The George Washington University where she also received the Presidential Medal. She serves on the boards of trustees of the Advisory Panel on Medicare Education of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Public Health Institute, the Sallan Foundation, and the Center for Information Therapy, among others. She is also the recipient of an honorary doctorate in public policy from Carnegie Mellon University.

Gruman is on the editorial board of The Annals of Family Medicine, and is a member of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Physical Science, and the Council on Foreign Relations. She has served on the National Advisory Council for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and on the Board of Directors of the National Health Council.

Gruman is the author of numerous articles and essays published in scholarly journals and public media. Her book, titled After Shock: What to Do When the Doctor Gives You – or Someone You Love – a Devastating Diagnosis (Walker Publishing 2007) is about how people use scientific information to make decisions about their healthcare.

For more information on Northeastern University’s fall commencement exercises, please contact Renata Nyul at 617-373-7424 or at

About Northeastern

Founded in 1898, Northeastern University is a private research university located in the heart of Boston. Northeastern is a leader in interdisciplinary research, urban engagement, and the integration of classroom learning with real-world experience. The university’s distinctive cooperative education program, where students alternate semesters of full-time study with semesters of paid work in fields relevant to their professional interests and major, is one of the largest and most innovative in the world. The University offers a comprehensive range of undergraduate and graduate programs leading to degrees through the doctorate in six undergraduate colleges, eight graduate schools, and two part-time divisions. For more information, please visit