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James R. Knickman
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James R. Knickman is the first President and Chief Executive Officer of the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth), a private foundation dedicated to improving the health of all New Yorkers, especially the most vulnerable. Under Dr. Knickman’s leadership, NYSHealth has invested more than $95 million since 2006 in initiatives to improve health care and the public health system in New York State. Equally important, the Foundation is committed to sharing the results and lessons of its grantmaking; informing policy and practice through timely, credible analysis and commentary; and serving as a neutral convener of health care leaders and stakeholders throughout New York State.

Today, NYSHealth focuses its efforts in three priority areas: expanding health care coverage; improving diabetes prevention; and advancing primary care.

Prior to joining NYSHealth, Dr. Knickman was the Vice President of Research and Evaluation at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Princeton.

Dr. Knickman has a long history in New York State; between 1976 and 1992, he served on the faculty of New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, where he was active in community service directed at improving health care delivery to vulnerable populations. Earlier, he worked at the New York City Office of Management and Budget, and he has been a visiting professor at the University of Rochester, U.C. Berkeley, and Princeton University. He has published extensive research on issues related to the financing of health care and long-term care and improving services for frail elders, homeless families, and individuals with HIV. Dr. Knickman is the co-author of a widely used textbook on health policy and management.

Dr. Knickman serves as a board member of the National Council on Aging in Washington, D.C., and of Philanthropy New York. He is a member of Fordham College’s Board of Visitors, the national advisory committee of the National Resource Center for Participant-Directed Services, and the external advisory committee of the Rutgers Center for State Health Policy. He is a past chair of the board of the Robert Wood Johnson Health System in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and of the New Jersey Department of Health’s Cardiac Health Advisory Council; he has also served on the boards of the Center for Effective Philanthropy in Cambridge, Massachusetts, AcademyHealth in Washington, D.C., and the New York Catholic Health Care System. Currently, Dr. Knickman is a member of the editorial boards of The Milbank Quarterly and Inquiry.

Dr. Knickman received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Psychology from Fordham University and his Ph.D. in Public Policy Analysis from the University of Pennsylvania.

Entries by James R. Knickman

Takeaways From the Supreme Court Obamacare Ruling

(0) Comments | Posted June 25, 2015 | 6:06 PM

Living in a state like New York--where the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has successfully extended health insurance coverage to 2.1 million New Yorkers--I could only smile upon learning that the Supreme Court upheld the insurance subsidies for every state.

I can respect the strong opinions among many Americans...

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What's Working to Reduce Obesity?

(1) Comments | Posted June 2, 2015 | 4:34 PM

As we think about opportunities to address obesity, one popular approach is to intervene at the community level. Individual-level interventions like nutritional and weight-loss counseling have their place, but when we think about getting the biggest bang for the buck, communitywide interventions that can keep a wider swath of people...

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Reflections on Governor Mario Cuomo's Health Leadership

(0) Comments | Posted January 6, 2015 | 12:26 PM

Over the past few days, I have read many stories and remembrances of Governor Mario Cuomo, who passed away on New Year's Day. People are discussing the "poetry" of his campaigns, his "Tale of Two Cities" speech at the 1984 Democratic National Convention, his love of basketball.

Those of...

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Giving Thanks for What's Right With Our Health System

(1) Comments | Posted November 26, 2014 | 11:06 AM

Those of us working to improve the health system sometimes joke that at least we'll never be out of a job, because there's always so much more that needs to be done. The magnitude of the challenges we face can seem daunting: we spend too much money to achieve often...

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Health Insurance Check-Up: Is New York Meeting Consumers' Needs?

(0) Comments | Posted August 1, 2014 | 3:02 PM

After some initial bumps, New York State was extremely successful in enrolling people into health insurance coverage plans during the first open enrollment period under Obamacare. Nearly 1 million people enrolled through New York State of Health, the State's health insurance marketplace, between October and April. And improvements...

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The Surprising Driver of NYC's Long Life Expectancy

(0) Comments | Posted June 9, 2014 | 3:26 PM

A report published earlier this year in the journal Population and Development Review shows that average life expectancy in New York City increased dramatically in New York City between 1990 and 2010. During that 20-year stretch, life expectancy for female New Yorkers rose by nearly 4 years, and...

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Let's Advance Health in Brooklyn

(0) Comments | Posted May 7, 2014 | 6:24 PM

Brooklyn is a special place, full of life and energy and renewal. My father and a couple of generations of my family are from Brooklyn, so I feel a strong connection to the borough even though I've never lived there myself. Most importantly, I see great promise in Brooklyn to...

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Less Is More: In Defense of Narrow(ish) Health Care Provider Networks

(0) Comments | Posted March 19, 2014 | 12:21 PM

Have you seen those commercials for wireless coverage, with the children sitting around a table answering focus groups questions about which is better: faster or slower, more or less, bigger or smaller? In the "more or less" spot, one of the kids gleefully cheers, "We want more! We want more!"...

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Four Concerns for Community Health Centers in a Post-Health Reform World

(0) Comments | Posted December 17, 2013 | 3:00 PM

I am a big fan of New York State's community health centers (technically termed federally qualified health centers, or FQHCs); I always call them the "jewels in the crown of our health system." These centers have been early adopters of an approach to primary care that addresses the needs of...

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Are We Underestimating Primary Care Capacity?

(0) Comments | Posted December 9, 2013 | 12:19 PM

The shortage of primary care doctors has been a vexing, persistent challenge in New York State, just like in many other regions of the country. This challenge will be heightened with the implementation of health reform this January that should result in an extra one million New Yorkers having health...

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Reimagining Primary Care for New York's Patients

(0) Comments | Posted November 26, 2013 | 11:52 AM

I was fortunate to be among a group of 40 to 50 people who recently spent a day grappling with how we in New York State can more quickly implement new models of primary care that could change the way patients in New York experience health care. As more people...

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Giving Back to Our Returning Veterans

(0) Comments | Posted November 7, 2013 | 2:32 PM

As Veterans Day approaches, I have been reflecting on how we honor -- and dishonor -- the veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan. We have crowds with signs and balloons and yellow ribbons and cameras welcoming veterans home as they step off that plane; we have parades and sales...

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The Downside of High-Deductible Health Plans

(7) Comments | Posted October 11, 2013 | 11:11 AM

What's the tipping point when it comes to making smart choices about whether a visit to the doctor or emergency department is needed? We know that one factor (among many) driving up health care costs is inappropriate use of medical care: getting an MRI for a common headache, or going...

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Affording Obamacare: New York's New Health Plan Rates

(4) Comments | Posted July 19, 2013 | 1:33 PM

This week's announcement of the costs of the health insurance plans that will be offered through New York State's Health Benefit Exchange brought good news: with the implementation of Obamacare, New Yorkers purchasing individual insurance policies will pay less than half of current rates. (A few months ago...

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Biking (and Eating, and Shopping) Our Way to Good Health

(1) Comments | Posted May 30, 2013 | 5:29 PM

I have long loved riding my bicycle -- for exercise, for fun, and for transportation -- and I'm a proud member of New York City's new bike-sharing program, Citi Bike NYC. The program allows users to borrow a bike from one location and return it to any of the hundreds...

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Will Obamacare Increase Insurance Costs in New York State?

(2) Comments | Posted April 1, 2013 | 3:20 PM

The entire process of implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been filled with speculation and uncertainty from the start. First, there was the question of whether the law would even pass; once it did, it needed to survive the Supreme Court's consideration and the November election. But, now there...

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Unexpected Consequences: Are We Ready for Them as Our Health System Changes?

(2) Comments | Posted October 15, 2012 | 10:45 AM

I have a long garden full of random types of daylilies that I have purchased, borrowed from friends, traded for from neighbors, and once in a while "adopted" from uncared for flower beds here and there!

If you know lily gardens, you know that every four or five years,...

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Lighting "Escape Fires" to Fix Health Care

(0) Comments | Posted August 27, 2012 | 11:47 AM

During my summer vacation, I had the chance to preview the documentary film Escape Fire, a Sundance selection that will open in theaters October 5th. Touted as "An Inconvenient Truth for health care," the film shines a spotlight on the entrenched challenges and failures of our nation's health...

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What the Health Law Really Means for New Yorkers

(1) Comments | Posted July 26, 2012 | 4:52 PM

On the morning the Supreme Court announced its ruling on the Affordable Care Act, my staff and I gathered around our computers, following CNN, the SCOTUSblog, the New York Times and Twitter simultaneously to track the decision.

As the initial reports started to roll in, there were a few...

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Decisions, Decisions: What the Supreme Court Might Mean for New York's Health System

(0) Comments | Posted June 14, 2012 | 9:56 AM

Within the next two weeks, the Supreme Court's long-awaited ruling on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will be announced. During these long months of speculation leading up to the decision, I've thought about what the range of possible outcomes of the case could mean for New York State's health system....

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