Alumna Dr. Jennifer Devoe honored for stellar early career

Winner of 2015 Early Career Achievement Award

jen devoe

April 24, 2015

The OHSU School of Medicine Alumni Association's Early Career Achievement Award is presented to any alumnus or alumna from the OHSU School of Medicine who has made significant career contributions in improving health and social welfare in a community setting or in the areas of scientific research or academia within 15 years of graduation. Learn more about our awards.

Jennifer DeVoe, M.D. R '04, MCR '10, D.Phil., has a storied academic career that marries her interest in primary care with a drive to understand and improve health policy.

A graduate of Harvard Medical School, the associate professor of family medicine in the OHSU School of Medicine also holds an Oxford Ph.D. in economic and social history. Her thesis compared the development of health policy in the United States with that of Australia.

Medicine first caught her eye in high school. "I was interested in improving patient health and connecting with people from all walks of life," said Dr. DeVoe.

Originally from Montana, Dr. DeVoe was drawn to residency at OHSU because of the school's reputation for training primary care physicians. Her interest in policy grew out of what she saw in clinics – and motivated her to better understand the relationship between patient health and the community.

"As a physician in a primary care setting, I was seeing that, in some cases, lack of insurance or other life circumstances were affecting patient health outcomes more than what we could do for them in traditional health care settings," Dr. DeVoe explained. As she accrued anecdotes and stories from patients, she decided to quantify what she found and address how social determinants of health affect the big picture.

Much of her research focuses on access to insurance. She's the principal investigator in a $3.5 million NIH National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute study on Medicaid in community clinics, and in 2014 she wrapped up a $2 million study on how changes to families' insurance affects children's health care. 

As if she's not busy enough, Dr. DeVoe is also the research director at OCHIN, Inc., a multi-state, nonprofit health center controlled network (HCCN). At OCHIN, she's the principal investigator for a $7 million project – funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute – aimed at developing and expanding a health data network that will be part of a national research network.

Her career continues to accelerate. In October last year, she became the first woman in Oregon elected to the Institute of Medicine – one of the highest honors in health and medicine.

Story by Christen McCurdy