Dr. Robert J. Blendon is currently Professor of Health Policy and Political Analysis in both the Harvard University School of Public Health and the John F. Kennedy School of Government.
He also serves as a faculty member in the Shorenstein Center on Press and Politics at the Kennedy School. In addition, he directs the Harvard Opinion Research Program, which focuses on the better understanding of public knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about major domestic public policy issues. Currently, he co-directs a special series with USA Today and the Washington Post/Harvard University/Kaiser Family Foundation survey project, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Additionally, Dr. Blendon co-directed a special survey project for the Minneapolis Star Tribune on health care, part of a series that received the National Press Club’s 1998 Award for Consumer Journalism. He also co-directed a project for National Public Radio and the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation on American attitudes toward health and social policy. The series was cited by the National Journal as setting a new standard for use of public opinion surveys in broadcast journalism.
Between 1987 and 1996 he served as Chairman of the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health and as Deputy Director of the Harvard University Division of Health Policy Research and Education. Prior to his Harvard appointment, Dr. Blendon was senior vice-president at The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. In addition, he has served as a senior faculty member for the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Governor's Association, and the U.S. Congress Committee on Ways and Means.
Dr. Blendon teaches courses on both Political Strategy in Health Policy and Public Opinion Polling at the Kennedy School of Government and the Harvard School of Public Health. He also directs the Political Analysis track in the University’s Ph.D. Program in Health Policy.
Dr. Blendon is a member of the Institute of Medicine, of the National Academy of Sciences and of the Council of Foreign Relations, a former member of the advisory board to the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and a former member of the editorial board of the Journal of the American Medical Association. He is also a Past President of the Association of Health Services Research and winner of their Distinguished Investigator Award. He is also a recipient of the Baxter Award for lifetime achievement in the health services research field. He has also received the John M. Eisenberg Excellence in Mentorship Award from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Mendelsohn award from Harvard University. In 2008, he was the recipient of the Warren J. Mitofsky Award for Excellence in Public Opinion Research given by the Roper Center.
He is a graduate of Marietta College. He is also a graduate of the School of Business at the University of Chicago, with a Masters in Business Administration. In addition, he holds a Doctoral degree from the School of Public Health of Johns Hopkins University, where his principal attention was directed toward health policy.