New York University President John Sexton today bestowed an honorary doctorate on the health and healthcare policy advocate Jessie Christine Gruman at NYU’s 177th Commencement Exercises in Yankee Stadium. Over 25,000 graduates, faculty, staff, and guests attended the morning ceremony.
The following citation was read in conferring the Doctor of Humane Letters degree, honoris causa, on Jessie Christine Gruman:
“Jessie Christine Gruman-social psychologist, founder, president and executive director of the independent, nonpartisan, Washington-based Center for Advancing Health, you have spearheaded the effort to create an America where all are prepared to live a healthy life and make effective choices about their health care. Born in Berea, Kentucky, educated at Vassar College, you went on to Columbia University, where you earned your Ph.D. As project officer for the National Cancer Institute, you designed and implemented a vibrant nine-year effort to reduce national smoking prevalence through policy change, advocacy, and citizen involvement. Professorial Lecturer at The George Washington University, highly sought-after keynote speaker, esteemed journalist and author, you have written that you “want people to know how to take care of themselves and pay attention to the urgency of their situation even when their heart is broken.” Your unique collection of personal stories and hard scientific information is called AfterShock: What to Do When the Doctor Gives You-or Someone You Love-a Devastating Diagnosis, a critically acclaimed book that includes the searing account of your own amazing journey through illness and one that is considered to be as essential for our health as bandages and aspirin.
Jessie Christine Gruman-you have empowered Americans to be wiser health consumers in order to increase the quality and span of life even as you have fought to eliminate health disparities for all Americans. By virtue of the authority vested in me by New York University, I am pleased to confer upon you the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.”