Dr. Deborah A. Freund

Professor and President Emerita
Claremont, California
United States

Focus Areas

Higher Education
Policy & Education
Public Health & Safety


Freund is a professor of economic sciences at Claremont Graduate University and served as its president from 2010 to 2015. Prior to moving to CGU she was a Distinguished Professor of Public Administration and Economics at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University and an Adjunct Professor of Orthopedics and Pediatrics at Upstate Medical University. She served as Vice Chancellor and Provost at Syracuse University (1999-2006), and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University-Bloomington (IU) (from 1994-99), where she was also a Professor of Public Affairs, Economics and Family Medicine. She was also assistant and associate professor of health economics at the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She received an A.B. in Classics from Washington University in St. Louis (1973), an M.P.H. in Medical Care Administration (1975), a M.A. in Applied Economics (1975), and a Ph.D. in Economics (1980) from the University of Michigan. While at Syracuse, she was the architect of the academic plan, and oversaw a tripling of sponsored funding and an increase in the six year undergraduate graduation rate from 78% to 83%. Dr. Freund is an internationally-recognized health economist, known in particular for her research in the areas of Medicaid, health care outcomes and PharmacoEconomics, a field she is credited with founding. Most recently she led a project to recreate a new database that will be used by health insurers to pay out of network claims. Deborah Freund has written more than 100 articles and chapters, and two books, and has been the principal investigator of grants and contracts totaling almost $100 million; she was the first non-physician to lead a federally funded Patient Outcome Research Team, which pioneered outcomes research in orthopedics, the first person to use Medicaid claims data for research purposes, and Medicare claims data for orthopedic outcomes research. She has served on the editorial boards of 11 journals and has been a visiting professor at Harvard, Stanford, London, Oxford, Australian National and Keio universities. Dr. Freund was the recipient of the Jay A. Drotman Prize from the American Public Health Association (1981), the Kershaw Prize from the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (1991) and the Trustee Award for Career Contributions from The American Hospital Association (2007). Dr. Freund currently serves on the Boards of Cedars-Sinai Health System and Children's Hospital Los Angeles and the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review and San Antonio Regional Hospital. She has served as Chairman of the Board of Health Research and Education Trust, the research subsidiary of the American Hospital Association and The Association of University Programs in Health Administration. She also has served on the Boards of Directors of Tuition Plan, Inc., The National Association of College and University Business Officers and Academy Health. She served on the boards of Directors of The Lifetime Health Care Companies, MedAmerica, Excellus Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Hospice and Palliative Care Associates of Central New York, Catholic Charities of Onondaga County, and The Manlius Pebble Hill School. She was a member of the Advisory Councils of the Golisano Children’s Hospital at Upstate and The University of California at Berkeley School of Public Health. She has served as a consultant to numerous multinational drug companies, The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, and The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, 40 states and The Australian Government. She is married to Thomas J. Kniesner, Krisher Professor and Chair of the Dept. of Economics at Claremont Graduate University. They have one son, William Kniesner, age 22. Freund is proud to be a “soccer Mom”.