Harold S. Luft, Ph.D., is a Senior Scholar with AcademyHealth. He is the Caldwell B. Esselstyn Professor Emeritus of Health Policy and Health Economics at the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California, San Francisco and Director Emeritus at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute (PAMFRI). He joined UCSF in 1978 and was Director of the PRL-IHPS from 1993 - 2007. In July 2008, he became Director of PAMFRI and since stepping down in 2018 has been Senior Scientist there.
His research and teaching have covered a wide range of areas, including medical care utilization, health maintenance organizations, hospital market competition, quality and outcomes of hospital care, risk assessment and risk adjustment, primary care delivery, care for patients with advanced cancer, and health care reform. A core theme linking this work is how better information and improved incentives can lead to increased value in health care delivery. He has been involved in postdoctoral training for over four decades, having been co-director or associate director for five training programs sponsored by UCSF and/or UC Berkeley and PAMFRI.
He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and served six years on its Council. He was a member of and chaired the National Advisory Council of the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (now the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality). He served on the board of AcademyHealth for 10 years and was co-editor of the journal Health Services Research. He has authored or co-authored and edited five books and has published widely in scientific journals. He received his A.B., M.A., and Ph.D. in economics (specializing in health sector economics and public finance) from Harvard University.