John G.H. Palen, Ph.D., M.P.H., P.A., Deputy Coordinator for Program Quality

Date: 04/07/2017 Description: John Palen Official Photo  - State Dept Image

John Palen, Ph.D., M.P.H., P.A., serves as the Deputy Coordinator of Program Quality in the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Health Diplomacy (S/GAC).

In this capacity, Palen manages S/GAC’s Program Quality Office, which is organized into three distinct operational units: the HIV/Tuberculosis Clinical Care Unit (including adult and pediatric care as well as laboratory and commodity management and procurement practices); the HIV Prevention Unit (including voluntary medical male circumcision [VMMC], pre-exposure prophylaxis, and others); and the Quality Management Unit (Site Improvement Through Monitoring System [SIMS] and quality improvement/quality management approaches).

Each unit provides a wide range of technical support at the headquarters and country levels, including the following:

  • Management of specific S/GAC initiatives implemented within countries that have programs supported by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), such as plus-up funding for VMMC and orphans and vulnerable children programs, antiretroviral medications impact funding, and others
  • Development of international guidelines and related policies
  • Technical support to PEPFAR country teams in adopting and operationalizing new policies into effective practice standards and procedures
  • Management of the interagency technical working groups
  • Establishment of measurement approaches (such as SIMS) and their application to quality management
  • Establishment and execution of standard operational procedures (including country operational plans guidance and quarterly review procedures) related to improving the strategic focus, impact, and quality of PEPFAR programmatic investments

Palen represents PEPFAR on program quality-related matters with other multilateral donors and organizations, including the World Health Organization, the Global Fund, and UNAIDS. In addition, he collaborates with other technical experts and policy makers engaged in PEPFAR and global HIV programming at the international and national levels. Finally, Palen provides oversight in designing and analyzing research and evaluations meant to measure the impact of policy reforms and adoptive practice interventions within complex global HIV care and system issues.

Prior to his role as Deputy Coordinator for Program Quality, Palen served as Deputy Director of the Office of Sustainability and Development in S/GAC. In this capacity, Palen provided technical and managerial support to PEPFAR headquarters and field operating units in the areas of policy and program implementation in developing, implementing, and assessing a variety of factors affecting the sustainability of national HIV programs supported by PEPFAR resources.

Before arriving at S/GAC, Palen occupied several senior level roles during his professional career in HIV care, treatment, research, and public health. Beginning 1986, Palen held the following positions, listed below from the most recent:

  • Senior Advisor for Care and Support at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)/PEPFAR, USAID Office of HIV/AIDS
  • Senior Advisor for Human Resources for Health and Health Systems Strengthening at the U.S. Department of State, S/GAC Deputy (Technical Programs) to the Vice President of Global Affairs, Abt Associates
  • Associate Professor of Health Policy and Global Health; Associate Dean of Academics at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health
  • Director, Office of Policy and Program Development, Office of HIV/AIDS – Ryan White CARE Act programs, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration
  • U.S. Senate Congressional Health Policy Fellow (AAS), Senator Ted Kennedy
  • Project Director of a National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases-funded national HIV study (Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study – MACS) at Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health
  • Health Care Provider (Physician Assistant – PA-C) at the Moore Clinic for HIV Care, Johns Hopkins Hospital

Palen’s academic and professional experience includes provision of HIV health care services, infectious disease epidemiology and research, U.S. and global HIV health policy development, and health care management. Palen’s academic qualifications include training and certification as a Physician Assistant (The George Washington University, 1986), a master’s degree in public health (M.P.H., Johns Hopkins University, 1989), and a doctorate in philosophy (health systems management, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University, 1996).

Palen has authored numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals, including The Lancet, The Journal of the American Medical Association, The Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, AIDS, Archives of Internal Medicine, Annals of Epidemiology, and others.