Virginia Gray Ph.D.

Robert Watson Winston Distinguished Professor
Department of Political Science
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Email: Discipline: Political Science Expertise: Politics and Policymaking, Interest Groups

Investigator Award
Against All Odds: Health Care Reform in the States
Award Year: 2002 Over the past several years, the federal government and many states have considered ways to address insurance coverage gaps, prescription drug coverage, and problems with managed care. While most federal reform attempts to date have been thwarted, many more reforms have passed in the states. Virginia Gray, Ph.D. and David Lowery, Ph.D. focus on interest groups in their project, Against All Odds: Health Care Reform in the States. Drs. Gray and Lowery examine why interest groups have been less effective at blocking health care reform at the state level than in Congress, and why many but not all states have been reformers. By looking at interest group structure in each of the 50 states and how they vary, Drs. Gray and Lowery expect to provide insights into the role that interest organizations play in the health policymaking process.


Virginia Gray, Ph.D., has been the Robert Watson Winston Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill since 2001; prior to that she was professor of political science at the University of Minnesota. Her visiting appointments have included the University of British Columbia, University of Oslo, and Nankai University in Tianjin, China. She has been a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution and held a study residency at the Rockefeller Foundation Center in Bellagio, Italy. Dr. Gray teaches and does research on state politics, public policy, and interest groups. She has published a number of journal articles and books on these topics, including The Population Ecology of Interest Representation (1996) with David Lowery. Her interest in health care was stimulated by eight years of service on the Board of Directors of Health Partners, a consumer-governed HMO in Minneapolis serving 800,000 members. In addition to chairing this Board, she also served on the Board of Directors of Health Partners' Institute for Medical Education and chaired the Board of its Research Foundation.