Throughout his career, Gary has
worked on strategic and operational planning, policy, systems,
models, management, reform and performance toward reducing
vulnerability, improving health and building a thriving future.
He founded and leads Thrive!® which helps create,
manage and sustain large positive change and build a thriving future
for all (persons, local, State, regional, national, global).
Similarly, he founded and leads HealthePeople® which helps build a
healthy and thriving future for individual persons and communities
(local, State, regional, national, global).
authored seven public policy books under Thrive! These endeavors
draw on 30+ years of experience in creating, managing, evaluating
and sustaining large positive change at national/local levels in
public and private sectors.
He was elected to and serves as a Senior Fellow
with the National Academy of Public Administration.
Through early 2006, he served as 1) Senior
Advisor to the Chief Operating Officer of the Centers for Medicare
and Medicaid Services and 2) Senior Advisor to the VA Under
Secretary for Health. As Senior Advisor with CMS (on detail
from VA), he led the strategic/operational planning effort and
helped lead pay for performance, quality improvement and
person-centered health. He also served (2005) as Deputy Director of
the Quality Improvement Group with CMS (on detail from VA). He took
an early retirement from Federal service in March 2006.
As Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary for
Health, he led several initiatives, incl. person-centered health,
care in the community, personal health systems (incl. My
HealtheVet), virtual health systems (incl. HealthePeople) and health
info standardization. HealthePeople is an initiative to move to
person-centered health, improve health delivery systems, adopt
health info standards, and improve availability, affordability and
performance of health info systems nationally.
For 2004-05, he was a Senior Fellow /
Scholar-in-Residence with the Institute of Medicine, National
Academy of Sciences focusing on vulnerable populations,
person-centered health, virtual health systems and care in the
Previously, beginning in 2000, he served as Chief
Information Officer (CIO) for Veterans Health Administration. As
CIO, he managed info systems for the $20+ billion veterans health
system, the nation’s largest integrated health system, and
info-related, system-wide expenditures of over $1 billion annually.
In addition, he developed and obtained approval and expanded funding
(additional $125M/year) for HealtheVet, the next generation health
From 1994-2000, he served with the Department of
Defense (DoD), including as Acting Assistant Secretary and Principal
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (PDASD) for Health Affairs. He
managed policy, the Defense Health Program budget, and performance
for the $16 billion Military Health System, including force health
protection and TRICARE. He was also Senior Advisor for Force Health
Protection with the Assistant Secretary for Reserve Affairs focusing
on DoD’s largest force health protection effort, protection against
anthrax. Earlier, he was Health Affairs’ Acting PDAS and Senior
Advisor and managed relationships with the White House and Federal
In 1993-94, he was Associate Director, Office of
Presidential Personnel, The White House and managed Presidential
appointments (PAS/PA/SES) to the Department of Health and Human
Services as well as eleven other Departments.
Earlier, he served as Executive Director of the
National Capital March of Dimes (1991-92). In 1991, he was Executive
Director of National Gray Panthers Project Fund.
From 1983 to 1991, he was Director of Health
Legislation for House Select Committee on Aging. He worked with
House leadership and authorization/appropriations committees,
drafted health legislation, and managed hearings on Alzheimer’s,
quality assurance, health costs, underserved populations, health
reform, Medicaid and Medicare.
Earlier, he was Deputy Director of the Municipal
Health Services Program (1981-83), based at Johns Hopkins and funded
by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. During 1977-80, he served as
Director of Special Projects for Milwaukee and developed a
nationally recognized inner city health/human service system with
funding from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Medicare, and
Medicaid. Previously, he was senior consultant and States
Coordinator with Kappa Systems (1975-77), contractor to NIH’s
National High Blood Pressure Education Program.
He is a sculptor of abstract art, focusing on
mobile and stabile sculptures and creating over 150 sculptures,
primarily working in copper, wood and stone media. (GChris.com)
He has his GChris Sculpture Studio/Gallery in Nelson, WI.
Previously, he had his GChris Sculpture Studio/Gallery in
Georgetown, DC and University Park, MD. He authored two science
fiction novels and two children's books (@
In the early ‘70s, he received his Bachelor’s
Degree in Political Science (1970) and his Master’s Degree in Urban
and Regional Planning (1974) from the University of Wisconsin -
Madison. During 1981-83, he did doctoral work in health policy and
management at the John Hopkins University School of Public Health.