Stacey and Gary Jacobs

Advancing New Health Policy SolutionsLearn More About This Topic

Gary Jacobs with Board President and AU President

Gary Jacobs (center) with AU President Sylvia Burwell and then-AU Alumni Board President Rob Johnson at the 2019 Alumni Awards Ceremony.

As the country develops solutions for the COVID-19 pandemic, American University is also working toward addressing future requirements in healthcare and how to support visionaries in the field. Thanks to the SPA Health Innovation Fund established by Gary Jacobs, SPA/MPA ’76, and his wife, Stacey, AU is able to convene experts across campus to help nonprofits and policy groups test and evaluate their new ideas in healthcare solutions.

“Gary has a passion for how we can fuel innovation in an area that’s looking for new policy approaches,” says Vicky Wilkins, dean of the School of Public Affairs. “He is an expert in the field and pushed for evidence-based policymaking. The SPA Health Innovation Fund will inform and shape policy solutions that work.”

Gary’s MPA studies focused on urban affairs. With years of experience across many health organizations, he currently serves as president of Village@Home. The company fosters a new approach to in-home care for complex patients by linking technology, remote monitoring, and highly trained practitioners. He shares that he and Stacey created the SPA Health Innovation Fund to “spark new ideas in a rapidly changing healthcare environment and offer teachable moments for students by providing them the skills necessary to compete in this new, emerging health economy.”

Gary is a longtime member of the SPA Dean’s Advisory Council and received AU’s Alumni Eagle Award in October 2019 for his outstanding service to the university. At the ceremony, he spoke of his commitment to AU: “I love coming to teach at AU. Mentoring our students is a shared responsibility. We want students to have the opportunity to learn about health policy and convert that knowledge into practical jobs.”

Stacey shares Gary’s enthusiasm for mentorship and philanthropy. In particular, she cites experiential learning and access to experts as important aspects of the SPA Health Innovation Fund. She’s seen the positive impact such internships and other hands-on learning experiences have made for the couple’s three sons and family friends, reflecting that “it gave me pleasure to follow their careers and discuss their days at work. I love seeing kids grow—that’s my passion.”

To ensure the SPA Health Innovation Fund’s continued impact for generations to come, Gary and Stacey have chosen to further support the fund by naming AU among the beneficiaries of Gary’s individual retirement account. “AU has been an integral part of my success in life. Core to my belief system is giving back and helping people find their path,” says Gary.

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