Seattle–For long-time members of Group Health Cooperative, the nation’s largest consumer-governed health care organization, Aubrey Davis is a familiar face and name. Davis, past president of Group Health and a trustee for over three decades, will be honored with the Health Care Achievement Award on Sept. 28 in Seattle. The Group Health Community Foundation will honor Davis at its Gift of Health Gala benefiting children’s and teen health.
“Active leadership by consumer members is what makes Group Health Cooperative different. Aubrey Davis has been Group Health’s moral compass and business steward,” said Cheryl Scott, president and CEO of Group Health.
Davis’ involvement with Group Health mirrors the issues of a dramatic era in American health care. He joined the Cooperative in 1948 as its 238th member. Premiums at the time were just $3 a month. As a trustee during the 1980s, Davis monitored passionate debates about reproductive rights and medical coverage. When consumer members of Group Health voted whether to make abortion services available to members, Davis played a key role in rallying members to support a woman’s right to choose, which they did.
During the 1990s, Davis championed health care reform and advocated for access to health care for all people. Davis helped to launch the Washington Basic Health Plan, the nation’s first program of subsidized health insurance for low-income families. Last year 175,000 people received health coverage through the Basic Health Plan. Davis also served on the National Task Force on Medicaid Management.
Davis served 32 years on the Group Health Board of Trustees, including eight terms as chair. He remains a trustee today. In 1988, at age 70, he became Group Health’s president and chief executive officer. His four years at the helm were followed by four years as president emeritus.
Davis is also known for tackling other civic issues facing the Puget Sound region. For 11 years he was a Mercer Island City Councilman and for four, he was mayor. He also served with the federal Urban Mass Transportation Administration, Washington State Transportation Commission, and on the boards for METRO and the Puget Sound Council of Governments.
The Health Care Achievement Award honors visionary leaders in the health care industry who have exhibited courage and pioneering spirit to improve health care for the community or for large populations. One quality of these leaders is an endurance to persevere against all odds. Davis is the first recipient of the annual award.
The Gift of Health Gala runs from 6:00 to 10 p.m. and will be emceed by Jean Enersen of KING 5 Televison. Cheryl Scott of Group Health and Leo Greenawalt, president of the Washington State Hospital Association, will bestow the award. Mr. Davis is expected to address the audience at 8:50 p.m.