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Patient Advocate Foundation
Phone: (800) 532-5274
Fax: (757) 873-8999
Home > Meet PAF > PAF Leaders & Board Members > Alan Balch, PhD

Alan Balch, PhD

Chief Executive Officer


Dr. Balch began his role as CEO in July 2013, succeeding founder Nancy Davenport-Ennis in day to day management and onsite leadership for Patient Advocate Foundation.

Dr. Balch brings a decade of executive leadership in the non-profit sector with an emphasis on consensus-building and collaboration to his position as Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Balch has extensive experience working with boards and senior executive staff to identify strategic priorities and then coordinating implementation of mission-critical activities across multiple staff and departments including advocacy, policy, finance, development, legal, health promotions, science, and field operations. Dr. Balch has led numerous federal advocacy efforts on a range of issues both at the legislative and regulatory level over the years. For example, he helped to organize and lead a coalition that successfully fought for improvements in the regulatory process for the review of cancer drugs at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). He also contributed key concepts and statutory language to important provisions in the Affordable Care Act.

From 2006 - 2013, he served as the Vice President of the Preventive Health Partnership -- a nation-wide health promotion collaboration between the American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association, and American Heart Association. Under Dr. Balch’s leadership, the collaboration has engaged in numerous arenas including federal advocacy, health system reform, patient education, scientific publications, health equity, worksite wellness, and joint fundraising. He also negotiated and helped to oversee a formal partnership between the three organizations on a multi-million dollar quality improvement program known as The Guideline Advantage that is designed to improve patient care by providing performance feedback to physicians and their practices across various quality of care measures. Prior to his work with the Preventive Health Partnership, Dr. Balch was the Executive Director of Friends of Cancer Research. Dr. Balch worked closely with the Chair and board of directors of Friends to develop and implement a strategic growth plan that significantly expanded programmatic activities while tripling average annual revenues and net assets to more than $1 million.

Dr. Balch is currently a member of the Board of Directors and serves as Treasurer for the Center for a New American Dream. He is also Vice Chair of Fight Colorectal Cancer, and serves on the Executive Board of the Patient Advocate Foundation and National Patient Advocate Foundation. Dr. Balch is a member of the National Committee for Quality Assurance’s Wellness and Health Promotion Advisory Committee and serves on the Advisory Board for both the Patient Resource Cancer Guides and the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease.

He earned his PhD in environmental studies in 2003 from the University of California, Santa Cruz; his master’s degree in environmental sciences in 1997 from the University of Texas in San Antonio; his bachelor’s degree (cum laude) in biology in 1994 from Trinity University in San Antonio. While pursuing his master’s degree, Dr. Balch worked as a grant writer for The Nature Conservancy of Texas and, while completing his doctoral work, he taught undergraduate courses in political science, public policy and economics as a teaching fellow at UC Santa Cruz.

The transition from environmental interests to healthcare was inspired by two cancer-related deaths in his family within weeks of each other in 2003. The first was the tragic death of his twelve-year old cousin to brain cancer with whom both he and his wife were very close. Shortly thereafter, his grandmother ended a painful fight against colon cancer. Dr. Balch served as one of her primary caregivers during the last few months of her life.

Dr. Balch and his wife, Valerie, are both accomplished amateur triathletes and are active volunteers in their community. They have two boys: Andrew and Matthew.