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Dr. Pooja Kumar

Senior PartnerPhiladelphia

Serves health systems on operational transformations, growth strategies, and partnership strategies in markets experiencing payment reform; leads our work in academic health systems

A physician by training, Pooja serves health systems on large-scale performance transformations as well as on growth and partnership strategies. She has worked for public- and private-sector institutions and for not-for-profit and for-profit health systems. Pooja leads McKinsey’s work in academic health systems and leads the firm’s knowledge development on patient access and ambulatory operations.

Pooja has worked with several top-ranked academic health systems and medical schools on cost- and revenue-side performance transformations. She has also worked with health systems and medical groups across the country to improve patient access and medical-group performance. She has served several academic medical centers and community systems on partnership strategies. Pooja has written and spoken extensively on the topic of productivity in healthcare, including the practical changes required for the industry to become more productive.

Within our Social Sector practice, Pooja works with leading foundations and not-for-profit institutions to expand access to healthcare in low-income countries globally. She sits on the board of directors of Last Mile Health, a leading not for profit focused on expanding the community-health-worker model to the more than one billion people worldwide who lack access to healthcare because of distance. Prior to McKinsey, Pooja worked extensively in refugee health in Azerbaijan, East Timor, and India, and on the Congo-Zambia border.

  • Healthcare

Published work

Speaking to hearts and minds in healthcare,” McKinsey & Company, February 2023

The gathering storm: The affordability challenge of endemic COVID-19,” McKinsey & Company, September 2022

Tracking public-health outcomes across the United States,” McKinsey & Company, September 2022

Care for the caretakers: Building the global public health workforce,” McKinsey & Company, July 2022

Aging reframed: Seeing aging as an opportunity in healthcare,” McKinsey & Company, March 2022

Building the US public-health workforce of the future,” McKinsey & Company, February 2022

A light at the end of the tunnel: US COVID-19 vaccine administration,” McKinsey & Company, April 2021

The risks and challenges of the global COVID-19-vaccine rollout,” McKinsey & Company, January 2021

Rebuilding clinician mental health and well-being after COVID-19,” McKinsey & Company, December 2020

The future of payments is frictionless—now more than ever,” McKinsey & Company, November 2020

Walking out of the hospital: The continued rise of ambulatory care and how to take advantage of it,” McKinsey & Company, September 2020

Shifting focus to a comprehensive COVID-19-monitoring infrastructure,” McKinsey & Company, August 2020

Women in healthcare: Moving from the front lines to the top rung,” McKinsey & Company, August 2020

Rethinking health priorities: A conversation with Vivek Murthy,” McKinsey & Company, July 2020

Avoiding a ‘social recession’: A conversation with Vivek Murthy,” McKinsey & Company, June 2020

Major challenges remain in COVID-19 testing,” McKinsey & Company, April 2020

Critical care capacity: The number to watch during the battle of COVID-19,” McKinsey & Company, March 2020

‘Test and listen’: Microsoft’s Jim Weinstein on healthcare tech,” McKinsey & Company, January 2020

Picking winning strategies to improve healthcare productivity: An interview with Dr. Jim Weinstein,” McKinsey & Company, January 2020

Getting the right care to the right people at the right cost: An interview with Ron Walls,” McKinsey & Company, November 2019

“The role of academic-based health systems: An interview with Catherine Jacobsen and Thomas Zenty,” McKinsey & Company, October 2019

The Hospital is dead, long live the hospital!,” McKinsey & Company, May 2019

The productivity imperative for healthcare delivery in the United States,” McKinsey & Company, February 2019

Clinically integrated networks: Can they create value?” McKinsey & Company, June 2016

Unlocking the potential of academic and community health system partnerships,” McKinsey & Company, February 2016 (registration required)

The access imperative,” McKinsey & Company, February 2015

Past experience

Partners HealthCare
Resident physician

International Rescue Committee
Refugee health fellow


Harvard Medical School, Harvard University

Magdalen College, University of Oxford
MS, economics and social history

Duke University
BA, health policy