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Susan Dentzer

Top Health Journalist and Expert; Editor-in-Chief, Health Affairs; Health Analyst, PBS NewsHour; Member, Institute of Medicine; Member, Council on Foreign Relations

Travels From:
District Of Columbia
Fee Range:
$10,000 - $15,000

One of the nation’s most respected health and health policy journalists, Susan Dentzer is also a frequent guest and commentator on such National Public Radio shows as This American Life and The Diane Rehm Show. She is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine and the Council on Foreign Relations.

A former contributing editor of US News & World Report and senior economic reporter for Newsweek, Susan Dentzer has covered a wide range of issues from international relations to economic reform. As an experienced keynote speaker, Dentzer brings her audiences a perspective from Capitol Hill, and how policy can and will affect the future of healthcare, Social Security and Medicare. Dentzer also speaks authoritatively on both foreign relations and domestic policy concerns.

Featured Videos

Susan Dentzer: Care Transitions

Speaker Resources

  •  Susan  Dentzer

Susan Dentzer is one of the nation's most respected health and health policy thought leaders and a frequent speaker and commentator on television and radio, including PBS and NPR, and an author of commentaries and analyses in print publications such as Modern Healthcare, the Annals of Internal Medicine, and the New England Journal of Medicine and NEJM Catalyst. She is also the editor and lead author of the book Health Care Without Walls: A Roadmap for Reinventing U.S. Health Care, available on Amazon.com.

She is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy, the Washington, DC-based arm of Duke University that focuses on health system transformation, biopharmaceutical policy, and other key health policy issues. At the Center, she focuses on research and thought leadership for modernizing the health care system through the use of greater virtual care and a reconfigured health care work force; improving health and health care in rural areas; anticipating a future of effective treatments for Alzheimer’s and other dementias; and other topics.

From 2016 to January 2019, Dentzer was President and Chief Executive Officer of NEHI, the Network for Excellence in Health Innovation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization composed of more than 80 stakeholder organizations from across all key sectors of health and health care. From 2013 to 2016, she was senior policy adviser to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation’s largest philanthropy focused on health and health care in the United States, and before that, was the editor-in-chief of the policy journal Health Affairs. From 1998 to 2008, she was the on-air Health Correspondent for the PBS NewsHour. Dentzer also wrote and hosted the 2015 PBS documentary, Reinventing American Healthcare, focusing on innovations pioneered by Geisinger Health System and spread across the nation.

Dentzer is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) and also serves on the Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice of the National Academies of Science, Medicine, and Engineering. She is also an elected member of the Council on Foreign Relations; a fellow of the National Academy of Social Insurance; and a fellow of the Hastings Center, a nonpartisan bioethics research institute. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Rescue Committee, a leading global humanitarian organization; a member of the board of directors of Research!America, which advocates on behalf of biomedical and health-related research; and is a member of the board of directors of the Public Health Institute, a nonprofit organization addressing public health issues and solutions nationwide. From 2011 to 2017 she was public member of the Board of Directors of the American Board of Medical Specialties, which assists 24 medical specialty boards in the ongoing evaluation and certification of physicians. She also is a member of the RAND Health Board of Advisors, and serves on the global public policy advisory committee for Roche, the international biopharmaceutical company based in Basel, Switzerland.

Dentzer graduated from Dartmouth, is a trustee emerita of the college, and chaired the Dartmouth Board of Trustees from 2001 to 2004. She has served as a member of the Board of Advisors of Dartmouth Medical School for more than two decades. Dentzer holds an honorary master’s degree from Dartmouth and an honorary doctorate in humane letters from Muskingum University. She and her husband have three grown children.

“With the 2020 national elections approaching, Democratic candidates are proposing a range of health reforms aimed at providing universal health insurance coverage. Some would build on and extend the reforms inherent in the Affordable Care Act; others would go further to create a

single-payer system and abolish private health insurance. There are also a variety of

competing reforms in between. In her presentation, Dentzer can describe the origins of “Medicare for All” in longstanding calls for national health insurance; delineate the specific “Medicare for All” and related proposals; discuss the implications for hospitals, health systems, insurers, and individuals; and weigh the political prospects of all of these reforms. She can also provide an update on Trump administration initiatives, and on litigation over the Affordable Care Act that could affect the political and health reform landscapes.


“Imagine a health care system that came to you — a system that met you, as an individual, where you are, in your home, workplace, or community, in part through such ‘virtual care’ modalities as telehealth. Such a system would anticipate your needs and work to keep you as healthy as possible, and view any of your needs to access “sick care” as a possible sign that the system had let you down. This system would address the upstream drivers of your health

status, and yet be as convenient and accessible as other elements of your life that you now take for granted, like ordering online. Such a system could be called ‘Health Care Without Walls.’


Susan Dentzer can describe current trends and examples moving us toward the vision of Health Care Without Walls, and the public policy changes and private sector measures also necessary to achieve it. Although there will be many benefits in achieving a far more distributed system of care outside of conventional institutional settings, such as hospitals, physicians’ offices, and nursing homes, a number of payment/reimbursement, regulatory, work

force, and human factors issues must be addressed before such a system can be

realized. Dentzer can describe the need for a “21st Century Hill Burton” program to assist many of the nation’s hospitals in transforming into new roles. In particular, Dentzer can discuss the many implications for the nation’s health care work force; education and training of health care

professionals; and in particular, inter professional education and training to deliver the team based, virtually enabled care that will increasingly be the norm. She can offer examples of organizations that are engaging in such efforts, and describe the opportunities that may emerge for research and other partnerships to advance the field.


When it comes to the population’s health, the United States is a divided country. Life

expectancy, once on a steady march upwards for most Americans, continues to rise for some, but is now falling overall. Even as well educated, upper-income Americans are living longer, hundreds of thousands of others are experiencing “deaths of despair” that result from chronic disease, mental and behavioral conditions, suicide, and substance abuse — and that may have its roots in economic decline. How can the nation improve the health of its population and address the health crises afflicting so many? Susan Dentzer will discuss the issues and options available.


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