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Susan Dentzer, Healthcare Speaker

Susan Dentzer

    • Health and Health Policy Thought Leader
    • Author of Healthcare Without Walls
    • President and Chief Executive Officer of NEHI (2016-2019)
    • Senior Policy Adviser Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (2013-2016)
Fee Range

$15,000 - $20,000

Travels From


NIC Talks 2018 | Susan Dentzer | Network for Excellence in Health Innovation

NIC Talks 2018 | Susan Dentzer | Network for Excellence in Health Innovation

Susan Dentzer moderates on compassionate healthcare

Susan Dentzer moderates on compassionate healthcare

Susan Dentzer is Senior Policy Advisor at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation’s largest health and health care philanthropy. In this role, she works closely with foundation leaders to carry out the organizational mission of improving the health and health care of all Americans. One of the nation’s most respected health and health policy thought leaders and journalists, she is also an on-air analyst on health issues on the PBS NewsHour.

Susan Dentzer is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine and the Council on Foreign Relations, and a fellow of the National Academy of Social Insurance, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization made up of the nation's leading experts on social insurance, and the Hastings Center, an institution dedicated to bioethics and the public interest. She is also a public trustee of the American Board of Medical Specialties, the not-for-profit organization that oversees 24 approved medical specialty boards in setting standards for board certification and maintenance of certification for the nation's physicians, and a member of the board of directors of Research!America, which advocates for increased US Investment in biomedical research.

Dentzer is a frequent guest and commentator on such National Public Radio shows as This American Life and The Diane Rehm Show. From May 2008 to April 2013, Dentzer was Editor-in-Chief of Health Affairs, the nation’s leading journal of health policy, where she transformed the journal from a bimonthly academic publication to a topical monthly journal and online publication with more than in excess 120 million page views annually.

Prior to joining the journal, Dentzer was on-air correspondent on health and health policy for the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, where she earned numerous awards for her work. (The unit was supported by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.) Before joining the NewsHour, Dentzer served as chief economics correspondent and economics columnist for US News & World Report and a senior writer for Newsweek.

Dentzer has been the recipient of several fellowships, including the Nieman Fellowship for journalists at Harvard and the US-Japan Leadership Program fellowship sponsored by the Japan Society of New York.

Dentzer is also a member of the Board of Overseers of the International Rescue Committee, a humanitarian organization providing relief to refugees and displaced persons around the world. She chairs the IRC board's Program Committee, which oversees the organization's activities in resettling refugees in the United States and in dealing with refugees and displaces persons in roughly 25 countries.  Dentzer has served on IRC commissions examining the problems of domestic violence against women in West Africa and, in 2007, the situation of Iraqi refugees in Syria and Jordan.

A graduate of Dartmouth and holder of an honorary master of arts from the institution, Ms. Dentzer is a Dartmouth trustee emerita, and was the only woman to date to chair the Dartmouth Board of Trustees, which she did from 2001 to 2004. Winner of the Dartmouth Alumni Award, the Young Alumni Award and the Dartmouth Presidential Medal for Achievement, she has served on the Board of Overseers of Dartmouth Medical School since 1993.

Susan Dentzer, her husband and their three children live in the Washington, DC area.


To invite Susan Dentzer to speak at your event, call Executive Speakers Bureau at 901-754-9404.

Health Care Without Walls: A Roadmap for Reinventing U.S. Health Care

“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, interprofessional 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.


Unequal Opportunities, Unequal Outcomes? Averting the Worst for Health and Health Care in America

As the world reaps the fruits of genomics advances, advanced treatments for many conditions, such as cancer, are becoming available, but they are only contributing to a cost spiral that has already put affordable health coverage out of the reach of many Americans. And in the meantime, growing national health expenditures continue to pose a challenge not just to individuals’ pocketbooks, but to state treasuries, the federal government, and taxpayers. Health expenditures are crowding out spending on other critical areas such as education – leading to a vicious cycle that will probably deprive many Americans in coming years of optimal health.

What is to be done? How can the United States improve the health of its population; address the health crises afflicting so many; spread or equalize access to the best health care available; and maintain expenditures on health care within sustainable bounds?  Achieving all of these outcomes may seem impossible, but there are important steps that the nation can take to get us on the right road.  Susan Dentzer will describe the issues and options available to us as a nation.


Other topics include:

Health care politics and policy: Where is the nation in 2020? Where are we headed?

Medicare for All: What would it mean? Would it work?

Revamping payment in U.S. Health Care: Are we succeeding? What are the results?

Transparency in Health Care Costs

Addressing the Social Determinants of Health: Communities that are leading the way

Hospitals and health systems as “Anchor Institutions” advancing health in their communities

A “21st Century Hill-Burton” plan: How to transform hospitals and health systems to advance health in communities

Speaking Topics:

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