COVID-19 has inflated many of health care’s most pressing issues – from medical debt, to delayed cancer screenings, to skyrocketing addiction rates, to an increase in depression and anxiety cases. With an unknown future ahead of us, how can the medical industry deliver quality care in the middle of a global pandemic and in the future?

On Sept. 24, Washington Post Live will present the second of two dynamic events that will focus on what we have learned through this unprecedented time and how these new lessons will impact the future of health care. We’ll hear from former U.S. surgeon general Vivek Murthy, MD about health preparedness efforts underway to ensure that the U.S. is prepared for the next big public health crisis. Albert Einstein College of Medicine professor Chinazo Cunningham, MD will examine factors leading to long-standing racial disparities within our health-care system and how to tackle the problem at its root.


Vivek H. Murthy, MD

19th Surgeon General of the United States

Dr. Vivek H. Murthy served as the 19th Surgeon General of the United States appointed by President Barack Obama. As the Vice Admiral of the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, he commanded a uniformed service of 6,600 public health officers globally. During his tenure, Dr. Murthy launched the TurnTheTide campaign, catalyzing a movement among health professionals to address the nation’s opioid crisis. He also issued the first Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health, calling for expanded access to prevention and treatment and for recognizing addiction as a chronic illness, not a character flaw. An internal medicine physician and entrepreneur. In 2017, Dr. Murthy focused his attention on chronic stress and isolation as prevalent problems that have profound implications for health, productivity, and happiness. He has co-founded a number of organizations: VISIONS, an HIV/AIDS education program in India; Swasthya, a community health partnership in rural India training women as health providers and educators; software company TrialNetworks; and Doctors for America.

Dr. Murthy received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard and his M.D. and M.B.A. degrees from Yale. He completed his internal medicine residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and later joined Harvard Medical School as faculty in internal medicine. His research focused on vaccine development and later on the participation of women and minorities in clinical trials. Dr. Murthy resides in Washington, D.C. with his wife Dr. Alice Chen and their two young children. This spring Dr. Murthy’s first book “Together- The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World” was published by HarperCollins and made the New York Times Best Seller list.

Chinazo Cunningham, MD

Professor, Albert Einstein School of Medicine

Since 1998, Chinazo Cunningham, MD, MS has been providing care, developing programs, and conducting research focused on marginalized populations including people who use drugs with or at-risk for HIV infection. She has collaborated with community-based organizations to develop unique and innovative programs to deliver health care to these marginalized populations. Parallel with program development, her research has focused on improving access to care, utilization of health care services, and health outcomes. Dr. Cunningham has been the principal investigator on numerous grants funded by the NIH, CDC, HRSA, local and state Departments of Health, and foundations. In addition to her own research, she has mentored scores of trainees to conduct clinical research, resulting in several NIH-funded grants led by her trainees. Dr. Cunningham has served on numerous national advisory committees, including serving as the Chair of NY State Department of Health AIDS Institute’s Substance Abuse Committee; a member of the Opioid Guideline Workgroup of the CDC’s Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, 2016; a member of the NIH Office of AIDS Research’s Racial and Ethnic Populations Committee; and a member and Chair of the NIH’s Behavioral and Social Consequences of HIV/AIDS Study Section.

Content from Optum: Solving the Big Problems

There has been a magnifying glass on health care in 2020 where pressing issues have come into a more clear view. Issues such as health disparities to delayed cancer screenings, to adoption of new technologies and an increase in depression and anxiety cases – all are examples at the forefront. With the future still unknown, how can the health care industry deliver the right care at the right time and place? We’ll discuss ways that drastically improve how patients engage and experience overall care across diverse demographics and geographies – from using data to inform treatment options, access to telehealth and remote monitoring, pharmacy delivery and population analysis – all informing a better future for health care in America.

(This content was produced and paid for by a Washington Post Live event sponsor. The Washington Post newsroom was not involved in the production of this content.)

Reena Pande, Chief Medical Officer, AbleTo

As Chief Medical Officer of AbleTo, Reena serves as a passionate voice for the need to bridge the gaps between medical health and behavioral health. She spearheads AbleTo’s data analytics and outcomes research. Prior to her work at AbleTo, Dr. Pande was a cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA and Instructor at Harvard Medical School.

Reena Pande earned her undergraduate degree in Biology from Harvard University, her M.D. from Harvard Medical School, and a Masters degree in Epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health. She completed her internship, residency training, and fellowship in Cardiovascular Disease and Vascular Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

John Prince, CEO, OptumRx

John Prince currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of OptumRx, UnitedHealth Group’s freestanding pharmacy care services company. In this capacity, he is primarily responsible for leading the business strategy, sales efforts, product development, analytics/outcomes, and operations of home delivery pharmacies nationwide.

Previously, Prince served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Optum, overseeing the company’s end-to-end operational delivery globally. He has held numerous executive roles with UnitedHealth Group since 2005, including Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Optum, the first Chief Operating Officer of OptumHealth and led the formation of OptumHealth Financial Services as its Chief Executive Officer. Prior to joining UnitedHealth Group, Prince served as senior vice president and head of health care business development and strategy at JPMorgan Chase and was a partner at Arthur Andersen’s health care strategy and operations consultancy practice. Prince holds an undergraduate degree in economics and mathematics from Northwestern University, as well as a Master of Business Administration degree from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. Prince is actively involved in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

Moderated by Elise Labott, Adjunct Professor, American University

Elise Labott is a leading journalist covering foreign US foreign policy and international issues, most recently as CNN’s Global Affairs Correspondent. She has reported from more than . 80 countries, traveled the world with seven secretaries of state and has interviewed many world leaders and newsmakers. Elise is the founder of Twopoint.o Media, a digital media platform that aims to engage, inform and inspire citizens to solve today’s most pressing global challenges, and an adjunct professor at American University’s School of International Service. She is a contributor to Politico, provides commentary for MSNBC, NPR, BBC and several other broadcast outlets and is a sought-after interviewer and moderator. Elise also serves as a global ambassador for Vital Voices, an organization that empowers female entrepreneurs around the world and is on the advisory committee of Global Kids DC, a program which introduces high school students in underserved communities to international affairs. Prior to joining CNN, Elise covered the UN for ABC News and also reported on diplomatic and foreign policy issues for Agence France-Presse and other publications. Elise is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and earned a master’s degree from the New School for Social Research.