The onslaught of COVID-19 cases exposed strengths and weaknesses in health care with lessons on how to build resilient systems and provide effective health outcomes for communities. On Monday, July 19, Washington Post Live brings together health-care professionals and advocates to discuss the sustainability of health systems as they now work toward greater equity across all populations and tackle the epidemic of chronic disease.


McMurry-Heath said non-White and vulnerable communities need to be involved in every step of health care to ensure the system is beneficial for all involved. “We must have universal access to care, and patients should not face barriers to getting their medications or following their doctor’s advice… We also have to make sure we are involving communities of color and vulnerable communities in every step of the drug development and research pathways so that we’re sure that what comes out at the end of the day benefits all communities equally.” (Washington Post Live)
Cecelia Calhoun, MD said during the pandemic many patients had to decide if they should follow public health guidance that wasn’t made with their work lives in mind. “Patients have to make a decision between, ‘do I go and earn a living or do I comply by these guidelines that were set without maybe consideration of all facets of society?’” (Washington Post Live)
Chicago Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwady, MD said it was important to not only tell people what guidance was recommended, but also to ask communities what about barriers in their lives made that guidance difficult to follow. “As a city, very much of our covid response was not ‘Here’s what you need to do.’ It was ‘what are the barriers that are stopping you from doing that?’ And really thinking about the wrap-around services to allow someone to quarantine… These are all tied together, but the decisions we’ve made as a society … came to light in the different disease rates that we saw in Chicago and around the country.” (Washington Post Live)
Frieden says the United States has regressed in its control of hypertension over the last five to 10 years. “One of the ironies of health care is we tend to over treat symptomatic conditions, and under-treat asymptomatic conditions, and the paradigm of that is hypertension… What we’ve seen in the U.S. sadly is that we’ve gone backwards. We have a lower level of hypertension control than we did a decade ago, or five years ago.” (Washington Post Live)
Frieden said the country needs to better balance the way technology is integrated into our daily lives. “We have anxiety, depression, addiction to screens … They are great enablers of connections among people, of efficiency, of working together, and … they can also be barriers to human connection and to students learning and families being able to interact effectively around the dinner table.” (Washington Post Live)

Allison Arwady, MD

Dr. Allison Arwady, MD, MPH, is the Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH). Dr. Arwady started at CDPH in 2015 and served as Chief Medical Officer before being confirmed by the City Council as Commissioner in January, 2020. As Chief Medical Officer she oversaw the disease control, environmental health, emergency preparedness, and behavioral health divisions. She has worked on disease outbreaks, immunization promotion, tuberculosis response, lead poisoning prevention, substance misuse, and more. Prior to CDPH, she worked for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer. In that role, she focused on outbreak response, including international work on Ebola and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. While based at the Illinois Department of Public Health, she responded to disease outbreaks across the state. She has a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, a master’s degree in public health from Columbia University, and completed medical school and clinical training at Yale University. She is a board-certified internal medicine physician and pediatrician, and continues to see primary care patients weekly.

Cecelia L. Calhoun, MD, MPHS, MBA

Provided by Yale School of Medicine.

Cece Calhoun MD, MPHS, MBA is an Assistant Professor of Medicine (Hematology) and Pediatrics (Hematology-Oncology) at the Yale University School of Medicine. She is also Director of the Adolescent and Young Adult Sickle Cell Disease Program at Yale Center and Smilow Caner Hospital. She earned her MD at Wayne State University in her hometown of Detroit, MI. She went on to complete her residency and fellowship training at Michigan State University and Washington University in St. Louis. She conducts health equity research with and for persons with sickle cell disease, who are disproportionality impacted by health and healthcare disparities.

Dr. Calhoun uses mixed methods to find solutions to the educational and healthcare obstacles critical to the longevity of adolescents with sickle cell disease. She has dedicated her career to the design and implementation of evidence-based interventions that promote successful transition from youth to adult care for the sickle cell population. As an NIH funded investigator she collaborates with her hematology colleagues across the nation to use Implementation Science methods to improve outcomes for patients with sickle cell disease throughout their lifespans. She has also worked with the American Society of Hematology as well as the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America to engage in governmental advocacy on the local and federal levels for patients with sickle cell. She recently completed her MBA at Yale University as a member of the inaugural cohort of Pozen Commonwealth Fund Fellows in Health Equity Leadership.

Thomas R. Frieden, MD

Provided by Resolve To Save Lives.

Dr. Tom Frieden is the president and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives (an initiative of Vital Strategies) and a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is the former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2009 to 2017, and the former commissioner of the New York City Department of Health Department. Resolve to Save Lives works with countries to prevent 100 million deaths and to make the world safer from epidemics @DrTomFrieden Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Michelle McMurry-Heath, MD, PhD

Provided by the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO).

Michelle McMurry-Heath is the President and CEO of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), the world’s largest biotechnology advocacy group. BIO represents nearly 1,000 life sciences companies and organizations from 30 countries. The organization’s mission is to support companies that discover and deploy scientific breakthroughs that improve human heath, environmental stewardship, and sustainable agriculture.

Since assuming leadership of BIO on June 1, 2020, Dr. McMurry-Heath has positioned BIO as a leading champion of scientific innovation and the bio-revolution, which aims to use technological breakthroughs to cure patients, protect our climate, and nourish humanity. A common thread throughout McMurry-Heath’s career has been her focus on broadening access to scientific progress so more patients from diverse backgrounds can benefit from cutting-edge advancements. She calls the distribution of scientific progress “the social justice issue of our age.”

Before coming to BIO, Dr. McMurry-Heath worked at Johnson & Johnson, where she served as Global Head of Evidence Generation for Medical Device Companies and then Vice President of Global External Innovation and Global Leader for Regulatory Sciences. She was also instrumental in bringing J&J’s incubator, JLABS, to Washington, DC. She led a global team of 900 with responsibilities in 150 countries around the globe.

Prior to her time at J&J, Dr. McMurry-Heath was also a key science policy leader in government. The Obama-Biden transition team tapped her to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the National Science Foundation’s policies, programs, and personnel. President Obama then named her associate science director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health under Commissioner Peggy Hamburg. In that role, she championed clinical trial evolution, the use of real-world evidence in product evaluation, and an embrace of the patient’s voice in health research so new medical products deliver outcomes that matter to them. McMurry-Heath was the founding director of the Aspen Institute’s Health, Biomedical Science, and Society Policy Program. She received her early training in science policy from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and later served as Senator Joe Lieberman’s top legislative aide for science and health. In that role, she drafted legislation to protect the country from biological attacks.

McMurry-Heath received her MD/PhD from Duke’s Medical Scientist Training Program, becoming the first African American to graduate from the prestigious program. She spent 12 years working at the research bench before taking policy and leadership roles in government and industry.

McMurry-Heath lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband Sebastian Heath, a veterinarian, and their daughter, Isabella. To relax, she enjoys yoga, snorkeling and her daughter’s sporting events.

Content from Amgen Biosimilars

The following content is produced and paid for by a Washington Post Live event sponsor. The Washington Post newsroom is not involved in the production of this content.

(Washington Post Live)

A Call for Action: Building Resilience in our Healthcare System

Ian Thompson, senior vice president and general manager, U.S. General Medicine at Amgen, and Elise Labott, adjunct professor at American University and former CNN Global Affairs Correspondent, discuss the impact of COVID-19 on global healthcare systems and economies, and the role that biosimilars have the potential to play in the healthcare resilience solution.

Ian Thompson

Ian Thompson became Amgen’s senior vice president, General Manager, U.S. General Medicine in January 2021. Ian is a member of the Amgen CEO Operating Team and a member of the Amgen Global Commercial Senior Leadership Team. He is a Board Member of the Amgen Foundation, BIO and the Health Care Leadership Council.

Prior to this role, Thompson served as SVP & General Manager, Intercontinental Region and was accountable for operations in 34 countries, including Canada, Latin America, Turkey, Middle East and Africa.

Ian has also led the European Mid-sized Markets for Amgen as Regional Vice President and General Manager. In this role he led 18 countries and geographic clusters including the Nordics, Baltics, Belux, Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Greece and Poland. He also held the role of VP Marketing and Innovation, Europe.

Ian joined Amgen in 2008 as the Managing Director of Australia and New Zealand and in that time also served on the Board of Medicines Australia.

From 1994 to 2008, Thompson held a range of country, region and global roles in sales and marketing for Eli Lilly & Company.

Ian completed a BA (Hons) at Leeds, England and then completed his MBA at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia.

Elise Labott

Elise Labott is a leading journalist covering foreign US foreign policy and international issues. Elise is a columnist at Foreign Policy magazine and before that was 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