Past Speakers

Dean's Lecture Series

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Jo Ann Jenkins, CEO, AARP

As CEO of AARP, Jo Ann Jenkins leads the world’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization with nearly 2,000 staff members, 60,000 volunteers and numerous strategic partners. Since joining the organization in 2010 and heading it since 2014, Jo Ann has transformed AARP into a leader in social change focused on everyday issues such as health care costs, financial security, connectivity, and career continuation. She also established a new strategic direction and operating structure for AARP Foundation and created Drive to End Hunger, a nationwide campaign which has donated over 36 million meals. Jo Ann began her career with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, later moving to the Department of Transportation and Department of Agriculture and then served as Chief Operating Officer of the Library of Congress. She has held a variety of board and advisory positions, including Congressional Hunger Center, Living Cities, and Caring for Military Families.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Emma Walmsley, CEO, GlaxoSmithKline

Emma Walmsley has been GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK) CEO since April 2017. Since becoming CEO, Emma has focused GSK’s three businesses (Pharmaceuticals, Vaccines, and Consumer Healthcare) around three long-term priorities: Innovation, Performance, and Trust, underpinned by a culture change. Most recently, GSK announced a new approach to R&D, focusing on science related to the immune system, the use of genetics and investments in advanced technologies. Emma co-chairs the Consumer, Retail and Life Sciences Council, a business advisory group for the U.K. Government, and is an Honourary Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Richard Besser, President and CEO, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Since April 2017, Dr. Besser has served as president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the largest private foundation in the country devoted solely to improving the nation’s health. Dr. Besser provided medical analysis and reports at ABC News, as former chief health and medical editor, and his weekly health chats on social media reached millions. As former director of the Coordinating Office for Terrorism Preparedness and Emergency Response at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, he was responsible for all public health emergency preparedness and emergency response activities.

Friday, January 11

Henry Marsh, Neurosurgeon and Author of Admissions: Life as a Brain Surgeon

Henry Marsh is one of the United Kingdom’s most eminent neurosurgeons. He has been the subject of two major BBC documentaries, which highlighted his work in Ukraine over the last 24 years. Although retired from full-time work in the National Health Service, he continues to work in diverse countries such as Ukraine, Nepal, Albania, and Pakistan.  He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty the Queen in 2010. His book Admissions: Life as a Brain Surgeon became a Number 1 Sunday Times best seller and was awarded the Times's William Howard Russell Award for non-fiction in 2017.

Thursday, October 4

Jessica Lessin, Founder & CEO, The Information

Jessica Lessin is the founder and CEO of The Information, a publication known for original, in-depth reporting about the technology industry. Lessin previously covered the biggest tech companies for the Wall Street Journal, breaking major deals, product launches, and CEO changes. In 2011, she was part of a team that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for a series on digital privacy. In 2014, Vanity Fair named her one of a new generation of Media Disruptors.  In addition to growing The Information’s subscriber community and team, Lessin continues to break news about the technology industry regularly and writes The Information’s weekly newsletter. She is a contributor and regular guest on CNBC and has appeared on NPR, CNN, and PBS’s “The Charlie Rose Show.”

Wednesday, March 21

Arianna Huffington - Co-Founder, The Huffington Post and Founder & CEO, Thrive Global

Arianna Huffington is the co-founder of The Huffington Post, the founder and CEO of Thrive Global, and the author of 15 books, including the most recent Thrive and The Sleep Revolution. In May 2005, she launched The Huffington Post, a news site and blog that quickly became one of the most widely read, linked to, and frequently cited media brands on the internet. In August 2016, she launched Thrive Global, a corporate and consumer well-being and productivity platform with the mission of changing the way we work and live by ending the collective delusion that burnout is the price we must pay for success.

Friday, February 23

Jonathan Perlin, MD, PhD, MSHA - President, Clinical Services and Chief Medicial Officer, HCA Healthcare Inc.

Dr. Jonathan Perlin is President, Clinical Services and Chief Medical Officer of Nashville, Tennessee-based HCA Healthcare, Inc, where he provides leadership for improving clinical services and performance at 177 hospitals and more than 1,000 outpatient surgical, urgent care, and other practice units.

Before joining HCA in 2006, the Honorable Jonathan B. Perlin was Under Secretary for Health in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate, as the senior-most physician in the Federal Government and Chief Executive Officer of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), Dr. Perlin led the nation’s largest integrated health system. 

Thursday, May 11, 2017 

Thomas Pike - Former Chief Executive Officer, Quintiles, Inc.

Thomas Pike has over 30 years of experience in global leadership, strategy, and operations spanning the health care industries: pharmaceuticals, payers, and providers as well as technology and services. Most recently, he was CEO of the CRO Quintiles Transnational, where he led the company through a successful public offering and helped it rank in the Fortune 500 and as one of the world’s Most Ethical Companies.

While CEO of Quintiles, he was a thought leader on improving clinical research, leadership, and other topics. Thomas retired late in 2016 after the company merged with IMS Health. Prior to Quintiles, Thomas was a leader at Accenture and earlier worked with McKinsey & Company.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Michael Specter - Staff Writer, The New Yorker

Michael Specter has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1998 and focuses on science, technology, and public health. Since joining the magazine, he has written about the global AIDS epidemic, avian influenza, malaria, the world’s diminishing freshwater resources, synthetic biology, the debate over the meaning of our carbon footprint, and editing DNA with CRISPR technology. He has also written profiles of Lance Armstrong, Richard Branson, the ethicist Peter Singer, Dr. Oz, the anti-GMO activist Vandana Shiva, Sean (P. Diddy) Combs, and Miuccia Prada. Since September, Specter has been a visiting scholar at Bio-X where he is working on a book about editing genes.

 More about Michael Specter 

Specter came to The New Yorker from the New York Times, where he was a roving foreign correspondent based in Rome. From 1995 to 1998, Specter served as the Times Moscow bureau chief. From 1985 to 1991, Specter worked at the Washington Post, where he covered local news before becoming the Post’s national science reporter and, later, the newspaper’s New York bureau chief. In 1996 he won the Overseas Press Club’s Citation for Excellence for his reporting from Chechnya. He has twice received the Global Health Council’s annual Excellence in Media Award, first for his 2001 article about AIDS called “India’s Plague,” and secondly for his 2004 article “The Devastation,” about the ethics of testing H.I.V. vaccines in Africa. He also received the 2002 AAAS Science Journalism Award for his article “Rethinking the Brain,” which is about the scientific basis of how we learn. In 2010, his book Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives received the Robert P. Balles Annual Prize in Critical Thinking.


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Clifton Leaf - Deputy Editor, Fortune Magazine

Clifton Leaf is deputy editor at Fortune, where he directs the editorial content of the magazine and oversees the staff. He is also the founding co-chair of the Fortune Brainstorm Health conference and editor of Brainstorm Health Daily, a newsletter focused on the intersection between big data and biology.

Previously, he served as a guest editor for the New York Times op-ed page and Sunday Review, and was executive editor at both the Wall Street Journal’s SmartMoney magazine and Fortune. He is the author of the critically acclaimed book, The Truth in Small Doses: Why We’re Losing the War on Cancer—and How to Win It, which was recently named by Newsweek as one of “The Best Books About Cancer,” and which earned Cliff a Lifetime Achievement Award for cancer reporting from the European School of Oncology.

 More about Clifton Leaf 

A winner of the Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism, the NIHCM’s Health Care Journalism Award, and a two-time finalist for the National Magazine Award, Cliff has received several leadership and writing honors for his efforts in the cancer fight, including the Henry R. Luce Award for public service, the 25th Annual Andrew Heiskell Award for Community Service, the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship’s Natalie Davis Spingarn Writer’s Award, and the NIHCM’s Health Care Journalism Award. For three years, he also served on the national board of directors for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world’s largest breast cancer charity.

A keynote speaker at more than three dozen scientific conferences around the world, Cliff has presented testimony to the President’s Cancer Panel three times, given a plenary address at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, and has been a moderator or panelist in numerous cancer-related meetings, including three Capitol Hill briefings for members of Congress. And in 2006, Cliff delivered “Grand Rounds” at the National Cancer Institute—the only journalist to have ever received the honor.

Prior to joining Fortune in 2000, Cliff was an editor and writer for a number of national magazines. A graduate of Williams College, he later received a Master of Fine Arts in writing from Sarah Lawrence College.


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Robert Califf, MD, MACC - Commissioner of Food and Drugs, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Fireside chat with Robert Califf, MD, MACC and Robert Harrington, MD discussing the collaboration between the FDA and academic medical institutions.

As the top official of the FDA, Dr. Califf is committed to strengthening programs and policies that enable the agency to carry out its mission to protect and promote public health. 

Previously, Dr. Califf served as the FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Medical Products and Tobacco from February 2015 until his appointment as commissioner in February 2016. In that capacity, he provided executive leadership to the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, the Center for Devices and Radiological Health, and the Center for Tobacco Products.  More about Robert Califf He also oversaw the Office of Special Medical Programs and provided direction for cross-cutting clinical, scientific, and regulatory initiatives, including Precision Medicine, combination products, orphan drugs, pediatric therapeutics, and the advisory committee system. 

Prior to joining the FDA, Dr. Califf was a professor of medicine and vice chancellor for clinical and translational research at Duke University. He also served as director of the Duke Translational Medicine Institute and founding director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute. A nationally and internationally recognized expert in cardiovascular medicine, health outcomes research, healthcare quality, and clinical research, Dr. Califf has led many landmark clinical trials and is one of the most frequently cited authors in biomedical science, with more than 1,200 publications in the peer-reviewed literature. 

Dr. Califf has served on the Institute of Medicine (IOM) committees that recommended Medicare coverage of clinical trials and the removal of ephedra from the market, as well as on the IOM Committee on Identifying and Preventing Medication Errors and the IOM Health Sciences Policy Board. He has served as a member of the FDA Cardiorenal Advisory Panel and FDA Science Board’s Subcommittee on Science and Technology. Dr. Califf has also served on the Board of Scientific Counselors for the National Institutes of Health and the National Library of Medicine, as well as on advisory committees for the National Cancer Institute, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the Council of the National Institute on Aging. 

While at Duke, Dr. Califf led major initiatives aimed at improving methods and infrastructure for clinical research, including the Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative (CTTI), a public-private partnership co-founded by the FDA and Duke. He also served as the principal investigator for Duke’s Clinical and Translational Science Award and the NIH Health Care Systems Research Collaboratory coordinating center. 

Dr. Califf is a graduate of Duke University School of Medicine. He completed a residency in internal medicine at the University of California, San Francisco and a fellowship in cardiology at Duke. 


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Hannah Valantine, MD, MRCP, FACC - Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity, National Institutes of Health 

NIH Addresses the Science of Diversity: Where Are We Now

Hannah Valantine is the first NIH Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity, and a Senior Investigator in the Intramural Research Program at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Prior to starting this position in April 2014, Dr. Valantine was Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and the Senior Associate Dean for Diversity and Leadership at Stanford, a leadership position she held since November 2004. She is nationally recognized for her transformative approaches to diversity and is a recipient of the NIH Director’s Pathfinder Award for Diversity in the Scientific Workforce.  More about Hannah Valantine 

She is currently leading NIH efforts to promote diversity through innovation across the NIH-funded biomedical workforce through a range of evidence-based approaches. Dr. Valantine maintains an active clinical research program that continues to have high impact on patient care. Current research extends her previous finding that an organ transplant is essentially a genome transplant, and that monitoring the level of donor DNA in a recipient’s blood as a marker of organ damage will detect early stages of rejection. She is currently overseeing a multi-site consortium of mid-Atlantic transplant centers to validate these findings clinically toward the development of a non-invasive tool for detecting early signs of organ rejection.


Monday, April 18, 2016

Marcia McNutt, Editor-in-Chief of Science Magazine

Marcia McNutt (BA in Physics, Colorado College; PhD in Earth Sciences, Scripps Institution of Oceanography) is a geophysicist who became the 19th Editor-in-Chief of Science in June 2013. From 2009 to 2013, Dr. McNutt was the Director of the U.S. Geological Survey, which responded to a number of major disasters during her tenure, including the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. For her work to help contain that spill, Dr. McNutt was awarded the U.S. Coast Guard’s Meritorious Service Medal. She is a fellow of AGU, the Geological Society of America, AAAS and the International Association of Geodesy.  More about Marcia McNutt 

Her honors and awards include membership in the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as honorary doctoral degrees from Colorado College, the University of Minnesota, Monmouth University and the Colorado School of Mines. Dr. McNutt was awarded the Macelwane Medal by AGU in 1988 for research accomplishments by a young scientist and the Maurice Ewing Medal in 2007 for her significant contributions to deep-sea exploration.


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

LGBT Challenges in Medical Education and Society

Marci Bowers, MD, Obstetrician/Gynecologist

Marci Bowers, MD, of Burlingame, California is widely recognized as a pioneer in the field of Genital Reassignment Surgery and is the first transgender woman to perform transgender surgery.  She is a highly regarded Ob/Gyn with 25 years of experience, known internationally for her restorative work with victims of Genital Cutting (aka FGM). Dr. Bowers is a pelvic and gynecologic surgeon with nearly 25 years’ experience in Women’s Healthcare.  More about Marci Bowers She is a University of Minnesota Medical School graduate and an Ob/Gyn product of the University of Washington in Seattle. Following residency, she remained in Seattle where she practiced as an Obstetrician/Gynocologist at The Polyclinic and Swedish Medical Center.

She spent several years in practice in Trinidad, Colorado before relocating in 2010 to the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2007 Dr. Bowers became an international authority on clitoral reconstruction for women who have suffered Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) one of few surgeons worldwide performing functional FGM reversal. She is also a regional expert in aesthetic vulvar surgery and has many years’ history working with gynecologic issues across the full spectrum.

She has been the subject of numerous documentaries, articles and features including appearances on Oprah, CBS Sunday Morning and Discovery Health, Newsweek, The Guardian and the Times of London. She is a devoted women’s healthcare advocate and provider.


Mitchell R. Lunn, MD, Assistant Professor, Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, UCSF

Mitchell (Mitch) R. Lunn, MD is an Assistant Professor in Division of Nephrology of the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). He is co-director of The PRIDE Study - a national, online, longitudinal cohort study of sexual and gender minorities - as well as principal investigator of PRIDEnet, a participant-powered research network of sexual and gender minorities designed to engage communities in the research process from beginning to end. More about Mitchell R. Lunn 

Mitch is a long-standing advocate for sexual and gender minority (SGM) inclusion in research and higher education, and he lectures around the country on SGM medical education, SGM health, and SGM community engagement. He serves on the Advisory Committee for the Medical School Campus Pride Index, is a member of the American Society of Nephrology’s Diversity and Inclusion Work Group, and is a founding member of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Medical Education Research Group (LGBT MERG) at Stanford University School of Medicine. LGBT MERG’s study on SGM health-related content in medical school curricula has influenced individual institutions and national organizations to examine their policies, procedures, educational environments, and curricular content to improve the culture of academic medicine for SGM people. In recognition of his SGM-related work, he received the 2015 UCSF Chancellor’s Award for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Leadership.

Mitch is delighted to be joining his passions of SGM health research, internal medicine, and medical education. Other areas of active research and interest include use of emerging technologies in research, SGM institutional climate, and methods of evaluation, particularly in undergraduate and graduate medical education.

Mitch earned his Bachelor of Science degree with highest thesis honors from Tufts University in 2004 and his Doctor of Medicine degree from Stanford University School of Medicine in 2010 before completing internal medicine residency training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in 2013 and nephrology fellowing at UCSF in 2016.


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Freeman A. Hrabowski - President of University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski, President of UMBC (University of Maryland, Baltimore County) since 1992, is a consultant on science and math education to national agencies, universities, and school systems. He was recently named by President Obama to chair the newly created President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans. He also chaired the National Academies’ committee that produced the recent report, Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads.  More about Freeman A. Hrabowski 

Named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by TIME (2012) and one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report (2008), he also received TIAA-CREF’s Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence (2011), the Carnegie Corporation’s Academic Leadership Award (2011), and the Heinz Award (2012) for contributions to improving the “Human Condition.” UMBC has been recognized as a model for academic innovation and inclusive excellence by such publications as U.S. News, which the past six years ranked UMBC the #1 “Up and Coming” university in the nation.


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, MD, MBA - U.S. Surgeon General 

Dr. Murthy was nominated by President Barack Obama in November 2013 and confirmed on December 15, 2014 as the 19th United States Surgeon General. As "America's Doctor", he is responsible for communicating the best available scientific information to the public regarding ways to improve personal health and the health of the nation. He also oversees the operations of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, comprised of approximately 6,700 uniformed health officers who serve in locations around the world to promote, protect, and advance the health and safety of the nation.  More about Vivek H. Murthy 

Dr. Murthy has devoted himself to improving public health through the lens of service, clinical care, research, education, and entrepreneurship. The son of immigrants from India, Dr. Murthy discovered a love for the art of healing early in his childhood while spending time in his father’s medical clinic in Miami, Florida. After attending Miami Palmetto Senior High School, he received his Bachelor’s degree from Harvard, and his M.D. and M.B.A. degrees from Yale. He completed his residency training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School where he later joined the faculty as an internal medicine physician and instructor   Dr. Murthy regards caring for patient as the greatest privilege of his life, and he has cared for thousands of patients and trained hundreds of residents and medical students as a clinician-educator. 

In addition to clinical practice, Dr. Murthy has two decades of experience and perspective improving health in communities across the country and around the world. He co-founded VISIONS, an HIV/AIDS education program in India and the United States, which he led for eight years. As President, he established ten chapters with hundreds of volunteers in both countries and grew the organization’s education programs to reach more than 45,000 youth. Dr. Murthy also co-founded the Swasthya project (“health and wellbeing” in Sanskrit), a community health partnership in rural India, to train women to be health providers and educators. During his five-year tenure with the organization, he established seed funding and helped expand research and direct care programs that reached tens of thousands of rural residents. 


Friday, May 1, 2015

Ruth J. Simmons, PhD - President Emerita, Brown University

Ruth J. Simmons was President of Brown University from 2001-2012. Under her leadership, Brown made significant strides in improving its standing as one of the world’s finest research universities.

A French professor before entering university administration, President Simmons held an appointment as a Professor of Africana Studies at Brown. After completing her Ph.D in Romance Languages and literatures at Harvard, she served in various faculty and administrative roles at the University of Southern California, Princeton University, and Spelman College before becoming president of Smith College, the largest women’s college in the United States. At Smith, she launched a number of important academic initiatives, including an engineering program, the first at an American women’s college.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Vivek Wadhwa - Fellow, Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University

Vivek Wadhwa is a Fellow at Arthur & Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance, Stanford University. He is author of The Immigrant Exodus: Why America Is Losing the Global Race to Capture Entrepreneurial Talent, which was named by The Economist as a Book of the Year of 2012, and Innovating Women: The Changing Face of Technology, which documents the struggles and triumphs of women. He was named by Foreign Policy magazine as a Top 100 Global Thinker in 2012. In 2013, Time magazine listed him as one of the 40 Most Influential Minds in Tech.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Rosalind Hudnell - Chief Diversity Officer, Global Director of Education and External Relations at Intel Corporation

Rosalind Hudnell currently serves as Chief Diversity Officer and Global Director of Education & External Relations for Intel Corporation. In this role, she oversees Intel's strategic approach to the development of diverse workforce worldwide, college relations, and the global branding and marketing of Intel’s image as workplace of choice.