Loading Events


In 2016, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) established the Vital Directions for Health & Health Care initiative, which aims to provide the U.S. presidential administration, as well as other policymakers, opinion leaders, and the public, with trusted, nonpartisan, evidence-based analysis of the most compelling opportunities and priorities in health, health care, and biomedical science. The resulting 2017 NAM Vital Directions publication marshaled the expertise of over 150 leading experts to provide guidance on 19 priority areas that could immediately and substantively improve health and health care for all Americans.

Since that seminal publication, much has happened in health and health care, underscoring concerns about the nation’s persistent challenges related to maternal mortality, the opioid crisis, and pervasive health inequities, among others. In anticipation of the 2020 presidential election, the NAM completed an updated assessment on key priorities and issues of urgent attention for the next administration. In collaboration with Health Affairs, the NAM published a collection of articles in Health Affairs that addresses five high priority issues which have a particularly compelling need for attention from policymakers and decision-makers.

On Thursday, March 11, 2021, the NAM and Health Affairs hosted a virtual two hour briefing on Vital Directions 2021. The briefing featured special remarks and a panel discussion on the key policy recommendations across the articles.



2:00 pm ET | Opening Remarks

  • Alan Weil, JD, MPP, Editor-in-Chief, Health Affairs
  • Victor J. Dzau, MD, President, National Academy of Medicine

2:05 pm | Vital Directions for Health and Health Care: Priorities for 2021

  • J. Michael McGinnis, MD, MPP, Executive Officer, National Academy of Medicine

2:10 pm | Opening Keynote

  • Kathleen Sebelius, President and CEO, Sebelius Resources and former Secretary, US Department of Health and Human Services

2:20 pm | Special Remarks 

  • Senator William H. Frist, MD, former U.S. Senate Majority Leader; Special Partner, Cressey & Co; and founder/partner, Frist-Cressey Ventures

2:30 pm | Special Remarks

  • Representative Lauren Underwood (IL-14)

2:40 pm | Stakeholder Perspectives on Priorities for 2021 & Audience Q&A

Moderator: Alan Weil, JD, MPP, Editor-in-Chief, Health Affairs

  • Mark McClellan, MD, PhD, Robert J. Margolis Professor of Business, Medicine, and Policy, and founding Director of the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy at Duke University
  • Garth Graham, MD, MPH, Director and Global Head of Healthcare and Public Health at Google/YouTube
  • Aletha Maybank, MD, MPH, Chief Health Equity Officer and Group Vice President, American Medical Association
  • LaQuandra S. Nesbitt, MD, MPH, Director, District of Columbia Department of Health
  • Mark D. Smith, MD, MBA, former Chief Executive Officer of the California Health Care Foundation

3:55 pm ET | Closing Remarks

  • Alan Weil, JD, MPP, Editor-in-Chief, Health Affairs
  • Victor J. Dzau, MD, President, National Academy of Medicine

4:00 pm | Adjourn


Join Our Community

Sign up for NAM email updates