National Academy of Medicine

Vital Directions for Health & Health Care

Discussion Paper Topics and Authors

Vital Directions Homepage


The National Academy of Medicine’s Vital Directions for Health and Health Care Initiative commissioned expert papers on 19 priority focus areas for U.S. health policy by more than 100 leading researchers, scientists, and policy makers from across the United States. The purpose of the initiative was to compile expert information and viewpoints to inform debate and decision making around new directions for health and health care in the United States. The views presented in this series are those of the authors and do not represent formal consensus positions of the NAM, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, or the authors’ organizations.

Please direct all inquiries to Elizabeth Finkelman at

Better Health and Well-Being

  • Systems Strategies for Better Health Throughout the Life Course

    Authors: J. Michael McGinnis, National Academy of Medicine; Don Berwick, Institute for Healthcare Improvement; Tom Daschle, Former U.S. Senator, The Daschle Group; Angela Diaz, Mount Sinai; Harvey Fineberg, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation; Bill Frist, Former U.S. Senator, Bipartisan Policy Center; Atul Gawande, Ariadne Labs, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Harvard University; Neal Halfon, University of California, Los Angeles; and Risa J. Lavizzo-Mourey, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

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  • Addressing Social Determinants of Health and Health Disparities

    Authors: Nancy E. Adler, University of California, San Francisco; David M. Cutler, Harvard University; Jonathan E. Fielding, University of California, Los Angeles; Sandro Galea, Boston University; M. Maria Glymour, University of California, San Francisco, Howard K. Koh, Harvard University; and David Satcher, Morehouse School of Medicine

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  • Preparing for Better Health and Health Care for an Aging Population

    Authors: Jack W. Rowe, Columbia University; Lisa Berkman, Harvard University; Linda Fried, Columbia University; Terry Fulmer, John A. Hartford Foundation; James Jackson, University of Michigan; Mary Naylor, University of Pennsylvania; William Novelli, Georgetown University; Jay Olshansky, University of Illinois at Chicago; and Robyn Stone, LeadingAge

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  • Chronic Disease Prevention: Tobacco, Physical Activity, and Nutrition for a Healthy Start

    Authors: William H. Dietz, George Washington University; Ross C. Brownson, Washington University; Clifford E. Douglas, American Cancer Society; John J. Dreyzenher, Tennessee Department of Health; Ron Z. Goetzel, Truven Health Analytics; Steven L. Gortmaker, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; James S. Marks, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; Kathleen A. Merrigan, George Washington University; Russell R. Pate, University of South Carolina; Lisa M. Powell, University of Illinois at Chicago; and Mary Story, Duke University

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  • Improving Access to Effective Care for People Who Have Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders

    Authors: James Knickman, New York University; K. Ranga Rama Krishnan, Rush University Medical Center; Harold A. Pincus, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University and New york Presbyterian Hospital; Carlos Blanco, National Institutes of Health; Dan G. Blazer, Duke University Medical Center; Molly J. Coye, AVIA; John H. Krystal, Yale University School of Medicine; Scott L. Rauch, McLean Hospital; Gregory E. Simon, Group Health Research Institute; and Benedetto Vitiello, National Institutes of Health

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  • Advancing the Health of Communities and Populations

    Authors: Lynn Goldman, George Washington University; Georges Benjamin, American Public Health Association; Sandra Hernández, California Health Care Foundation; David Kindig, University of Wisconsin; Shiriki Kumanyika, University of Pennsylvania; Carmen Nevarez, Public Health Institute; Nirav R. Shah, Kaiser Permanente; and Winston Wong, Kaiser Permanente

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High-Value Health Care

  • Benefit Design to Promote Effective, Efficient, and Affordable Care

    Authors: Michael E. Chernew, Harvard Medical School; A. Mark Fendrick, University of Michigan; Sherry Glied, New York University; Karen Ignagni, EmblemHealth; Steve Parente, University of Minnesota; Jamie Robinson, University of California, Berkeley; and Gail Wilensky, Project HOPE

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  • Payment Reform for Better Value and Medical Innovation

    Authors: Mark McClellan, Duke University; David Feinberg, Geisinger Health System; Peter Bach, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Paul Chew, Sanofi; Patrick Conway, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; Nick Leschly, Bluebird; Greg Marchand, Boeing; Michael Mussallem, Edwards Biosciences; Rick Pollack, American Hospital Association; and Dorothy Teeter, Washington Health Care Authority


  • Competencies and Tools to Shift Payments from Volume to Value

    Authors: Michael O. Leavitt, Former Governor of Utah, Leavitt Partners; Susan D. DeVore, Premier, Inc.; Elliott Fisher, Dartmouth College; Rick Gilfillan, Trinity Health; H. Steve Lieber, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society; Richard Merkin, Heritage Provider Network; Jeffrey Rideout, Integrated Healthcare Association; and Kent J. Thiry, DaVita Healthcare Partners, Inc.

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  • Tailoring Complex Care Management, Coordination, and Integration for High-Need, High-Cost Patients

    Authors: David Blumenthal, The Commonwealth Fund; Gerard Anderson, Johns Hopkins University; Sheila Burke, Harvard John. F. Kennedy School; Ashish K. Jha, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Terry Fulmer, John A. Hartford Foundation; and Peter Long, Blue Shield of California Foundation

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  • Realizing the Full Potential of Precision Medicine in Health and Health Care

    Authors: Victor Dzau, National Academy of Medicine; Geoffrey S. Ginsburg, Duke University; Aneesh Chopra, Hunch Analytics; Dana Goldman, University of Southern California; Eric D. Green, National Institutes of Health; Debra G.B. Leonard, University of Vermont; Mark McClellan, Duke University; Andy Plump, Takeda Pharmaceuticals; Sharon F. Terry, Genetic Alliance; and Keith Yamamoto, University of California, San Francisco

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  • Fostering Transparency in Outcomes, Quality, Safety, and Costs

    Authors: Peter Pronovost, Johns Hopkins University; J. Matthew Austin, Johns Hopkins University; Christine K. Cassel, Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine; Suzanne F. Delbanco, Catalyst for Payment Reform; Ashish K. Jha, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Bob Kocher, Venrock; Elizabeth A. McGlynn, Kaiser Permanente; Lewis G. Sandy, UnitedHealth Group; and John Santa, formerly Consumer Reports

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  • The Democratization of Health Care

    Authors: Paul C. Tang, IBM Watson Health; Mark D. Smith, University of California, San Francisco; Julia Adler-Milstein, University of Michigan; Tom Delbanco, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; Stephen J. Downs, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; Debra L. Ness, National Partnership for Women & Families; Ruth M. Parker, Emory University; and Danny Z. Sands, Conversa Health

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  • Workforce for 21st Century Health and Health Care

    Authors: Steven H. Lipstein, BJC HealthCare; Arthur L. Kellermann, Uniformed University of the Health Sciences; Bobbie Berkowitz, Columbia University; Robert Phillips, American Board of Family Medicine; Glenn D. Steele, Jr., xG Health Solutions; David Sklar, University of New Mexico; and George E. Thibault, Josiah Macy Jr.  Foundation

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Strong Science & Technology

  • Information Technology Interoperability and Use for Better Care and Evidence

    Authors: Jonathan B. Perlin, Hospital Corporation of America; Dixie B. Baker, Martin Blanck, and Associates; David J. Brailer, Health Evolution Partners; Douglas E. Fridsma, American Medical Informatics Association; Mark E. Frisse, Vanderbilt University; John D. Halamka, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; Jeffrey Levi, George Washington University; Kenneth D. Mandl, Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School; Janet M. Marchibroda, Bipartisan Policy Center; Richard Platt, Harvard University; and Paul C. Tang, IBM Watson Health

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  • Data Acquisition, Curation, and Use for a Continuously Learning Health System

    Authors: Harlan M. Krumholz, Yale University; Philip E. Bourne, National Institutes of Health; Richard E. Kuntz, Medtronic; Harold L. Paz, Aetna; Sharon F. Terry, Genetic Alliance; and Joanne Waldstreicher, Johnson & Johnson

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  • Innovation in Development, Regulatory Review, and Use of Clinical Advances

    Authors: Michael Rosenblatt, Flagship Ventures; Christopher P. Austin, National Institutes of Health; Marc Boutin, National Health Council; William W. Chin, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America; Steve K. Galson, Amgen, Inc.; Sachin Jain, CareMore; Michelle McMurry-Heath, Johnson & Johnson; Samuel R. Nussbaum, University of Southern California; John Orloff, R&D Biopharmaceutical Executive; Steven E. Weinberger, American College of Physicians; and Janet Woodcock, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

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  • Targeted Research: Brain Disorders as an Example

    Authors: Alan Leshner, American Association for the Advancement of Science (Ret.); Steve Hyman, Harvard University and Broad Institute of MIT; and Story Landis, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

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  • Training the Workforce for 21st Century Science

    Authors: Elias Zerhouni, Sanofi; Jeremy Berg, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center; Freeman A. Hrabowski, University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Raynard Kington, Grinnell College; and Story Landis, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

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