The Richard & Hinda Rosenthal Symposium

Through the generosity of the Richard & Hinda Rosenthal Foundation, the National Academy of Medicine hosts an annual discussion series to bring greater attention to critical health policy issues facing our country today.

2019 Symposium: Behaviour Change to Improve Health for all 

On 17 January 2019, the U.S. National Academy of Medicine and the U.K. Academy of Medical Sciences co-hosted the 2019 Richard & Hinda Rosenthal Symposium, titled ‘Behaviour change to improve health for all.’ During three sessions, the Symposium focused on how cutting-edge science in neurobiology and expanding knowledge about the factors influencing decision making involving the overconsumption of food and alcohol, obesity, and tobacco and drug use can lead to more effective interventions and policies to improve health and health equity across diverse populations. Specifically, through keynote presentations and panel sessions, the Symposium explores:

  • The neurobiology of behaviour and decision making, and how developing knowledge could translate into more effective interventions. 
  • Lessons learned from examples of successful interventions that have targeted the physical, social, and/or behavioural environments to alter behavioural patterns and reduce health inequities.
  • The potential roles for emerging technologies and complex system approaches to encourage healthy decision-making and improve the health of populations. 

Past Symposia


2017 Symposium — Pain and the Opioid Epidemic: A Path Forward

The 2017 Richard & Hinda Rosenthal Symposium was hosted in Ann Arbor, Michigan at the University of Michigan and reflected on the critical issue of pain and the opioid epidemic. The symposium featured a keynote address by Allan Basbaum (University of California, San Francisco) on The Future of Chronic Pain Management: From Non-Opioid Drugs to Antibodies to Cell Transplants, followed by a panel discussion with Richard Meich (University of Michigan), Chad Brummett (University of Michigan), Shelly Flagel (University of Michigan) and John Traynor (University of Michigan).

Event Page | Video | Program

2016 Symposium — Precision Population Health

rosenthal-homepageThe 2016 Richard & Hinda Rosenthal Symposium was hosted in Seattle, Washington and explored whether precision medicine will improve population health. Do we face a choice between precision medicine vs. population or public health practices, or is this a false dichotomy? The symposium featured a keynote address by Sue Desmond-Hellmann of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and a panel discussion with Peter Lee (Microsoft Research), Christopher J.L. Murray (IHME), Jay A. Shendure (University of Washington) and Robert H. Waterston (University of Washington).

Event Page | Video

2015 Symposium — Protecting Patients: Advances and Future Directions in Patient Safety

to errquality chasmThe 2015 Richard & Hinda Rosenthal Symposium observed the 15th anniversary of the Institute of Medicine’s 1999 report To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System and 2001 report Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century, and also highlighted the most recent IOM report in the Quality Chasm Series, Improving Diagnosis in Health Care. The symposium highlighted the impact of the reports through implementation of recommendations, addressed the shortcomings of and improvements to our current health care system with respect to patient safety and health care quality, and identified future priorities for reducing medical errors and improving quality and efficiency of the U.S. health care system.

ProgramVideo | Photographs | Event Page

2014 Symposium — Antimicrobial Resistance: A Problem Without Borders

“In a 1945 interview with the New York Times, penicillin’s discoverer Alexander Fleming anticipated the development of drug-resistant bacterial strains. Indeed, penicillin-resistant strains were first isolated from patients in significant numbers a year later, in 1946.” —IOM, 2010

The 2014 Richard & Hinda Rosenthal Symposium explored the current and future impact of antimicrobial resistance, implications for our nation’s health and that of the world, and obstacles and successes in the development of solutions and steps to mitigate this global public health challenge.

Program | Videos | Report

2013 Symposium — Back to The Future of Nursing: A Look Ahead Based on a Landmark IOM Report

The 2013 Richard & Hinda Rosenthal Symposium celebrated the three-year anniversary of the IOM’s The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health report, which was released on October 5, 2010. The event highlighted the impact of the report through implementation of recommendations at both the national and local level, discussed the continued work of the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, and charted future directions and priorities for the nursing profession.

Program | Video | Infographic | Photos

2012 Symposium — End-of-Life Matters: Cultural Representations through the Entertainment Arts

The 2012 Rosenthal Lecture focused on how the language of the entertainment arts informs our cultural understanding of end-of-life care. Through the screening of clips from the film Beginners and television medical dramas, and a live theatrical performance reading from Sophocles’ Philoctetes, the Rosenthal Lecture panelists  explored the various ways the entertainment arts can provide a platform for an engaging and compelling conversation about the end of life. The panel approached the conversation through the lens of the patient, the family, the provider, and the community.


2011 Symposium — New Frontiers in Patient Safety

More than 10 years ago, the IOM released its landmark report on patient safety, To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System. The 2011 Rosenthal Lecture featured the Honorable Kathleen G. Sebelius, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, who presented the new steps that HHS is taking to improve patient safety. A panel of leaders in patient safety followed to discuss patient safety progress and opportunities.

Report | Photos

2010 Symposium — Seeing Alzheimer’s Differently: Changing Images, Changing Visions, Changing Practices

The 2010 Rosenthal Lecture featured Dr. Cathy Greenblat, Social Documentary Photographer and Professor Emerita, Rutgers University. The lecture accompanied an exhibit sponsored by Cultural Programs of the National Academy of Sciences. In the exhibit, Love, Loss and Laughter: Seeing Alzheimer’s Differently, photographer and sociologist Cathy Greenblat challenges stereotypes of the aged, the infirm, and those in the last stages of life. She offers a new vision of Alzheimer’s care, documenting the person-centered approach in the United States, France, India, and Japan. Greenblat’s photographs are a unique, compassionate, and positive portrayal of those with Alzheimer’s disease, a condition that often evokes fear and despair. 

2009 Symposium — The Problem of Health Care Costs and the Future Financial Viability of the U.S.

The 2009 Rosenthal Lecture featured David M. Walker, President and CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. 

2008 Symposium — Prospects for Health Reform in 2009 and Beyond

The 2008 lecture featured Julie Rovner, Health Policy Expert and National Public Radio Correspondent.


2007 Symposium — Transforming Today’s Health Care Workforce to Meet Tomorrow’s Demands


2006 Symposium — The Food and Drug Administration — Facing the Regulatory Challenges of the 21st Century

2005 Symposium — Next Steps Toward Higher Quality Health Care


2004 Symposium — Perspectives on the Prevention of Childhood Obesity in Children and Youth


2003 Symposium — Keeping Patients Safe


2002 Symposium — Fostering Rapid Advances in Health Care

This lecture was held to discuss findings and recommendations from the IOM report Fostering Rapid Advances in Health Care: Learning from System Demonstrations.

Audio | Slides | Report

2001 Symposium — Crossing the Quality Chasm: Findings from a New IOM Report


2000 Symposium — Exploring Complementary and Alternative Medicine


1999 Symposium — Measuring Performance in Health Care: Future Challenges

1998 Symposium — The State-of-the-Art of Measuring Performance in Health Care: Perspective of Providers

1997 Symposium — The State-of-the-Art of Measuring Performance in Health Care: Perspective of Purchasers

1996 Symposium — The State-of-the-Art of Measuring Quality: Key Perspectives

For more information, contact Meg McCoy at

Join Our Community

Sign up for NAM email updates