Outspoken Health Care Reformer, Obama Advisor, Visits URMC

March 11, 2009

THIS LECTURE WAS CANCELLED DUE TO DAVID BLUMENTHAL'S RECENT APPOINTMENT TO THE POSITION OF NATIONAL COORDINATOR FOR HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY IN THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION.

David Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.P., a key health care advisor to President Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign, will speak at the University of Rochester Medical Center on Friday, April 3, for the 10th annual Saward-Berg lecture.

His topic will be “Health Care and the American Presidency,” delivered from noon to 1:15 p.m. in the Class of ’62 Auditorium. Doctoral and post-graduate students in the URMC Department of Community and Preventive Medicine selected this year’s Saward-Berg lecturer.

The lecture is a free event with no advance registration required. ASL interpreters or other accommodations are available upon request by contacting Adam Simning at adam_simning@urmc.rochester.edu

Blumenthal is the Samuel O. Thier Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and founding director of the Institute for Health Policy (IHP) at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Blumenthal is also a practicing physician at Mass General.

An early Obama supporter, Blumenthal joined others to publicly release a memo in May 2007 on the merits of Obama’s proposed health plan. He has been cited by the media as an expert on universal health care, physician conflicts of interest, electronic medical records and other reform measures.

Blumenthal has held several posts in government and medicine. He was senior vice president at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital (1987-2000) and executive director of the Center for Health Policy and Management at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government (1981-1987). Blumenthal is also the founding chairman (since 2000) of AcademyHealth, the national organization of health services researchers. In the 1970s after completing his medical residency, he worked on Capitol Hill as a staffer for the Subcommittee on Health and Scientific Research under Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.

He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, has written numerous articles on health affairs, and serves as a national correspondent for New England Journal of Medicine.

The Saward-Berg lecture is named for Ernest Saward, M.D., and Robert L. Berg, M.D. A 1939 graduate of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Saward was medical director of the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program from 1945 to 1970, and a former faculty member. Berg was the founding chair of the Department of Community and Preventive Medicine who taught and mentored medical students for almost 50 years.

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