Keynotes Highlight a Successful Summit—Stellar Duo Delivers Outstanding Talks

Conference Correspondent

This year’s keynote speakers were truly outstanding. Former Health and Human Services Advisor John O’Brien, PharmD, MPH, is a past high-level government insider and Lee Newcomer, MD, made his mark in the private healthcare business. Both brought their singular professional insights to bear, but also added a personal dimension to their presentations. Each spent several minutes fielding questions—including some challenging ones—from the audience following their prepared speeches. Whether one agreed with their viewpoints or not, the speakers are to be commended for their incisive, informed, and frank assessments of the state of healthcare today as much as for the riveting delivery of their talks.

On Thursday morning, Dr Newcomer delivered a keynote that was rather sobering yet hopeful as he confronted the current healthcare payment situation facing the country. His long experience as an innovator in the field has afforded him the perspective and imagination to look ahead. Indeed, it was, as promised, “An Insider to Outsider’s Look at the Future of Cancer Care Delivery,” with practical suggestions to stem the tide. During the Q&A, Dr Newcomer also shared some insights about the global healthcare situation that shed light on contemporary issues.

In his introductory remarks on Friday, AVBCC Co-Chair Jayson Slotnik, JD, MPH, Partner, Health Policy Strategies, said that although it is possible that attendees, “May not know what Dr John O’Brien looks like,” they “know his policies” due to the significant role he played, until his recent resignation, in the current administration. Dr O’Brien’s talk, “Projecting on the Look Ahead as Public Policy and Market Reality Converge,” covered the time he served as Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services, where he focused on drug pricing reform. Dr O’Brien described the unique aspect of the federal process where, as part of his job, he spent much time meeting with diverse stakeholders attempting to reconcile differences. He concluded his talk with a story of how cancer has touched his own life, causing him to reflect deeply on the way it is treated today. Finally, he enthusiastically invited Summit attendees to continue the conversation with him during the break to further discuss issues that came up during the lively Q&A.

Taken together or singly, these exceptional keynotes were well-crafted and informative and a not-to-be-missed highlight of the Summit.

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