Susan Dentzer

Susan Dentzer

Senior Policy Advisor, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; Health Policy Analyst, PBS NewsHour and Former Editor-in-Chief, Health Affairs

Speaker Categories: Female Media | Healthcare Policy | Health, Wellness | Media | U.S. Correspondent

Travels From: VA, United States.

Speaker Fee Range: $10,001 to $20,000*

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Susan Dentzer Bio
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Senior Policy Advisor, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation;
Health Policy Analyst, PBS NewsHour and Former
Editor-in-Chief, Health Affairs

Susan Dentzer is Senior Policy Adviser to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation’s largest philanthropy focused solely on US health and health care, and is also one of the nation’s most respected health care journalists and thought leaders. 

Health Policy Expert

A compelling, thoughtful, and entertaining speaker widely recognized for her ability to communicate clearly with both expert audiences and the general public, she is an on-air analyst on health issues with the PBS NewsHour and a regular commentator on health policy for National Public Radio and other television and radio networks.   She speaks widely and also is known as a gifted interviewer and moderator, and is at home in a variety of settings, including corporate and academic audiences.

Reinventing American Healthcare

Dentzer wrote and hosted the 2015 PBS documentary, Reinventing American Healthcare, focusing on the innovations pioneered by the Geisinger Health System and spread to health systems across the nation.

Early Career

Dentzer served from 2008-2013 as the editor-in-chief of Health Affairs, the nation’s leading journal of health policy.   She also previously led the NewsHour’s health unit, reporting extensively on-air about health care reform debates from 1998 to 2008. Dentzer is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences (formerly the Institute of Medicine) and also serves on the academy’s Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice. She is also an elected member of the Council on Foreign Relations; a fellow of the National Academy of Social Insurance; and a fellow of the Hastings Center, a nonpartisan bioethics research institute.  She graduated from Dartmouth, is a trustee emerita of the college, and chaired the Dartmouth Board of Trustees from 2001 to 2004. She has served as a member of the Board of Overseers of Dartmouth Medical School for more than two decades.  


Dentzer is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Rescue Committee, a leading humanitarian organization.   She also serves on the board of directors of Research!America, an alliance working to make research to improve health a higher priority;  is a public member of the Board of Directors of the American Board of Medical Specialties, which assists 24 medical specialty boards in the ongoing evaluation and certification of physicians; and is a member of the board of directors of the Public Health Institute, the nonprofit organization addressing public health issues and solutions nationwide. She is a member of the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, the RAND Health Board of Advisors, and the March of Dimes national advisory board.

Dentzer holds an honorary master’s degree from Dartmouth and an honorary doctorate in human letters from Muskingum University.   She, her husband, and their three children live in the Washington, DC area.

Health Care

Dentzer speaks on a wide variety of topics in health care arena including the impact and future of the Affordable Care Act, rising health care costs; aging; breakthroughs in treatment and research; health insurance issues; health policy issues such as Medicare reform, the uninsured, and prescription drug coverage.

Social Security

Dentzer has followed closely the on-going debate over reforming Social Security over the years. She speaks knowledgeably on the economics and politics of Social Security, and places these in the broader context of the overall effects on the U.S. and the world of the rapid aging of the population.

The Federal Budget

Dentzer has followed federal fiscal policy for over two decades, from the era of federal budget deficits to surpluses and back again to the current budget deficits. She addresses the debate over restraining the growth of spending, cutting or raising taxes and balancing the nation’s commitments to health care, retirement and social programs.

The Federal Budget

From consumer spending to international trade to the performance of the financial markets, Dentzer takes a broad look at the economy’s performance and examines the underlying factors likely to shape the economy's perforrmance in future years. Dentzer specializes in making these presentations sophisticated and yet “user-friendly” and readily understandable for non-specialist audiences.

Higher Education

Dentzer is chair of the Dartmouth Board of Trustees and has a longstanding interest in higher education. She speaks on a range of topics in this field, including the importance of liberal arts education; the costs and value of higher education in general; critical issues in university and academic governance. She has also delivered several commencement addresses. Rather than giving off-the-shelf address, she tailors her speeches for each institution and to the graduating students, giving the occasion a personal touch.

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  • “Your insightful and thoughtful remarks and your candor responding to questions brought precisely the type of focus we hoped would transpire during the Conference morning session. The attendee evaluations of the Conference were uniform in their praise of your good work and that of fellow Panel members. Our constituents in the business community simply cannot ignore the imperative of health care reform communicated by your clear-headed thinking and the understated, yet forceful manner in which you chose to convey that message. You are a most gracious and kind person. I wish you best of luck going forward and I will keep Health Affairs on my short list of 'must read' policy journals."

    Kelley School of Business, Indiana University
  • "Susan was wonderful, and please convey our sincere appreciation to her. We have received very favorably comments on her session!"

    Federation of State Medical Boards
  • "Ms. Dentzer'sspeech went very fine and the audience was very positive. From the first feedback, everybody found the speech extremely interesting. Some people also asked us how to invite Ms. Dentzer for some of their own conference!"

    Quebec International
  • "Susan was terrific! Excellent presentation - it was obvious from the question and answer session that the audience was very engaged. She was also very gracious to stay and interact with participants at the reception that followed her presentation."

    University of Alabama-Birmingham
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