Why Are Only 5% Of Doctors African American? Dr. Louis Sullivan Tells Us

Dr. Louis Sullivan’s leadership and advocacy for equity in the health professions have taken him from the classroom to the seats of power in Washington. He reflects on his own journey and the challenges that still exist in training people of color to become doctors and for other medical roles.

Dr. Sullivan believes, “It’s a combination of a lack of adequate preparation, lack of financial resources, and also a lack of role models.” He shares his inspiring story from the then-segregated South and the influences that helped him.

Dr. Sullivan served as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and is the co-author of the new book “We’ll Fight it Out Here: A History of the Ongoing Struggle for Health Equity.”

We’re honored to have him join hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter to discuss these topics, the gaps COVID has exposed, and the current political battles over equity.


Health Policy Moves in ’22 Set the Stage for New Year

The health care public policy debates that swirled in 2022 will continue to make news in 2023. These issues ranged from the Dobbs abortion decision to the outcome of the midterm elections.

Many of the nation’s leading experts joined “Conversations on Health Care” during the past 12 months to share their perspectives.

Join hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter as we look back at the year that was in health care policy.


Hear From a Progressive and Conservative - Can We Find Common Ground in Health Care?

Roughly 112 million Americans voted in the recent mid-term elections and the candidates and issues they voted on will have profound implications for health care policy in the states, at the national level and ultimately in all of our lives. We’re following up on our series called “Health Care on the Ballot” with this discussion focused on the results and what they mean.

Join hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter in conversation with Dr. Donald Berwick, former CMS Administrator in the Obama administration, and James Capretta, a former Bush administration budget official. Perhaps surprisingly, we found areas they agree on, including the value of telehealth.


Holidays & Mental Health: Interventions, Treatment & Equity

It’s a joyous time, as families begin to gather for Thanksgiving. But experts also say the holidays see a rise in mental health and addiction issues. This week we present an encore interview with Patrick Kennedy, a former member of Congress and a nationally acclaimed mental health and addiction advocate. He’s the founder of The Kennedy Forum, which seeks to revolutionize health care.

Kennedy discusses with hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter his insights about how families are key for interventions and the role policymakers can play in creating mental health parity.


Dr. Fauci Prepares for His Next Steps; Offers Leadership Lessons to Younger Generation

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical advisor to President Biden, tells “Conversations on Health Care” that he’s thinking about what occurs after he leaves his position at the end of the year.

Fauci says he’s strictly adhering to ethical rules and not negotiating for any position until after he leaves the government but he broadly wants to utilize his 54 years of experience at the National Institutes of Health for writing, lecturing and serving in an advisory capacity to inspire the younger generation to pursue their interests in medicine, science and public health.

Hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter note that this is Fauci’s fifth interview with them since the pandemic began and they again use the opportunity to ask him about the latest COVID details.


Your Vote & Health Care: Why It Matters

Early voting has already started in some parts of the United States as Americans make important decisions about who they want to represent them. The polls show that health-related issues are some of the most important ones to voters this year.

We discuss health care on the ballot with policy experts from two prominent Washington D.C. think tanks.

Joseph Antos, Ph.D., with the American Enterprise Institute and Emily Gee, Ph.D., with the Center for American Progress join hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter to discuss health care on the ballot.


Health Care on the Ballot: What’s at Stake Nov. 8?

In less than five weeks Americans should know the outcome of the midterm elections. Will overturning Roe v. Wade propel Democrats to surprise wins? Will Republicans seize the moment with their vision of how to fix health care? Sheryl Gay Stolberg with The New York Times and Victoria Knight with Axios examine how the November results will likely impact health care policy in the next two years and beyond. They’re guests this week on “Conversations on Health Care” with hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter.


White House Preview: How Can We Tackle Hunger, Nutrition, and Health?

Wednesday, Sept. 28, the Biden-Harris Administration will host the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, the first one in over 50 years. What will the experts and community leaders discuss? How will we reach the goal of ending U.S. hunger and reducing diet-related diseases in a majority of Americans by 2030?

“Conversations on Health Care” hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter get answers from Dan Glickman, the former Secretary of Agriculture, and Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, a renowned expert on food systems. They’re co-chairs of an independent effort to inform America’s leaders as the attendees prepare for this important day.


Who’s Community Health Centers’ Top Ally? Powerful House Leader Makes the Case

Majority Whip James Clyburn, the third-most powerful Democrat in the U.S. House, makes a passionate case for community health centers. His goal is to get a center within commuting distance of each American. “Every time legislation comes forward on health care I’m always trying to figure out how we can get community health centers to benefit from this legislation…not satisfied with where we are because we are not where we need to be yet,” he says.

Clyburn also confirms to hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter that President Biden’s cancer moonshot will have the “rocket fuel” it needs to succeed and he responds to critics of the Inflation Reduction Act. Join us as we kick off our 14th season with this important conversation.

THURSDAY, MAY 26, 2022

A Teacher From Parkland H.S. Reflects on the Uvalde & Buffalo Mass Shootings

Parkland, Florida, teacher Sarah Lerner shares her poignant thoughts as the nation reacts to the latest deadly school shooting. Lerner was teaching the day a former student killed 17 at her high school; she has gone on to help lead Teachers Unify to End Gun Violence.

Lerner discusses with hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter how public health must continue its focus on stopping gun violence and what lawmakers can do.


TV’s Jane Pauley’s Personal Story: Why Community Health Centers Matter to Her

Jane Pauley has been a familiar face on America’s TV screens since she started on NBC’s “Today” and continues as anchor of CBS “Sunday Morning.” Her interest in mental health has grown through the years as she faced her own challenges and as she became connected to behavioral health leaders in her home state of Indiana. Now her name graces the front doors of the Jane Pauley Community Health Center and she’s a powerful advocate for the services they, and all community health centers, provide.

Conversations on Health Care hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter talk exclusively to Jane about this work and with Marc Hackett, CEO of the Jane Pauley Community Health Center.


CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure Breaks Down President Biden’s Health Budget Goals

CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure discusses President Biden’s increased health budget proposal for the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which is focused on health equity, mental health parity, and nursing home safety as key goals in the coming year. 

The Administrator says more resources are being allocated to address the nation’s mental health crisis, especially for the nation’s children still being impacted by the pandemic. Administrator Brooks-LaSure, the first African American woman to hold that office, says nursing home vaccine requirements and safety regulations should continue to inform that health sector. She says that all US government health agencies have been tasked with making health equity the centerpiece of their policies and programs moving forward. She says supports for insurance subsidies provided by the American Rescue Plan is vital to maintaining health coverage for millions of vulnerable Americans. 


House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro: More Money for Hospitals, Vaccines Forthcoming?

This week hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, on her expectations for building consensus on revised Build Back Better legislation, as well as the possibility for more relief money for hospitals and other entities in the wake of the ongoing pandemic. She says the expanded Child Tax Credit has lifted millions of American children out of poverty, significantly easing economic pressures on working families, and that it should be restored. Representative DeLauro also discusses the President’s infrastructure law, which she says will have a dramatic impact on the nation’s aging transportation and clean water delivery systems, as well as create new jobs.


US Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on Politics, Pandemic Fatigue and Keeping Kids Safe in School

This week hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter welcome US Education Secretary Dr. Miguel Cardona, who discusses the Biden administration’s efforts to contain the pandemic’s impact while keeping students and teachers safe in school. He laments the influence of politics on the proven public health practices to prevent spread of the disease which includes mask wearing and widespread vaccinations. He says this pandemic has revealed the importance of providing medical and behavioral care in school-based health clinics. He also applauds First Lady Jill Biden’s thoughtful advice on education policy as a veteran of the education system.


CMS Administrator Seema Verma Talks Expansion of Telehealth, Development of COVID-19 Vaccine and Answers Recent Allegations

This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter welcome Seema Verma, Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under the Trump administration, a trillion dollar-a-year agency providing health coverage for 130 million vulnerable Americans on Medicaid and Seniors on Medicare. She discusses the agency’s dramatic transformation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including hundreds of waivers lifting restrictions for providers across the country, a swift expansion of telehealth adoption, and Operation Warp Speed’s quest to provide a safe and efficacious vaccine for widespread distribution, once it is approved. She also addresses recent allegations around agency spending questions.


Guns, America and the “Violence Inside Us”: US Senator Chris Murphy Explores Origins of the Nation’s Gun Culture and His Own Odyssey for Reform

This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with US Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, whose critically acclaimed new book examines America’s long, unique history of violence and its embedded gun culture. His book, “The Violence Inside Us: A Brief History of an Ongoing American Tragedy”, examines the birth and growth of America’s gun culture, the conditions that perpetuated it, and his quest to pass sane gun laws in response to the Sandy Hook School shooting.

MONDAY, JULY 13, 2020

COVID-19’s Deadly Grip: Former CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt on America’s Next Right Steps

This week hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Andy Slavitt, former Acting Administrator of CMS under President Obama. He is founder of United States of Care and Town Hall Ventures, two entities committed to advancing health coverage and health reform in the US through bipartisan coalitions. Mr. Slavitt analyzes the failed national response to COVID-19 here in the US, the need for a more unified and robust strategy to protect the public, and his recommendations for fixing America’s flawed health care system.

MONDAY, JULY 6, 2020

COVID-19 and American Indians: Dr. Donald Warne on the Devastating Toll of the Pandemic on Native American Populations

This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Dr. Donald Warne, Director of Indians Into Medicine (INMED) at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine. A renowned expert on American Indian health policies, Dr. Warne talks about the devastating toll COVID-19 is exacting on communities of color, particularly American Indians, who already suffer the effects of long term poverty, health disparities and Congress’ repeated failure to fully fund Indian Health Services which has led to a huge burden of chronic disease.

MONDAY, JUNE 22, 2020

Inflection Point: US House Majority Whip James Clyburn on Race, Police, and the Pandemic

This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with House Majority Whip, US Congressman James Clyburn who says we have reached an inflection point in American history in addressing the high cost to communities of color from health disparities, policing injustices and economic inequality. Congressman Clyburn examines important legislation aimed at stemming racially motivated police brutality, as well as improving health care access for vulnerable Americans through expansion of community health centers and telehealth.

MONDAY, JUNE 8, 2020

NAACP Health Director Dr. Marjorie Innocent Talks About Racism in America

This week, hosts Mark Masselli and Margaret Flinter speak with Dr. Marjorie Innocent, Senior Director of Health Programs at the NAACP. Dr. Innocent speaks on the current climate of protest against entrenched racism in America, the NAACP’s call to action to address police brutality, economic and health disparities, and the need to foster a culture of collaboration to address racism’s toll on people of color in this country.