Leadership Perspectives on Achieving a Person-First Health System: A Fireside Discussion with Secretary Alex M. Azar

September 13, 2023
2:15 pm-

3:00 pm

2:15 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. 

During this exclusive fireside discussion, the Honorable Alex M. Azar II, J.D., Former Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, reflected on his experience leading the Department of Health and Human Services and provide a future-focused perspective for person-first health system transformation.

Summit Details

This panel is part of a larger summit event.

September 13, 2023

As the health care system grapples with unprecedented challenges post-pandemic – from workforce to supply chain shortages, from technological advances to continued health inequities and affordability challenges – will the future of the health care system meet the needs of real people and communities? When “people” become “patients,” what happens?...


Sarah J. Dash, MPH

Advisor to the CEO
Sarah is the advisor to the chief executive officer at the Alliance for Health Policy. She drives the mission and vision of the Alliance, as well as advances and maintains the reputation of the organization as the leading nonpartisan resource for policymakers and health leaders in an evolving health policy environment. Sarah joined the Alliance in 2014 as the vice president for policy and became president and CEO in May 2017. Sarah has long been an influential force in shaping health policy, having served as a senior aide on Capitol Hill and as a member of the research faculty at the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms. Sarah holds a master’s degree in public health from the Yale School of Public Health and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and literature from MIT. Sarah also holds an executive certificate in nonprofit management from Georgetown University.

Honorable Alex Azar II, J.D.

Former Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Alex Azar has extensive healthcare experience in the senior-most levels of the U.S. government and the private sector that gives him a unique perspective and background. He has committed his professional career to protecting and enhancing the health of all Americans. Azar served as the 24th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2018-2021), leading over 85,000 employees with a budget of over $1.4 trillion, the largest budget of any cabinet department on Earth. He was the architect of Operation Warp Speed, delivering COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics in record time. He led the historic transformation of the healthcare system in the United States and HHS’s response to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. He drove U.S. Government efforts to tackle the opioid crisis, increase private insurance options, bring transparency of price and quality information to healthcare, expand telehealth, give patients ownership of their health records and make those records interoperable and transportable, enable healthcare provider collaborative care models, remove regulatory barriers to low-cost, high-quality care, transform payment systems to pay for health and outcomes rather than sickness and procedures, reduce drug prices, and transform kidney care for the first time in almost 50 years. Azar also led key public health initiatives such as banning flavored e-cigarettes and reducing youth tobacco use by nearly one-third in one year, creating and implementing the program to end the HIV epidemic in America in 10 years, preparing for and responding to public health threats, crafting the first rural health initiative to improve access and quality of care, and launching a program to reduce dramatically maternal mortality. Azar has played significant roles on the global health stage, leading many of the U.S.’s global health security efforts, representing the U.S. in the World Health Assembly, working with the WHO to end Ebola outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, chairing the most active G7 health ministerial in history in 2020, and convening and leading western hemisphere coordinated efforts to assist with the Venezuelan refugee crisis. Azar served for five years (2012-2017) as president of Lilly USA, LLC, the largest affiliate of global biopharmaceutical leader Eli Lilly and Company, producing over $10 billion in revenue (2016). Azar previously was vice president of Lilly’s U.S. Managed Healthcare Services and Puerto Rico from 2009-2011. He joined Lilly in 2007 as senior vice president of corporate affairs and communications. Before his tenure at Lilly, Azar was the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2005-2007), where he was the number two official and chief operating officer. From 2001-2005, he served HHS as General Counsel. Azar earned a bachelor’s degree summa cum laude in government and economics from Dartmouth College in 1988, and a law degree from Yale University in 1991. After law school, he clerked for Associate Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court of the United States. Secretary Azar is currently an advisor to Foresite Capital, sits on several corporate boards and advisory boards, is a part-time Adjunct Professor of Business and Senior Executive-in-Residence at the University of Miami Herbert Business School, is represented by the Washington Speakers Bureau, and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Aspen Institute, the Aspen Institute’s Health Strategy Group, the American Task Force On Lebanon’s Policy Advisory Board, the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Future of Health Care Advisory Group, the advisory board of the National Institute for Healthcare Management Foundation, and the Healthcare Leadership Council. Azar previously served on the boards of HMS Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ: HMSY), the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), the Healthcare Leadership Council, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Indianapolis Airport Authority, the American Council on Germany, and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.