David A. Rothenberger Lecture Series

5:00 p.m. | Thursday, September 23, 2021

Virtual via Webinar 

About the talk:

Coronavirus disease 2019 has come to dominate global health and our personal lives in a way none of us anticipated in January 2020 when Dr. Carolyn M. Clancy first accepted our invitation to deliver the David A. Rothenberger Lecture in the fall of 2020.  We were excited that she agreed to share some of her leadership experiences and lessons learned over the course of her outstanding career, including serving as the Deputy Under Secretary for Health, Discovery, Education and Affiliate Networks and the Executive in Charge of the Veterans Health Administration, the largest integrated health care system in the United States. (see About Dr. Carolyn Clancy below)

Contemporaneously, on January 9, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that 59 cases of a mysterious coronavirus-related pneumonia-like disease had occurred in Wuhan, China.  On January 21, 2020, the CDC confirmed the first case in the United States and on January 31, WHO issued a Global Health Emergency. Dr. Clancy suddenly faced the daunting challenge of managing the COVID-19 pandemic within a complex system. Her team had to ensure access to quality patient care to more than 9 million enrolled Veterans across more than 1,250 health facilities during what became a global pandemic. Her 2020 lecture was delayed to the fall of 2021 with the assumption an in-person talk to a live audience in a packed hall would be feasible and safe. Because of the recent, rapid spread of the delta variant, the lecture will be a virtual event.

Dr. Clancy will describe how her team pivoted from crisis management in the early days of the pandemic to implementing a multi-faceted plan across the nation’s largest healthcare system.  The plan is focused on preventing and better managing the Covid-19 pandemic; improving access to high-quality health care; and continuing to advance medical research and offer training to more than a third of U.S. medical students, residents and fellows. 

Join us to hear about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the nation's largest healthcare system and lessons learned from Dr. Clancy’s unique vantage point.

About Dr. Carolyn Clancy:


Carolyn Clancy, MD
Assistant Under Secretary for Health for Discovery, Education and Affiliate Networks (14), Veterans Health Administration

Improving the quality, safety and value of programs within the Department of Veterans Affairs is at the core of Dr. Clancy's career-long mission.

Dr. Clancy serves as the Assistant Under Secretary for Health for Discovery, Education and Affiliate Networks (DEAN). The Office of the DEAN fosters collaboration and knowledge transfer with facility-based educators, researchers and clinicians within VA and between VA and its affiliates.

Prior to her current position, she served as the Executive in Charge, Veterans Health Administration, with authority to perform the functions and duties of the Under Secretary for Health. As the Executive in Charge, Dr. Clancy directed a health care system with an annual budget of approximately $68 billion, overseeing the delivery of care to more than 9 million enrolled Veterans. Previously, she served as the Interim Under Secretary for Health from 2014-2015. Dr. Clancy also served as the VHA Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Organizational Excellence, overseeing VHA’s performance, quality, safety, risk management, systems engineering, auditing, oversight, ethics and accreditation programs, as well as ten years as the Director, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Carolyn Clancy, MD

About the lecture series:

Since its inauguration, this lecture series has served as a catalyst to stimulate dialog about complex and/or controversial issues in health care. It has inspired emerging physician leaders to dare to lead transformative change

Prior Rothenberger Lecturers: 

  • 2008 - Former U.S. Vice President Walter F. Mondale, “Complexity and Meaning in Politics and Health Care”
  • 2009 - U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, “Health Care Priorities and Current Reform Efforts”
  • 2010 - Thomas Goetz, MPH, executive editor of Wired magazine, “The Patient as Decision Maker: Implications for an Academic Medical Center”
  • 2011 - William Brody, MD, PhD, president of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and former president of Johns Hopkins University, “Academic Health Centers: A Survival Manual”
  • 2012 - Diana Chapman Walsh, PhD, chair of the inaugural board of directors, Broad Institute of Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and former president of Wellesley College, “Morality without Apology: Reclaiming Humphrey’s America”
  • 2013 - Bill George, professor of management practice, Harvard Business School, and former chair and CEO of Medtronic, “Will Physicians Lead Us through Health Care Challenges?”
  • 2014 - Marilyn Carlson Nelson, former chair and CEO of Carlson (the global travel and hospitality company headquartered in Minneapolis), “Have We Done Enough?”
  • 2015 - David D. Murphy, interim CEO of Fairview Health Services, and president and CEO of Red Wing Shoe Company, “Healthcare Leadership…Advice I Learned from a Cow”
  • 2016 -  Pamela Melroy, astronaut and retired colonel of the U.S. Air Force, “Leadership in Life-Critical Situations: Lessons from the Space Shuttle”
  • 2017 - Caprice Christian Greenberg, MD, MPH, surgeon, University of Wisconsin, Madison, “Sticky Floors and Glass Ceilings”
  • 2018 - Dan BuettnerNational Geographic fellow and bestselling author, “Blue Zones”
  • 2019 – Laura Bloomberg, PhD, Dean of Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota, “We, the People:  Reclaiming the Public Square” 

rothenbergerThis lecture series honors the work of Dr. David A. Rothenberger, a physician leader, surgeon, mentor, and researcher. Dr. Rothenberger is the former Jay Phillips professor and chairman of the Department of Surgery at the University of Minnesota.

He is indebted to his Department of Surgery colleagues who initiated the effort to establish this lectureship; to Kathy and Mike Dougherty; to close friends, family members, and other medical colleagues who have generously supported the lectureship; and to his wife, Kathy, his invaluable advisor and best friend. He also wishes to acknowledge the wise counsel of the lectureship advisory committee comprised of Luella Goldberg, Thomas Gilliam, the late Walter F. Mondale and the late Carl N. Platou.

The Rothenberger lecture is integrated with curriculum from the Emerging Physician Leaders Program (EPLP), a three-year course designed to develop a community of physician leaders who are the future of the Medical School. Together, both programs build on the school’s traditions of health care, leadership, and innovation.

Contact for special requests or accommodations

Kelli Tourand 
toura018@umn.edu | 612-624-4581