MSM's "Danforth Dialogues" Podcast Focuses on Improving Health Care

MSM President and CEO Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice speaks with UnitedHealth Group CEO
Andrew Witty about shared commitment to health equity.

Danforth DialoguesDr. Valerie Montgomery Rice, President & CEO, Morehouse School of Medicine and Andrew Witty, CEO of UnitedHealth Group

ATLANTA – NOVEMBER 21, 2022 – Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) today published the latest edition of its "Danforth Dialogues" podcast, featuring a conversation between MSM’s President and CEO Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice and Andrew Witty, CEO of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), in which the two leaders discussed a shared commitment to improving health care.

Dr. Montgomery Rice, who is also a member of the UnitedHealth Group board of directors, and Witty, who has been CEO of UnitedHealth Group since February 2021, discussed his unique career in both corporations and academia as well as in helping the World Health Organization (WHO) distribute COVID-19 vaccines, particularly in developing countries and lessons learned from the pandemic.

“With his background in business, academia and the public sector, Andrew brings incredible leadership insights that we can all learn from and utilize no matter what stage we are in our careers, whether we are just starting out or well along in our professions,” said Dr. Montgomery Rice.

Prior to joining UnitedHealth Group, Witty served as CEO of GlaxoSmithKline plc from 2008 to 2017, is former chancellor of the University of Nottingham, a British public research university, and was knighted in 2012 for services to the UK economy. Talking about his effort to help the WHO in distributing COVID-19 vaccines, Witty told Dr. Montgomery Rice he took the role because he believed his broad background “could help bring people together” in time of crisis.

“This was a remarkable effort to make sure vaccines were acquired by developing countries,” Witty said. “Within 60 to 90 days of availability, vaccines were being distributed in poorer countries, which was unprecedented.”

Witty and Dr. Montgomery Rice also discussed their shared commitment to improving health equity, particularly in underserved communities. Witty noted that early in his career, he took over an operation in South Africa, shortly before Nelson Mandela became head of the country. “That really changed my views on diversity, how to create a level playing field and trying to understand why people keep talking past each other,” he said.

Dr. Montgomery Rice noted Witty is a great example of leaders who step up in a crisis, stating, “When COVID-19 hit, Andrew did not hesitate. He stepped up. It wasn’t like he didn’t have a lot on his plate. He could have said he was too busy to get that involved. But great leaders are never too busy to get involved when it is all on the line.”

Launched earlier this year, Danforth Dialogues focuses on the leadership lessons from the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic and their broader implication for society. Named after the

historic Danforth Chapel on the Morehouse College campus, the podcast series features a cross-section of guests and topics.

To hear this edition of the podcast, click here. For more information about the Danforth Dialogues leadership series, click here.

To listen and subscribe to the Danforth Dialogues podcast, click here.

For more information about Morehouse School of Medicine, please visit

About Morehouse School of Medicine

Founded in 1975, Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) is among the nation's leading educators of primary care physicians, biomedical scientists, and public health professionals. An independent and private historically-Black medical school, MSM was recognized by the Annals of Internal Medicine as the nation's number one medical school in fulfilling a social mission—the creation and advancement of health equity. Morehouse School of Medicine's faculty and alumni are noted for excellence in teaching, research, and public policy, as well as exceptional patient care. MSM is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award doctoral and master's degrees. To learn more about programs and donate today, please visit or call 404-752-1500.


Jamille Bradfield
Morehouse School of Medicine