Money-Driven Medicine: Characters

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Dr. Donald Berwick – Dr. Berwick is Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). He co-founded IHI and served as president for 20 years. Berwick  is a pediatrician and one of the world’s leading voices in the battle to improve the quality of healthcare and patient safety. He is an outspoken critic of a U.S. healthcare system that he believes is riddled with waste, self-interest and disrespect for patients. Berwick believes that healthcare reform in America, like the struggle for the environment and civil rights, is a major social movement waiting to happen.


Professor Larry Churchill – Professor Churchill is a bio-ethicist at Vanderbilt University, where he helps students to wrestle with the hardest moral questions regarding medicine. For Churchill, end of life care and stem cell research are not the only pressing ethical questions in healthcare today – he also struggles with the difficulties of promoting a healing relationship between a doctor and a patient in a profit-driven system.

Dr. Andrey Espinoza – Dr. Espinoza is an interventional cardiologist who values the enormous strides made by technology in medicine. But he worries that a reckless pursuit of technological cures risks leaving the most important part of a doctor’s work behind – building a healing relationship with the patient.


Professor Rashi Fein – Professor Fein has lived through five decades of attempts to reform healthcare and advised the administrations of Presidents Truman and JFK along the way. A professor of medical economics at Harvard, Fein firmly believes that medicine is about more than just money. To read a read about some of his views on health care reform, click here.

Dr. Keith Junior – Dr. Junior is a doctor of internal medicine at the United Neighborhood Health Services, working in a network of clinics treating underserved populations in Nashville. The most important thing in medicine, Dr. Junior believes, is not just access to care, but access to a doctor who cares about you.


Dr. Daniel Larson – Dr. Larson loves being a family doctor.  He works in a community health center run by the not-for-profit Hudson Headwaters Health Network, which allows him to spend most of his time talking to patients and teaching them how to manage their health problems. He works in a system quite unlike the rest of the American health care system that rewards doctors more highly for procedural work like plastic surgery than for cognitive medicine which involes working with his patients over time to help them control their diabetes. Dr. Larson works for a community based clinic that emphasizes primary care and a strong relationship between the provider team and the patient.”


Lisa Lindell – Lisa’s life was changed forever after her husband was severely burned in an accident and his hospitalization turned into a nightmare ordeal of medical errors and substandard care. Lisa’s odyssey has inspired her to expose the built-in flaws in the system and fight for patient safety for all.


Maggie Mahar – Maggie is a financial journalist who became fascinated by the world of medicine after learning that much of what we think we know about healthcare isn’t true and what is true is surprising. She wrote the book, Money-Driven Medicine: The Real Reason Health Care Costs So Much after interviewing dozens of doctors who pleaded with her to tell the story of declining quality of care in America.


Dr. Clifton Meador– Dr. Meador is an epidemiologist who has written a number of satirical works on excesses in the medical system, such as The Last Well Person and The Art and Science of Non-Disease. Living in Nashville, the headquarters for many healthcare corporations, Dr. Meador has watched the industry develop into one of the country’s biggest money-spinners, while, at the same time, health statistics in Tennessee have slid to the bottom of the national rankings.


Dr. Ursula Denise norfleet – Dr. Norfleet, MD, practices emergency medicine in Nashville, Tennessee with Metropolitan Hospital.   Dr. Norfleet received her medical degree from Meharry Medical College School Of Medicine, Nashville Tennessee.


Dr. James Weinstein – Dr. Weinstein is a spine surgeon and the director of the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. Weinstein worries that too often informed consent from a patient is really just informed persuasion. A harrowing illness in his own family has inspired him to a life-long campaign to ensure that patients are at the center of making decisions about their own care.