Salem Academy and College Inaugural Health Leadership Forum to Feature Mayo Clinic Health System President Prathibha Varkey MBBS, MPH, MBA, MHPEd

Salem Academy and College Inaugural Health Leadership Forum to Feature Mayo Clinic Health System President Prathibha Varkey MBBS, MPH, MBA, MHPEd

Press Release For Immediate Release
March 24, 2022

Three Panels to Highlight the Work of Women Health Leaders
Who Are Widely Recognized Experts and Innovators

WINSTON-SALEM, NC (March 24, 2022)—Salem Academy and College will hold its inaugural Health Leadership Forum on Thursday, April 21, 2022. Salem College is the nation’s only liberal arts college exclusively dedicated to developing the next generation of women leaders in health. The Health Leadership Forum will feature a selection of women in health leadership roles who are widely recognized as experts and innovators in their fields.

The Keynote Speaker for the Health Leadership Forum is Prathibha Varkey, MBBS, MPH, MBA, MHPEd, President of Mayo Clinic Health System. Panels will include leadership from Doctors Without Borders, the Emory University School of Medicine, the Gillings School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust.

Panel discussions will focus on diverse career options, emerging issues in health leadership, and collaboration across disciplines will offer students, educators, and community members an opportunity to consider holistic solutions to local and global health challenges. The Forum is free and open to the public and will be held in the Elberson Fine Arts Center on the campus of Salem College. For additional information and to register for the Health Leadership Forum, please visit

“Salem College is honored to host regional, national, and global health leaders, many of whom are graduates of our college, at the inaugural Health Leadership Forum,” Salem Academy and College President Summer McGee, PhD, CPH said. “During the Forum, we will discuss emerging local and global health issues as well as leadership lessons and challenges among top women leaders in the health industry.”

“One of the many highlights of the day will be the keynote address by Dr. Prathibha Varkey,” McGee said. “Dr. Varkey will share her leadership and career journey, as well as her perspectives on how women health leaders can prepare for lifelong success and opportunity.”

At the Mayo Clinic Health System, Varkey, leads 15,000 employees serving 16 community hospitals and 46 multispecialty clinics across 44 sites in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa. She also serves as professor of medicine and preventive medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science.

Named as the Mayo Clinic Health System’s President in 2021, Dr. Varkey previously practiced medicine and served in several leadership roles at the Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic for more than a decade before leaving in 2013 to pursue CEO roles at Seton Clinical Enterprise in Austin, Texas, and Northeast Medical Group within Yale New Haven (Conn.) Health.

Dr. Varkey has a Master of Public Health from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, a Master of Health Professions Education from University of Illinois Medical Center, an MBA from the University of Minnesota, and an honorary Master of Arts from Yale University.

The Health Leadership Forum will begin at 10 a.m. with an introductory conversation about the importance of increasing opportunities for women in Health Leadership. The discussion will include Salem Academy and College President Summer McGee and local health leaders.

Following the introductory discussion, the Forum’s morning panel “The Persistent Pursuit of Excellence: Entrepreneurship and Research” begins at 10:30. The panel will examine persistence, possibility, and entrepreneurship in Health Leadership, including how gender or sex impacted the careers of panelists. Moderated by Jennie McLaurin, MD, MPH, the panel will feature NellOne co-founder and Chief Science Officer of Therapeutics Cymbeline Culiat, PhD and ORS Impact Health Program Evaluator and Director of Culture and Organizational Learning Paula Rowland, MPH, PhD.

After the conclusion of the morning panel, the Forum will host a luncheon of community leaders in health education along with Salem staff and faculty. The featured speaker at the luncheon will be Dean of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health Barbara Rimer, DrPH, MPH, who will examine what Health Leadership is and how it is taught. Following the luncheon, Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust President Laura Gerald, MD, MPH will share insights on the role of philanthropy in leading to more equitable health outcomes here and abroad and how foundations can help health care systems reduce disparities.

Salem’s Health Leadership Forum will begin the first afternoon panel at 1:30. The panel is titled “Focus on the Future: Child Health” and will be moderated by Ann Wilson Cramer, a senior consultant with Coxe Curry & Associates. The panel will include Terri McFadden, MD, Partners for Equity in Child and Adolescent Health and Medical Director of Reach Out and Read, Georgia, and Children’s National Hospital Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer Linda Brooks Talley, MS, RN. The panel will examine how children fit into the health system, including the biggest threat to children and the link between the health of women and that of children.

The second afternoon panel, titled “Where in the World: Global Health,” begins at 2:30 and will be moderated by Sallie Craig Huber, MSPH. The panel will feature a discussion between Doctors Without Borders President Africa Stewart, MD, MBA, and Qatar University Dean of the College of Health Sciences Hanan Abdul Rahim, MSc, PhD. The panel will examine how women health leaders become involved in global health, both during their education and following graduation, and career paths that lead to engagement in global health.

Following the afternoon panels, there will be a discussion beginning at 3:45 that includes all six panelists moderated by Former FDA Executive, Global Healthcare Consultant, and Salem Academy and College Vice-Chair Board of Trustees Lucy Rose. The conversation will include insight for college students who are interested in Health Leadership careers, advice for addressing the current public image of “exhausted health care workers,” and how to inspire the next generation of health leaders.

Salem College’s Health Leadership Forum will conclude with the keynote address by Dr. Varkey at 5 p.m.

About Salem Academy and College

Salem Academy and College, celebrating 250 years and built upon a foundation of empowering and preparing girls and women from all around the world to affect change, shatter expectations, and lead.  Exclusively focused on developing tomorrow’s health leaders and change agents in STEAM fields and beyond.

Salem Academy and College is located in Winston Salem, North Carolina, a vibrant college town known for arts and innovation. For more information about Salem Academy, please visit For more information about Salem College, please visit