The 17th Annual James E. & Bonnie L. Eckenhoff Lecture and John & Gwen Smart Symposium

Dr. LundbergThe Eckenhoff Lecture series was established in 1994 in honor of Dr. James E. and Bonnie L. Eckenhoff, who together devoted their careers to serving the unique needs of older adults. Their lasting contributions to patient care provide an enduring example of how to best serve society .

On October 16th 2012 the Buehler Center on Aging, Health & Society held its 17th annual James E. and Bonnie L. Eckenhoff Lecture, with the John & Gwen Smart Symposium following. The 2012 lecture was held in the Canning Auditorium at Prentice Women’s Hospital and was host to an audience of over 100 faculty, clinicians, staff, students, and members of the public. The Center was pleased to have George L. Lundberg, MD, Editor-In-Chief and Chair of the Editorial Advisory Board of CollabRx, as keynote speaker for this event. Dr. Lundberg is President and Chair of the Board of Directors of The Lundberg Institute, Consulting Professor at Stanford University, and Editor at Large for MedPage Today from Everyday Health. Dr. Lundberg has 30 years of editorial experience for major peer-reviewed medical journals. He has served as Editor-in-Chief of JAMA, 10 AMA specialty journals, AMA News, Medscape, the Medscape Journal and e-Medicine from Web MD. A 1995 "pioneer" of the medical internet, Dr. Lundberg holds earned and honorary degrees from North Park College, Baylor University, the University of Alabama (Birmingham and Tuscaloosa), the State University of New York, Syracuse, Thomas Jefferson University and the Medical College of Ohio.

Dr. Lundberg’s lecture, “Rising Healthcare Costs: How to Bend the Cost Curve Downwards, Right Now,” was presented by the distinguished speaker in an engaged, conversational style that was well-suited to the timely subject matter of his talk, which outlined the multiple challenges facing our nation’s highly complex healthcare system. He appealed to his audience members as healthcare clinicians, researchers, and workers but also as life-long learners and patients, to question the healthcare practices and policies that have contributed to rapidly rising costs and left our nation’s total healthcare spending in 2011 at 2.7 trillion dollars. He was frank in his critique of the shortcomings in quality, patient safety, and insurance coverage of our system despite this overwhelming expenditure. He also offered pointed commentary about the experience of privilege that some in our society experience as healthcare consumers, often at the expense of others. Dr. Lundberg’s recommendations to reduce costs and spending included making changes to clinical practice for interventions, laboratory tests and the use of technology, questioning the use of drug patents in our market, and placing an emphasis on primary care and preventative medicine. He also advocated for vastly increased transparency in healthcare costs for both consumers and providers. Dr. Lundberg’s lecture was a spirited appeal to all members of the audience to take increased responsibility in decision-making as active members of the healthcare community.

The John & Gwen Smart Symposium

The John & Gwen Smart Symposium showcases research and educational activities relevant to aging, patient safety, the terminally ill, and other vulnerable populations and explores ways to improve quality of life and provide safe care for all populations. This event draws researchers from Northwestern and surrounding academic communities. 

The Eckenhoff Lecture was established in 1994 by the Eckenhoff family in commemoration of their father, the late James E. Eckenhoff, MD who was dean of Northwestern University’s School of Medicine from 1970-1983. Each year the lecture features a prominent guest speaker who is at the forefront of research on aging. The John & Gwen Smart Symposium is named in honor of this philanthropic couple.