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On Life and Meaning

Dec 19, 2018

Dan Murrey is an orthopedic spine surgeon. He leads the Specialty Practice Division of OptumCare, a division of United Health Group, a healthcare provider and coverage company. Dan was previously founder and CEO of OrthoCarolina, an orthopedic practice and physician group. He led efforts in quality improvement, data management, corporate compliance, and customer service delivery and contracting innovation. His honors and awards include the Care Ring Maribelle Connerat Award, the Charlotte Center City Partners Special Achievement Award, and the Presbyterian Orthopedic Hospital Physician of the Year award. He served as a Mecklenburg County Commissioner and led the host committee for the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Dan received a B.A. in Religion from Davidson College, a Masters degree in Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, and his M.D. from Harvard Medical School.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in heath care system reform, where God resides, confronting injustice and taking on difficult tasks.  


  • Dan explains his work leading the Specialty Practice Group at OptumCare.
  • He describes values-based care and distinguishes it from fee-for-service care.
  • He answers why it is in the best interest of health care systems to move away from fee for service.
  • He addresses whether the free market is a rational mechanism for health care delivery.
  • Dan discusses why there is resistance to change within the health care system and whether he is optimistic about the future of healthcare.
  • He talks about his home town of Pulaski, Tennessee and its notorious history that informed his childhood.
  • He reflects on the values he learned at home and the impression his father’s medical practice made upon him.
  • He shares why he studied religion at Davidson College and what remains top of mind.
  • Dan reveals where God resides for him.
  • He discusses using his privilege to call out injustice and the work of undermining unjust power structures.
  • He recalls his time at Harvard Medical School and the Kennedy School of Government.
  • He answers what drew him to spine surgery and the surgeries he remembers.
  • Dan shares what he set out to do as CEO of OrthoCarolina.
  • He reveals what he was thinking when he entered politics and what he learned.
  • He recalls how he managed his days as a surgeon, CEO and a county commissioner.
  • He discusses chairing the host committee for the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
  • He shares his passions for cooking, collecting pottery and civic debate.
  • Dan answers what is most important to him and how he wants to be remembered.

plus Mark's Personal Word Essay: Will and Grace

To learn more, visit On Life and Meaning