11th Annual Conference Held at SVSU: Thank You to all who attended and helped make this another successful regional educational event!

On January 24, 2020, the Hospital Council of East Central Michigan (HCECM), in conjunction with committee partners & sponsors: Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU), Michigan Health Improvement Alliance (MiHIA), Dow, and Michigan Area Health Education Center (AHEC), hosted their 11th Annual Conference “The Region’s Health and Health Care Systems Communities Achieving Excellence and Moving Upstream” event. It was a record year for attendees, consisting of healthcare leaders, physicians, advance practice professionals, many other health professionals, community leaders, community organizations from across the region, students from universities and colleges in our region and even a few international attendees from Canada. The purpose of this annual program remains focused on sharing best practices and encouraging dialogue related to health and health care in the region. There is emphasis on enhancing the quality, effectiveness, and accountability of care across the continuum of care, to improve the health of the population across our region.

The keynote speakers for this year’s conference were the President/CEO of HealthBegins, Rishi Manchanda, M.D., MPH, and the President/CEO of the deBeaumont Foundation, Brian Castrucci, MA, DrPH. Their presentations were outstanding and provided a tremendous amount of new information related to the social determinants of health and their impact on the health of the population.

Dr. Rishi Manchanda’s career is marked by a commitment to improving care and social determinants of health for vulnerable populations. His company, “HealthBegins,” is a mission-driven consulting and technology firm that helps healthcare and community partners improve care and the social factors that make people sick in the first place. Dr. Manchanda’s presentation explained that the early work of upstream thought leaders in health care focused on improving the transactional dimensions of care, and the more recent focus now strives to transform both the relationships and the social structures that influence health, and not simply the transactions of care. As this movement matures, institutions, multi-sector collaboratives and entire communities face similar challenges. He reviewed his thoughts of how we take a bundle of interventions purporting to address a variety of social needs and shaping them into a cohesive investment strategy that will have long-term health, social and financial impact. He described a plan that first, requires an investment mindset and second, tackles structural determinants, and not simply the social needs.

The second speaker, Dr. Brian Castrucci, an award-winning epidemiologist with 10 years of experience working in state and local health departments, brought a unique perspective that allows him to shape and implement visionary and practical initiatives and partnerships and bring together research and practice to improve public health. Under his leadership, the de Beaumont Foundation is advancing policy, building partnerships, and strengthening the public health system to create communities where people can achieve their best possible health. In his presentation, Dr. Castrucci expressed that traditionally “Public Health” has operated in a silo, but stressed that achieving long term wellbeing for our communities requires cross-sector collaboration. He provided multiple examples of policy changes, such as “Tobacco 21” and “safe rental housing regulations,” which have passed with business buy-in, and are now empowering Americans to live healthier lives. He discussed that even though there are challenges with cross-sector partnerships, it is worth the effort because effective collaboration allows communities to go beyond focusing solely on individual social needs and allows them to tackle the social determinants of health, together.

We are proud of the opportunity to work together with our committee partners to bring such dynamic and invigorating national speakers to our region. Year after year this conference results in innovative ideas being presented and local participants taking the concepts they learn, back to their communities and/or organizations and implementing changes that positively impact the health and wellbeing of residents in our region.

A special thank you to those organizations that helped sponsor this event and to all of those who attended the conference. Our regional committee could not do this annual conference without the support of the each of you.