President & CEO's Blog

By Gerald Glandon, PhD posted 01-16-2018 18:20


Spring is Coming 

I know that it is early but the days are getting longer. This gives me hope and joy because I, for one, no longer like cold weather and find that DC has a tolerable amount of cold for me. I do not hate the cold enough to avoid going to Chicago for the March 27th Graduate Program and Practitioner Workshop, however. Thanks to the great work of the Graduate Program Committee and its chair Dr. Cindy Watts, and a contact provided by Dr. Anthony Stanowski (President and CEO of CAHME), we have an outstanding program planned.

The theme this year, “Who is the “We” in We the People?” provided us with a very broad target to address. We started with three basic premises. First, improved health and healthcare services should be inclusive. We need to make sure barriers of culture, race, gender, and many other factors do not inhibit access to quality care. Second, health is determined by many factors beyond traditional medical care interventions. While vital, healthcare has a relatively small contribution to overall health. Providing basic public health interventions such as smoking cessation, wearing a seatbelt, and obesity control, among other factors, have greater impact. Social determinants such as nutrition, safe living environments, and reduction of economic stress contribute greatly to health as well. Finally, government and private payers are increasingly changing the financial incentives provider face from rewarding cures to rewarding health. The name for the change we are experiencing is population health, a term made a part of our dialogue at least since David Kindig popularized it in the American Journal of Public Health in 2003.

The question is, how does population health relate to the theme, we the people? It seems that an emphasis on population health, a financial responsibility to keep defined populations healthy, will induce our graduates to venture from the safe confines of their classrooms and their healthcare employment settings. They are going to have to address challenges and seize opportunities from greater diversity in their patients/customers and fellow employees. Sadly, we are seeing negative reactions, both aggressive and passive aggressive behaviors, to diversity efforts currently. Our future leaders must learn how to recognize those behaviors and develop strategies to deal with them. Their learning begins with us!

The program has two parts. First, I am glad that Dr. Benson mentioned population health in his blog. The vital role of population health will likely play in the future of healthcare cannot be overstated. We are fortunate to have Dr. David Nash, Dean of Jefferson College of Population Health, as the keynote speaker. He is well known in academic and practice circles and should attract many from Congress. He has extensive practice credentials and now leads formal degree and certificate programs. He has twenty years chairing Jefferson Hospital’s medication quality and safety committee and twenty-seven years serving on the hospital’s Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee. He writes extensively on healthcare quality and safety but realizes this is only one necessary part of population health. He even now has founded a Master of Science and Graduate Certificate in population health. The mission of his academic venture is “to prepare leaders to thrive in a future that values health over sickness.” Admirable and if widely followed should change the delivery landscape for our graduates as well. I am sure that many of you have a population health class or content already but he is a pioneer in taking the general concepts and implementing them in practice settings. His curriculum, you should notice, overlaps with much of health administration but with a clear population health application. US Healthcare Organization and Delivery; Health Economics, Risk and Finance; Introduction to Healthcare Quality and Safety; Health Policy: Analysis and Advocacy all sound familiar. The rest of his innovative curriculum includes Disease Prevention and Care Management; Population Health Management Applications; Essentials of Population Health. All appear to have great value added.

Second, after developing a careful understanding of population health, we will engage in a focused methods session. Listening to feedback from prior years, we have designed a set of highly interactive exercises that will give us tool to define, characterize, and implement the difficult conversations we all face. We have an experienced executive coach, Ann Rosser, to guide us. She will lead us in the presentation of tools for having difficult conversations. We will then review and role-play two select scenarios developed in advance. These will clearly demonstrate the importance of the intervention and enable participants to implement those tools. These scenarios will be formally debriefed for the benefit of all participants. Finally, in small groups, we will develop a response to a third scenario and develop effective response strategies. The small groups will engage in their own debrief and have the opportunity to report findings and challenges.

Hope to see everyone in Chicago on March 27th. It will be a low of 7 degrees tonight in Chicago but I am told it will be Springtime weather by the end of March.