MiHIA hosted its 4th Annual Great Lakes Bay Region Symposium on October 9th at the CMU College of Medicine in Saginaw. Titled, “Focus on the Need for the Prioritization of Disease,” the symposium was led by nationally-recognized public health advocate and expert, John Auerbach, CEO of the Trust for America’s Health.

A well-attended and anticipated event, attendees participated in an interactive discussion about how to develop community-based approaches to disease prevention while simultaneously building a regional, state, and nationwide strategy involving all sectors of society. Mr. Auerbach brought his perspective from his 30-year career in public health at the national level (Centers for Disease Control), state (Massachusetts), and local level in discussions with the various medical, academic, and administrative professionals in attendance.

The wide topics at hand were organized in terms of the past, present status and current changes, payment reform, and what is needed in the future. We have less resources now than ever allocated to public health, the urgency to design health locally, fitting the needs of our community to services provided and delivered is key for improving outcomes. Newer paradigm shifts in public health were analyzed, for example, recognizing optimal health for all must focus on equity – and equality doesn’t mean equity. The end results needs to be the finish line with the understanding that the road to get there has to be mapped out differently than in the past – realizing that some populations may need more and different means of assistance/programs in order to get to the same end results.

Andrew Kruse, Director of Community Benefit from Ascension stated “Hospitals and physicians are beginning to understand that health is not solely determined through clinical interventions. The health of individuals is shaped by where people live, work and play. Improving the social determinants of health cannot be done by health care organizations alone. It requires public and private partnerships to engage at the clinical, organizational and community levels.“

To view Mr. Auerbach’s presentation, as well as past symposium presenters, visit here.