Foundation's Engagement Forum Attended by 140

A dynamic opening keynote address from John W. Bluford III set the tone for the Foundation for Healthy Communities' recent forum dedicated to "Improving Health Outcomes Through Effective Engagement of Individuals and Communities."

Bluford, who is president and CEO of Truman Medical Centers in Kansas City, outlined the extraordinary progress his institution has made by engaging its various constituencies, ranging from patients and staff to local businesses and the community at large.

Among the initiatives:
• Development of a 35,000-foot grocery store in a so-called 'urban food desert' to positively impact the incidences of diabetes, hypertension, congestive heart failure and obesity within its service community.
• Inclusion of a Walgreen's Pharmacy and U.S. Bank branch on the hospital proper for patient and employee convenience.
• Partnership with the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs on the annual 'Touchdown Family Fest' to promote healthier lifestyles.
• Arrangements with the nearby Sheraton Kansas City Hotel to house the TMC Center for Sleep Health Performance.

Bluford's philosophy – which he calls "thinking outside-of-the-bed" – set an energetic tone for the panelists who followed, as presenters shared engagement stories and strategies from communities throughout New Hampshire.

Facilitators Rudy Fedrizzi, MD and Margaret Franckhauser APRN, helped draw anecdotes from representatives of agencies affiliated with many of the Foundation's programs, including:
• Partnership for Patients – 'Care Transitions in Littleton,' with Dr. Clare Wilmont, Littleton Regional Healthcare and Debra Hall, North County Home Health & Hospice;
• Healthy Eating Active Living – 'Primary Prevention in Nashua,' with Michael LaChance from the YMCA of Greater Nashua and Beverly Doolan from Nashua Public Health and Community Services;
• NH Comprehensive Cancer Collaboration – 'Teens on Tanning,' with Tammy Levesque, Lakes Region Partnership for Public Health, and;
• Health & Equity Partnership – 'Healthy Families/Healthy Communities' with Dr. Trinidad Tellez, Office of Minority Health and Refugee Affairs.

One hundred and thirty-eight people attended the event, with participants hailing from hospitals, nursing homes, home healthcare agencies, social service groups and educational institutions.

"It is only through long-standing community partnerships," Bluford reminded the audience, "that we will work together to engage the most vulnerable populations of our communities and shape a health care delivery system that focuses on keeping high-risk patients out of the hospital, providing better care to those that need it while holding down healthcare cost."