Highlights from Re-Imagining Healthcare: A Life-Course Approach to Community Based Care
It is always magical when a conference exceeds expectations. That is exactly what happened during the Re-Imagining Healthcare conference last week. As we shared in an earlier blog, the UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing embarked on a journey to re-imagine healthcare, which was, quite frankly, a little scary. How do you market a conference around concepts like the life-course framework that is unfamiliar to a large part of the healthcare community? How do you incorporate meaningful community participation? And, how do you even begin to move the healthcare practice pendulum from an acute care model to a community-engaged model? You take a deep breath and dive in!
Re-Imagining Healthcare began as an idea. Dr. Cindy Sickora believes deeply that the community must be front and center in determining their needs. That is why the first step in the journey was involving the community in determining the topics and the format of the conference. The second step was reaching out to find other champions of community-engaged care. The third step was to listen. Here are some highlights of this journey to re-imaging healthcare.
Dr. Cindy Sickora, Dr. Diana Mason, and Dr. C. Daniel Mullins provided a framework for re-imagining healthcare through a life-course approach, building a culture of health, and transforming learning healthcare systems into learning healthcare communities. All three speakers highlighted that health and healthcare are not the same noting that your zip code has more impact on health than genetics. They challenged us to move from health equality to health equity and ultimately to justice. This transformation begins by meeting individuals, families and communities where they are at, consistently showing up, and listening deeply.
Through panels, working groups and a Knowledge Market, the conference facilitated listening deeply to the stories of local teens impacted by violence, death, abuse, and drugs; of grandmothers raising their grandchildren; and of mothers impacted by opioid use disorder. These community members talked about why they were willing to share their personal stories as well as good and bad experiences with healthcare. The first day of the conference was dedicated to demonstrating how to build trust through the meaningful exchange of experiences, concerns and knowledge.
Registered nurses, healthcare researchers, and community partners presented strategies for improving and building community-directed healthcare in Texas and around the country. Eric Cooper, President and CEO of the San Antonio Food Bank shared that food insecurity is directly linked to diabetes prevalence. Dr. Colleen Bridger, Director, San Antonio Metropolitan Health District illustrated the impact of adverse childhood experiences (trauma, abuse, neglect) on health…dramatic increases in the risks for heart disease, cancer, chronic lung diseases, stroke, Alzheimer’s diabetes, and suicide.
Dr. Mullins and Mr. Patterson articulated the value of community engagement in healthcare research and provided strategies for increasing the community voice in research proposal development. During the Research Proposal Workshop, conference attendees applied these strategies by developing research questions using the PICOT format (population, intervention, comparison, outcomes, and timeframe) and then restating the question using the community’s words. The workshop empowered attendees to develop community-engaged research designed to improve health outcomes relevant in their own communities.
UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing took a deep breath and dove into re-imagining healthcare. The outcome: an exciting conference that meaningfully engaged the community and opened the door to a new way of looking at and thinking about health using a life-course approach. The journey continues. Please share your experiences at the Re-Imagining Healthcare conference!
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