June 24, 2022

Focusing on Equity in Healthcare Delivery: 2022 Population Health Innovation Summit

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On June 9, 2022, the fifth iteration of the Population Health Innovation Summit (PHIS) returned as a hybrid event: on-site at the Capital Center in Albany with the option to attend virtually. This year’s summit focused on innovative programs and partnerships across New York State that are promoting equity in healthcare and equity in how it is being delivered.

The event featured discussion of current programs working to reduce disparities in healthcare and initiatives being planned to address emerging population health equity goals. It also described how organizations have fostered partnerships to improve the health and well-being in our communities to achieve equity across the healthcare landscape.

Launched in 2017, PHIS is supported by NYSTEC’s Population Health team. “We share the same vision for embracing creative solutions to improve health equity for all New Yorkers— and, while doing so, demonstrate a process that if we can do more in partnership, genuinely, with the communities that have been most affected, that’s how we begin to establish trustworthiness and then, perhaps, real change in health equity,” said NYSTEC President & CEO Kevin Owens.

Participants enjoyed a full day of presentations and discussions, facilitated by sports reporter and New England Sports Network host Chelsea Sherrod as master of ceremonies.

The event began with a keynote from Wilma Alvarado-Little, Associate Commissioner, New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) Director, Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities Prevention (OMH-HDP), on “Engaging Our Communities: Health Equity in New York State.” The presentation included the role of OMH-HDP, NYS’s legislative priorities, examples from the field, and strategies for promoting racial, ethnic, and health equity.

Following the keynote was a panel discussion on “The Role of Community-Clinical Partnerships in Reducing Disparities.” The panel introduced three programs that are strengthening the community-clinical relationship in their areas to target social determinants of health and reduce disparities in the regions they serve. The panel discussion was moderated by Capital Region Chamber’s Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Jason Benitez, and the three programs were:

  • Community Dental Health Coordinators, Bassett Healthcare Network, presented by Chief of Dental Services Leah Carpenter and Community Dental Health Coordinator Dawn Helstrom;
  • Rural Health Network, Ellenville Reginal Hospital, presented by President & CEO Steven Kelley and Population Health Program Coordinator Brandon Bogert; and
  • COVID-19 Vaxmobile, Mount Sinai South Nassau, presented by Vice President of Public Affairs, Development and Community Education Dana Sanneman.

After a short break, physician executive and serial entrepreneur Vic Bakhru provided insight on “Improving the Patient Experience Through Culturally Relevant Engagement,” speaking to the role of digital health in improving the patient experience and how advancements in technology offer an opportunity to address key health equity challenges, leading to better health outcomes.

The next panel discussion focused on “Advancing the Research: Initiatives Designed to Increase the Access, Availability, and Use of Health Equity Data.” Moderated by Keshana Owens-Cody, Health Research, Inc. (HRI) Director of Health Disparities Programs, the panel’s highlighted programs included:

  • Health Data for New York (HD4NYC)m presented by Michele Calvo, Program Officer, Center for Community Partnership & Policy Solutions, New York Academy of Medicine; and
  • The Central and Northeast Brooklyn Health Equity Index, presented by Tenya Blackwell, Director of Community Engagement and Research, Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health, and clinical assistant professor, SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University.


In the afternoon, speakers from NYSDOH and Cornell University presented on the “New York State Public Health Corps Fellowship Program: Responsive and Innovative Partnerships for Public Health Workforce Development Essential for Today.” Presenters included:

  • Laura Trolio, Director, New York State Public Health Corps Fellowship Program, NYSDOH; and
  • Gen Meredith, Professor of Practice, Department of Public and Ecosystem Health, and Associate Director, MPH Program, Cornell University.

The event’s last panel discussion focused on “What’s Next for Social Determinants of Health? Perspectives on How Innovation Will Inform Policy and Best Practices for Addressing SDoH.” Moderated by Wilma Alvarado-Little, panelists included returning speakers Keshana Owens-Cody and Steven Kelley, along with Courtney Burke, Chief Operating and Innovation Officer, Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS).

For more information about PHIS 2022 visit www.phis2022.com.



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