Bob Mook, editorial manager of the Colorado Health Foundation, has attended five Colorado Health Symposiums. He is the author of a new report, "Insights: 2011 Colorado Health Symposium," summarizing highlights from the event.
As a one-time health care journalist and as a current member of the Colorado Health Foundation's communications team, I've long considered the Colorado Health Symposium the highlight of my professional year – the work-related equivalent of the holiday season. One of my colleagues even likened the three-day event to the health policy wonk's Woodstock – the historic 1960s music festival – only with no mud and a better venue.
At the Symposium, my peers and I can leave behind any pretense of managing a "work-life balance" and immerse ourselves fully in discussions about health care reform and how public infrastructure impacts health in low-income communities. When the planned activities run out early in the evening, I head over to the Keystone Lodge to talk health policy with other Symposium participants. I do this because I genuinely enjoy talking about health policy and because the issues discussed at the Symposium are critically important – not just for health policy wonks, but for everybody.
That's why I hope the recently published "Insights: 2011 Colorado Health Symposium" will appeal to many Coloradans who weren't at this year's event. In writing the 24-page summary, I favored "plain English" that speaks to those both inside and outside the industry over the wonkish language that sometimes characterizes these kinds of reports.
Whether you're an expert in health policy or someone who simply cares about health, the report provides some interesting answers to the most provocative questions in health care today, including: Should the Affordable Care Act be saved? How do we build healthier communities? What can businesses do to improve health for their employees? Those answering the questions include:
Kavita Patel, MD, a fellow and managing director of the Brookings Institution, who served in the Obama Administration as director of policy for the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement
Grace-Marie Turner, founder, president and trustee of the Galen Institute, a public policy research organization based in Washington, D.C.
Kelly Brownell, co-founder and director of the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity
Will Allen, founder and CEO of Growing Power, a farm and community food center in Milwaukee
Pedro Jose Greer, Jr., MD, a physician who founded several free clinics for the homeless, undocumented and migrant poor of Miami
Larry Cohen, founder and executive director of the Prevention Institute, an Oakland, Calif.-based organization which advocates prevention to improve health and reduce costs
Read the report to see why I'm already looking past the holiday season and counting down the weeks to the next Symposium, scheduled July 25-27 at Keystone.
For more Symposium-related resources, check out recorded video on Ustream and insights from plenary speakers on the future of health care on "Colorado State of Mind,". Also, contact us by email to receive information about the 2012 Symposium or to obtain hard copies of the report.