Envolve Center Healthcare

The Envolve Center’s Social Determinants and Healthcare Forum Puts a Human Face on Real-World Science and Evidence-Based Solutions

St. Louis, MO (April 12, 2017) – The hope, on both sides of any podium, is that a presentation will go beyond just research-speak and, instead, ignite interest with a human face from the stories that fueled the research in the first place; that it will become infectious enough to showcase unique perspectives, spark spirited dialogue and, importantly, engage debate and promote change.

Healthcare in the U.S. is at a tipping point, and the influence of social determinants on health has been flagged as both a national and global issue. Inequities – from childhood development, culture, and economics to gender, race, social standing, neighborhood safety, and individual health conditions – can create barriers to both access, quality of care, and healthy behaviors. The Envolve Center for Behavior Change™ is on the front lines of cutting-edge research focused on finding what works to support health in these complex circumstances. In recognition, the Center is bringing a roster of seasoned experts and influencers together on May 3rd for a major public forum event at Washington University in St. Louis: Social Determinants and Healthcare. The event will provide an overview of social determinants of health and discuss targeted strategies for healthcare organizations to advance effective health behavior change that will support Medicaid and other vulnerable populations. A conclave of industry leaders and stakeholders in varied fields will gather at the forum to explore existing evidence and point to existing successful programs in the social determinants sphere.

Award-winning St. Louis Post-Dispatch journalist Nancy Cambria will deliver the keynote address. A fellow at the Center for Health Journalism at USC, Cambria has written extensively on social determinants’ impact in St. Louis’ at-risk communities, particularly in the aftermath of the events in Ferguson, MO. Her special report, entitled “The Crisis Within: How Toxic Stress and Trauma Endanger Our Children,” was a first-place Missouri Associated Press Media Editors’ Award winner. A panel discussion, “Advancing Health Equity Through Industry, Government, and Community Partnerships,” will highlight collaborative efforts and offer diverse perspectives from organizational, practitioner, and policy leaders, including:

  • Dan Cave, CEO, Envolve PeopleCare;
  • Chris Coffey, President and CEO, Sunflower Health Plan;
  • Mark Iwry, former Senior Advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Retirement and Health Policy, U.S. Treasury, under both the Clinton and Obama Administrations;
  • Mary McKay, Neidorff Family and Centene Corporation Dean, George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University;
  • Jason Purnell, Associate Professor, Brown School, Washington University and Principal Investigator & Director, For the Sake of All (whose mission is to eliminate racial inequality in the region).

Michal Grinstein-Weiss, founding director and principal investigator for the Envolve Center for Behavior Change, will speak on how the organization is addressing social determinants in healthcare to achieve health and behavior change by working with an interdisciplinary team. New York Times best-selling author Dan Ariely, a faculty director for the Envolve Center and Duke University professor, will present on health behavior and health decisions.

For Grinstein-Weiss, who is also a professor at Washington University’s Brown School and associate director of the Center for Social Development, collaboration is key. “What we are trying to do is bring science into the industry and test it in the real world to come up with a rapid response to the problem; come up with a solution — to see if it makes a difference and is working.” The Envolve Center is currently working with eight of Centene Corporation’s health plans to find solutions. Grinstein-Weiss also notes the importance of focusing on what can truly support vulnerable families. “How can we communicate better to get the attention of low-income people and understand their lifestyle? We must look at basic needs first and what is important to them.”

Envolve PeopleCare’s chief health officer, Jeremy Corbett, is a working physician in emergency medicine who comes face-to-face with patients. About the “incredible studies” at the core of the Envolve Center’s work and mission, he says, “We’re doing it one person at a time.” The doctor is most intrigued by the Envolve Center’s intergenerational study of obesity and diabetes risk — how behavior is a trickle-down from parent to child — and its research on life stressors, from geography to trust issues that impact overall health and influence members’ perception of available care.

Dan Cave, chief executive officer at Envolve PeopleCare, adds that access to preventive care is not enough. “We must move farther upstream to change — improve the health-related behaviors to reduce, if not eliminate, the preventable disease burden and its associated societal costs.” Social determinants, he says, are “key forces” in shaping increased disease risk. “These factors cannot be ignored. We face a bigger burden, a moral one, to take care of one another, and in particular, the most vulnerable among us.”

Corbett explains, “The member is at the center of everything we provide. We don’t simply create diabetes programs; we take into account everything that’s wrapped around that member, whether it’s their finances, their childcare issues, the fact that their husband just passed away or just left — all the issues that affect a person’s ability to get healthy.” As a physician, Corbett’s take is bare bones: “Anybody can point out the issues with healthcare. But we have to come up with solutions. I think that’s going to be the long-term benefit the Envolve Center brings to healthcare.”

Detailed forum agenda and registration information is available here.


Lisa Miceli Feliciano

Lisa Miceli Feliciano – Wellness Communications Writer, Envolve PeopleCare

Lisa’s award-winning communications career has touched a myriad of genres in the arenas of advertising, book publishing, PR, and journalism. She likes using her creative and strategic ink in healthcare to engage, inform, and nudge behavior change on a regular basis.

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