Summit Tracks and Sessions

To break down industry silos and increase cross-sector collaboration, tracks at the Summit are flexible and cover what we believe to be the most influential forces in community and population health today. We encourage attendees to mix sessions in their own field with sessions on topics they are interested in and know very little about. The better we understand the challenges and opportunities of all health-related industries, the better equipped we are to work together.

Click here to access the 2017 Summit Presentations.

Click here to download the agenda.

Click here to download a pdf of this year’s session times and dates.

All Sessions are Subject to Change

Closing the Gap Between What We Know and What We Do (in Population Health)
Research has identified and developed a host of evidence-based practices for population health improvement. So why aren't we living in a golden age of health? The daunting truth is that effectively incorporating research findings into everyday practice is far from simple. These sessions will share insights from the field of Implementation Science on how to effectively integrate evidence-based strategies and practices in your work, as well as how to use your own data to drive rapid quality improvement.
Take a Breath: Implementing a Mindfulness Initiative Across a School District Presenters:
  • - Stephanie Kellam, MS, CPT, Student Wellness Coordinator, UnitedHealthcare
  • - Tasha Joshua, MS, CHES, Staff Wellness Coordinator, UnitedHealthcare
Stress has an effect on the engagement, performance, and health of all individuals within the school environment. This presentation will focus on the implementation of a district-wide mindfulness initiative with both students and employees. Audience members will learn about the process of gaining district-wide adoption, challenges and barriers encountered, solutions and best practices learned, and the future of the project. Audience members will walk away from this presentation with a better understanding of how to replicate a similar initiative as well as with the tools and resources necessary to do so.
Child Obesity: Are We Making Progress in Texas? Presenter:
  • - Deanna Hoelscher, PhD, RDN, LD, CNS, FISBNPA, Director & Professor, Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living
Are we making progress with our state initiatives to prevent child obesity? This session will present data from the most recent SPAN survey conducted in 2015-2016, and will show obesity trends over time in students in grades 4, 8, and 11. In addition, differences in obesity prevalence in different regions of the state and along the Texas-Mexico border will be highlighted. Recommendations for future intervention efforts to prevent child obesity will be reviewed, based on the study findings, as well as "how to's" for data use.
Addressing the Unmet Needs of Patients and Families Presenter:
  • - Scott Wallace, JD, MBA, Managing Director of the Value Institute for Health and Care, The University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School
Healthcare is most effective when the needs of patients and families are fully addressed. This only happens when health teams integrate their care with public health resources and the communities they serve. The Experience Group research methodology provides insights into the lives and unmet needs of patients and their families, enables care organized around medically defined segments of people, and identifies the outcomes that matter most to patients. Dell Medical School's Value Institute is using this methodology and a series of implementation frameworks to bring integrated, measurably effective and highly responsive care to patients and families in Central Texas.
Resilience and Meaning are Critical to the Overall Health of Individuals and Organizations Presenters:
  • - Sheila Armitage, PhD, CEO, the Windhorse Journey
  • - Mary Faria, PhD, FACHE, Adjunct Professor and Lecturer at Texas State University and Concordia University
This interactive session will cover research regarding human resilience and meaning. Presenters will share an assessment tool to measure competency in resilience and allow participants to explore why resilience and meaning are critical to the overall health of individuals and organizations.
Assessing Environmental Assets for Health Promotion Program Planning: A Practical Framework for Health Promotion Practitioners Presenters:
  • - Andrew Springer, DrPH, Associate Professor, Health Promotion & Behavioral Science, University of Texas School of Public Health-Austin
  • - Deborah Salvo, PhD, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School Of Public Health in Austin
Health promotion interweaving builds from current perspectives in health intervention planning and systems science by guiding practitioners from a conceptualization of context as a backdrop to intervention, to one that recognizes context as integral to the intervention design. Health promotion interweaving concepts and examples will be provided in relation to four key environments (policy, information, social/cultural/organizational, and the physical), followed by a more in-depth exploration of pop-up parks, a novel approach for activating urban environments for physical activity and healthy social interaction.
Evidence-Based Screenings in Low-Income El Paso Households Presenters:
  • - Juan Aguilera, MD, MPH: Interdisciplinary Health Sciences PhD student, UT El Paso
  • - Karen Del Rio Guzman, Health Promotion student, UT El Paso
This session will cover how students from MPH and Health Promotion at UTEP provided free screenings to 3,000 uninsured people in low-income communities of El Paso to keep track of their health and research impact. Input from students will be the learning process to perform the health exam (BP, Lipid-Glucose, ECG) and give recommendations to people based on their results. Speakers will talk about their findings, ways students can get involved, and how to utilize student involvement in your community.
Quality Improvement: Top-Down, Bottom-Up, and In Between Presenters:
  • - Moderator: Mitch Goldman, Austin Regional Clinic
  • - Lily Mitchell, Director of Quality, People’s Community Clinic
  • - Tracy Angelocci, MD, Lone Star Circle of Care
  • - Darren Geyer, MD, Premier Family Physicians/li>
A successful clinical quality improvement initiative requires much more than good intentions and knowledge of best practices. It is both "top down" and "bottom up," aligning organizational priorities with the realities of on-the-ground clinical care. QI also presents multiple administrative and implementation challenges: Is there sufficient data to measure improvement? Does the project address clinician and patient needs? Does the organization have the capacity and culture to take on "yet another" project? This panel will present clinical, technical, and operational perspectives on the reality of bringing about change in complex clinical environments.
If Only It Rained Money
One of the great promises of prevention is that it pays for itself. The problem is that cost-savings from prevention rarely go to the entities that generated the cost-savings. Organization A fronts the cost for prevention, but it’s Organizations B, C, and D that save money down the road. To really move the needle on prevention, we have to enable employers, insurers, agencies, non-profits, clinicians, health care systems, and other providers and funders of care to reap the return on investments in prevention. Learn about what innovators are doing to align incentives with population health priorities and establish sustainable financing for population health efforts.
How Impact Investors are Improving Health Outcomes Presenter:
  • - Nirav Shah, Director, Social Finance
This session will discuss Pay for Success (PFS), an innovative approach to addressing persistent social problems. These efforts measurable improve the lives of people in need while driving government resources towards more effective programs. Social Finance is a nonprofit organization that believes everyone deserves the opportunity to thrive, and that social impact financing can play a catalytic role in creating these opportunities. Presenter, Nirav Shah, will provide an overview of the PFS model and use a case study to illustrate how Social Finance uses PFS to advance health outcomes.
Benefits - Ballin' On a Budget Presenters:
  • - Patrick Mercer, Assistant Vice President, Wellness Director, Frost-Banking, Investments, Insurance
  • - Kathryn Scoblick, Director of Employer Health and Wellness, St. David’s HealthCare
If you’re like most employers, finding the time (and funds) to implement an impactful worksite wellness program can be a daunting task. With an overwhelming lack of internal resources and support, organizations often times end up inundated during their brainstorming efforts and end rolling out no program at all. During this session, presenters will discuss how you can be a wellness ninja for your company and implement a meaningful worksite wellness program all on a shoestring or nonexistent budget.
Addressing Public Health Challenges Through Finance Presenter:
  • - Jordana Barton, Senior Advisor, Dallas Federal Reserve
Financial Institutions can be important partners in addressing health disparities in low and moderate-income communities. This session will provide examples of bank lending, service, and investment in healthcare. Addressing the social determinants of health and access to healthcare is an important part of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). The CRA is a law that encourages banks to make loans and investments and provide services to LMI communities. Passed in 1977, this session will explain how this influence law addresses redlining to bring broad, flexible, and response changes to communities.
The Role of Philanthropy in Financing Health, Not Just Healthcare Presenter:
  • - Elena Marks, President and CEO, Episcopal Health Foundation
Decades of research show that medical services account for a relatively small percentage of the factors that determine health outcomes, likely no more than 20%, while social, economic, and behavioral factors are much more influential. As the country wrestles with the value question, there’s an opportunity to redirect health sector investments. This session will address the ways in which health sector funders can support the upstream, systems-oriented work that improves population health outcomes.
Community Benefit and Beyond! Leveraging Resources Through Intersectoral Engagement Presenters:
  • - Kevin Barnett, DrPH, MCP, Senior Investigator, Public Health Institute
  • - Sue Grinnell, Director of Business Strategy and Technology, Public Health Institute
This session will introduce the Center to Advance Community Health and Equity, a national coordinating center supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to support evidence-informed dialogue and strategic investment among hospitals and diverse stakeholders in communities across the country. As part of the session, presenters will conduct a demonstration of Community Benefit Insight, an online searchable platform with hospital 990 Schedule H data, as well as other tools, resources and strategies to better focus resources in communities where health inequities are concentrated.
What New Health Care Reform Means for Your Business Presenter:
  • - Elizabeth Teisberg, PhD, Executive Director, Value Institute for Health and Care
The issues facing Americans in healthcare today are as urgent as they are complex. Escalating costs, inconsistent quality, uneven access, and devastating pandemics are all pressing problems that elude easy answers. A key underlying cause of these challenges lies in the disjointed structure of the U.S. health care system that is organized around fragments of care rather than solutions. Just about everyone agrees that we need to reform health care, but few agree on how to do it. In this session, Elizabeth Teisberg, PhD, will explore the implications and impact of value-based health care reform and how businesses can catalyze transformational change.
Making Space for Health
We know that the environments in which we live, play, work and learn impact our health. We also know that most of our environments were not built for health. So how do we get from here to there? What are practical ways to transform our environments to make them more supportive of health? And how can the health sector work together with those sectors that play a direct role in creating the built environments to ensure health is taken into consideration?
Places for Play Presenters:
  • - Moderator: Emilie Potter, Population Health Scholar, The University of Texas at Austin
  • - Sophia Benner, Associate Planner, GrantWorks, Inc.
  • - Katie Mulholland, Planner, City of Austin
  • - Meredith Powell, CoFounder, Public City
Tactical Urbanism is an approach that aims to bring change to the built environment through low-cost, often temporary, deliberate interventions. Tactical Urbanism strategies are intended to improve spaces through a variety of actions, and can impact the ways in which we engage physically and socially in our communities. This session will focus on breaking down what Tactical Urbanism is, as well as discussing the different strategies communities can adopt for activating underused spaces in promoting health. Featured speakers will discuss the many forms and phases that Tactical Urbanism takes through different case studies and projects.
Healthy Cities: Collaboration Resulting in Proof of Concept Presenters:
  • - Jessica Galleshaw, Senior Director of Health Impact, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas
  • - Ashley Hutto, Outcomes Manager, Diabetes Health and Wellness Institute, Baylor Scott and White affiliate
This presentation will provide an overview of the Healthy City Initiative, including details regarding the role and responsibilities the community health workers play in the successes of the participants, the articulated interests of each of the collaborative partners, and the impact that has been documented to date. The formation of the collaboration that resulted in the Healthy Cities Initiative will also be discussed.
OLE! Texas: Outdoor Learning Environments Presenters:
  • - Katie Chennisi, Public Health Analyst, Harris County Public Health
  • - Laura Olson, Family Service Coordinator for Success by 6, United Way for Greater Austin
More than 4.2 million young children are enrolled in ECE settings where they spend most of their waking hours. OLE! Texas is based on the Preventing Obesity by Design (POD) model, a built environment childcare center design approach to improve and enhance outdoor learning opportunities. This session will highlight the best practiced, evidence-based approach to create age-appropriate, safe and accessible outdoor learning environments.
The Case for (or Against) Urban Agriculture Presenter:
  • - Edwin Marty, Food Policy Manager, City of Austin; Alex Canepa, Research Director, Farmers Market Coalition
Urban agriculture has taken many forms in recent years, and has gained momentum in various cities trying to address issues of access to healthy food. Presenters will discuss the ways in which urban agriculture can positively impact the health of communities, as well as the barriers that exist in ensuring equitable access to healthy food options.
Panel on Mental Health: Mindfulness & Emotional Self Regulation
* Higher Education Student Session
  • - Moderator: Tessa Merritt, Baylor 2018 graduate
  • - Darla Absher, PsyD., LPC-S, Director of Admissions, Austin Oaks Hospital
  • - Chris Brownson, PhD, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and CMHC Director, The University of Texas at Austin
  • - Karen Ranus, Executive Director, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) AustinI
  • - Megan Alvarado, Intern, NAMI Austin
This program is designed to walk students through forming emotional awareness of oneself and others when under the tremendous pressures of school. Panelists will identify the hidden components of mental illness and how to have insight into yourself when under stress. Topics include: mental illness trends in recent years, stress and boundaries, "the line" and how students can become more aware of when things are 'off,' their limit is reached, and the line might be crossed.
Health and the Built Environment: Designing for Change
  • - Moderator: Billy Fields, PhD, Associate Professor Political Science, Texas State University
  • - Sarah Gamble, Architect, Go Collaborative
  • - Jennifer Todd, Principal Planner, CodeNEXT
The built environment is comprised of all the physical parts of where we work, live, and play - yet many of our communities are not in support of our health, whether it be physical, mental, or social. This session will focus on strategies for changing the built environment for the healthier, exploring topics of transportation, community engagement, and public interest design. Featured speakers will discuss how to be more intentional about addressing health through design.
Achieving Health Equity: What Will It Take?
  • - Moderator: Dr. Esteban Lopez, Chief Medical Officer & Market President, Southwest Texas, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas
  • - Patricia Hayes, Chief Strategist/Owner, PVH Consulting Group, LLC
  • - Rosanna Barrett, DrPH, MPH, Director, Texas Health and Human Services Commission Office of Minority Health Statistics & Engagement
  • - Isabel Egüez, Project Manager, Texas Health and Human Services Commission Office of Minority Health Statistics and Engagement
Many of our healthy choices depend on the opportunities available to us as determined by the systems present within our community. Such systems have policies and practices that have created deep-rooted disparities among Texas' minority communities. In order to achieve health equity, it is imperative for us all to come together around a shared vision of better health for all Texans. This session will explore ways in which the social determinants of health can guide practice and policy decision making in efforts to reduce health disparities in your community and across the state.
The Avengers: How Clinical and Behavioral Science, Technology, User Experience Design, and Marketing are Teaming Up to Dethrone Obesity
  • - Todd Whitthorne, President, ACAP Health/Shareholder
  • - Tim Church, MD, PhD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer, ACAP Health
  • - Kendall Ramirez, Chief Experience Office, ACAP Health
  • - Susan Campbell, PhD, Wellness Strategy Leader, American Airlines
It’s no secret that obesity and related health conditions burden employers with significant healthcare costs. Although behavioral weight loss programs have proven, in the clinical setting, to be the most-effective method for long-term risk reduction, effective behavioral programs in the workplace are challenging. In this session, we’ll examine how some of the largest and most diverse employers in the country are achieving measurable health improvement by blurring the lines between science and art. Panelists will explore how a weight loss program can be combined with technology, design and consumer engagement principles to restore employee health and uproot the stronghold of obesity on well-being and business.

The Present and Future of Health Communications

Understanding what promotes health in populations is only half (or less) of the battle. The information has to reach the people we want to serve. The messages have to be framed in ways that resonate and persuade. These sessions will share research findings and emerging trends that address how we write, visualize, design, market, share, and disseminate health information. There will be a particular focus on encouraging health with under-served populations.
Do You Market Your Wellness Program? Presenter:
  • - David Whitt, Employee Wellness Manager, City of San Antonio
Research is done, stakeholders are on board, but is your Wellness Program as successful as it could be? David Whitt, Employee Wellness Manager for the City of San Antonio, shares how even the best laid plans won't receive the expected results if they aren't marketed correctly.
Show & Tell (and Learn): A Communications Guide Presenters:
  • - Joey Walker, MPH, Curriculum Director & Special Projects Manager, CATCH Global Foundation
  • - Brooks Ballard, Director of Communications, CATCH Global Foundation
  • - Kash Aleem, Physical Education teacher and Social Media Specialist
Coordinated School Health is changing lives, but finding success stories can feel like a game of Hide & Seek because they happen in a communications black hole. Best practices, program innovations, and even individual thought leaders remain undiscovered because we often have to “seek” them out. We want to help our colleagues move from a Hide & Seek mindset to one of Show & Tell (and Learn).
Understanding and Addressing Stigma Associated with Low Health Literacy Presenter:
  • - Sara Champlin, PhD, Assistant Professor, Mayborn School of Journalism, The University of North Texas
It is well known that health literacy plays a critical role in the development of health. However, health literacy capacities are not always apparent. Patients might avert health decisions or conceal challenges, suggesting that they perhaps experience perceived stigma related to their management of health information. Moreover, does an individual’s own health literacy determine how they view or stigmatize others? Through findings from a recent study, this presentation will outline how individuals of adequate and less-than-adequate health literacy respond to a scenario involving someone who struggles with health literacy. Implications for health practitioners and educators will be discussed.
Designing Healthcare for People, Not Patients Presenter:
  • - Lucas Artusi, Systems Designer, Design Institute for Health
When one hears “design,” they most likely think about the way things look but in this session, we will explore how design is a process that can help translate human needs into solutions. At the new Dell Medical School clinics, design plays a central role in transforming the way that Central Texans get and stay healthy. This session will provide a look inside the new Dell Medical School clinics and explain how design has created exam rooms which belong to patients instead of doctors, helped eliminate waiting areas, and equipped providers and staff to deliver a new model of patient-centered care. Tips on how to apply the designer’s mindset to daily challenges faced will also be discussed.
Health Communication Workshop: Better Messages for Better Results Presenter:
  • - Mike Mackert, PhD, Director, University of Texas Center for Health Communication
Dr. Mike Mackert will lead this two-hour workshop that allows participants to address a real life health communications challenge and present solutions to those organizations facing the challenge. Workshop participants will receive 30 minutes of health communications message design education and tips, 30 minutes to work on a case study that aligns with conference goals and themes, 30 minutes of teams sharing their work, and wrap up with 30 minutes of Q&A and discussion.
Telehealth and Population Health Presenters:
  • - Moderator: Nora Belcher, Executive Director, Texas e-Health Alliance
  • - Latoya Thomas, Director of the State Policy Resource Center, American Telemedicine Association
  • - Kristi Henderson, DNP, VP for Virtual Care & Innovation for Ascension-Texas Ministry
  • - Mari Robinson, Director of Telehealth, University of Texas Medical Branch;
  • - Travis Hanson, Executive Director, Rural and Community Health Lubbock, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
Telehealth is the use of technology for long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, and other health-related services. It has the potential improve quality, equity, and affordability of healthcare delivery. This panel of experts will discuss the possibilities and limitations of telehealth to improve population health. The panel will also consider what needs to happen for telehealth to achieve its potential as a tool for population health improvement.
Reporting Health Presenters:
  • - Moderator: Dan Oppenheimer, Senior Communications Lead for Population Health, Office of Health Affairs, The University of Texas System
  • - Marissa Evans, Health and Human Services Policy Reporter, Texas Tribune
  • - Ashley Lopez, Senior Reporter, KUT Public Media
  • - Ricardo Nuila, MD, Author and Assistant Professor of Medicine, Medical Ethics, and Health Policy, Baylor College of Medicine
Three of Texas’ most influential and interesting health reporters will discuss these issues, and will offer their perspectives on the major health news trends in Texas, and how those intersect with broader themes of policy, economy, equity, race, and history. Health reporters, producers, and writers are the key intermediaries between the general public and health researchers, advocates, and organizations. Once surveying the flood of health information, they select topics that will have the most relevance and interest to the public, and craft the information into narratives that move, enlighten, illuminate, and warn. Join us to find out more.
Redesigning health care systems to meet the needs of underserved populations with behavioral, substance use, and mental health disorders. Presenters:
  • - Lisa Cleveland, PhD, RN, Assistant Professor, University of Texas Health San Antonio
  • - Robert L Ferrer MD, MPH, Professor and Vice Chair for Research, University of Texas Health San Antonio
  • - Stacy Ogbeide, PsyD, MS, Behavioral Health Consultant and Assistant Professor, University of Texas Health San Antonio
  • - Barbara J Turner MD, MSEd, Professor and Founder of the ReACH Center, University of Texas Health San Antonio
  • - Dawn I Velligan MD, Professor and Director of the Division of Schizophrenia and Related Disorders, University of Texas Health San Antonio
Any meaningful rethinking and redesign of health systems will have to involve substantive community engagement to ensure that reforms address the needs of the people who are being served. This session will explore a number of strategies for community engagement in redesigning systems, including systems for care of those dealing with chronic conditions, opioid addiction, and serious mental illness.
Connecting the Future of Medicine to Prevention Presenters:
  • - Moderator: Stephen Pont, MD, MPH FAAP, University of Texas Dell Medical School
  • - Robert Morrow, MD, MBA, Southeast Texas Market President, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas
  • - Leslie Barden, Senior Vice President/HealthCare Consulting Blaze Advisors, LLC
  • - Jeff Bullard, MD, CEO, Vault
The future of medicine is evolving, powered by new approaches, tests, and technologies that aid providers and patients in better care delivery. Panelists will discuss emerging and best practices in the delivery of value-based, patient-centric care and how preventive medicine can be incorporated into these delivery models.
'Dissecting the Hype and the Science' sponsored by Texas Beef Council Presenter:
  • - Keli Hawthorne, MS, RD, LD, Director of Clinical Research, Department of Pediatrics, Dell Medical School
News headlines often drive the latest health trends. Participants will learn to critically evaluate the credibility of the science behind the claims.
Developing Community Leaders and Strategic Partnerships
Engaging communities can be among the most powerful means for promoting health. It’s a challenge, though. What are the rights points of access? Who are the leaders most equipped to activate their communities, and how do you get them on board? These sessions are designed for people who are on the ground doing community outreach and coalition building, and who are interested in forming and influencing strategic, multi-sector partnerships that address health equity at local and/or statewide levels.
Building Upon Community Health Assessments and Improvement Plans Presenters:
  • - Linda Fulmer, Executive Director, Healthy Tarrant County Collaboration
  • - Ray Langlois, WilCo Wellness Alliance Coalition Coordinator, Williamson County
  • - Andrew Springer, DrPH, Associate Professor, Health Promotion & Behavioral Science, University of Texas School of Public Health-Austin
  • - Shelby McGhee, MPH student, UT School of Public Health
Community health collaboratives know that a community health assessment and a community health improvement plan (CHA/CHIP) are essential in determining opportunities for building a healthier community. You don’t have to tackle this alone! Hear from experts who will share stories of CHA/CHIP success and lessons learned! Learn how to tap into existing resources to help measure the current health status of your community and guide dynamic community health improvement efforts.
Partnerships Are The Solution For Improving Children's Fitness and Health Presenter:
  • - Jeremy Lyon, PhD, President, Youth Division
The session will focus on partnership strategies that work effectively in educating and empowering children to live healthier lives. Schools have a key role in implementation but can't do it alone.
Engaging the Faithbased Presenters:
  • - Moderator: Fred Smith, PhD, Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program, Houston Graduate School of Theology
  • - Edward Dick, MD, Senior Vice President of Integrated Health Services, Medical Services, Methodist Healthcare Ministries
  • - Reverend Rudy Rasmus, Pastor, St. James UMC Downtown
  • - James Furr, PhD, President, Houston Graduate School of Theology
  • - Rucker Preston, Executive Director, Texas Christian Community Development Association
Panelists will discuss the important role the faith community plays in addressing social determinants of health and health equity. Attendees will hear from experts in placed-based population health and learn how to transform health care services and interventions in communities across Texas.
Public Policy, Public Health, and a Healthy Texas Presenters:
  • - Moderator: Steve Love, President/CEO, Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council
  • - Freddy Warner, Vice President of Government Affairs, Memorial Hermann Health System
  • - David J. Tesmer, Senior Vice President of Community Engagement and Advocacy, Texas Health Resources
Public policy is an integral part of public health. In this exciting panel, speakers will discuss the impact of public policy and how it impacts prevention, wellness and clinical outcomes in Texas.
Engaging the Underserved to Inform Community Health Efforts Presenters:
  • - Moderator: Lorena Soto, Health Partnership Organizer VISTA, El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank
  • - Andrew Hernandez, Community Development Manager, Methodist Healthcare Ministries
  • - Deborah Salvo, PhD, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School Of Public Health in Austin
  • - ennifer Knoulton, Vice President of Regional Operations, Methodist Healthcare Ministries
We are often urged to engage those we serve in decision-making, but it is often not practical for them to actively engage as members of committees. In this session, panelists will provide examples of ways they’ve gone about getting input from and engaging community members in decision-making.
Tactics for Building and Nurturing Relationships with Local and State Officials Presenters:
  • - Moderator: Joel Romo, President, Texana Public Affairs
  • - Clayton Travis, Advocacy Director, Texas Pediatric Society
  • - Kaitlyn Murphy, Senior Government Relations Director, American Heart Association
  • - Jim Arnold, Principal, Arnold Public Affairs/li>
This session will focus on specific tactics to build relationships with local and state officials. Panelists will explore challenges and payoffs and attendees will learn practical, actionable steps to help drive public health policy.
Closing the Digital Divide to Improve Health Outcomes on the Texas-Mexico Border Presenter:
  • - Jordana Barton, Senior Advisor, Dallas Federal Reserve
Digital Opportunity for the Rio Grande Valley (DO4RGV) is a cross-sector partnership and demonstration project to close the digital divide in a region of persistent poverty that is among the least connected in the U.S. Through investment in broadband infrastructure and digital inclusion, the goal is to create a replicable model that includes access for everyone and addresses health challenges for border residents using telehealth. This session will discuss how the issue arose and how local leaders from various sectors including the City of Pharr, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, and many others came together to understand and solve the problem.
Approaching and Interacting with Legislature Presenter:
  • - Representative Jason Isaac, State Legislator for District 45
Millennials have the lowest voting turnout of any age group, and even fewer are involved in the legislative process — despite the fact that policy decisions made today will have long-lasting impacts on your future. In this session, State Rep. Jason Isaac, a fourth-term representative passionate about getting young people involved in government, shares his tips on how and why students should engage their legislative leaders. Students will come away from this session armed with tools and strategies to make their voices heard in the Capitol and have a real impact on legislative debates.
How corporations should play a pivotal role in healthy communities Presenter:
  • - Moderator: Ben Clutter, Director of Employer Relations, IT'S TIME TEXAS
  • - Peter Wald, MD, MPH, Enterprise Medical Director, USAA, Mayor’s Fitness Council, San Antonio
  • - Brittany Ferguson, Vice President, Social Impact, Nutritional Programming, Hungry Planet Farms
Corporations have a responsibility to help improve community health by extending the impact of their wellness efforts outside the walls of their company. As key stakeholders, corporations can knock down the silos of health by collaborating across sectors to foster healthy opportunities for all. See how some great companies are improving the health of individuals, families, and workforces, and how any company, of any size, can get involved.
Teaching Healthier Every Step of the Way
The range of health education materials is vast. The contexts in which we’re providing health education are numerous. The opportunities for learning from each other are great. These sessions will provide current and comprehensive information covering a broad range of activities designed to increase access to nutrition education, healthier food choices, and physical activity opportunities for Texans of all ages.
The Wisdom of Rhythm: Innovative Approaches to Promote Health, Sleep, Rest and Work Presenters:
  • - Joel Bennett, PhD, President, Organizational Wellness and Learning Systems
  • - Brittany D. Linde, PhD, Associate Research Scientist and the Director of Strategic Partnerships, Organizational Wellness and Learning Systems
This session will review research and tools on a variety of approaches to leading a more balanced and healthy lifestyle that is not burdened by time pressure. The vast majority of health and productivity problems that occur in the workplace are due to workaholic norms, hectic workplace, poorly managed work demands, and the lack of a fatigue risk management system. Fortunately, there are many solutions emerging from positive psychology and leisure studies that address these issues. Participants will learn about and practice these tools.
Cooking towards Health Presenters:
  • - Ana Torres-Leon, MA, RD, LD, Clinical Dietitian, CommUnityCare
  • - Marissa Rodriguez, RD, LD, Clinical Dietitian, CommUnityCare
  • - Angelica Garcia, Dietetic Technician, CommUnityCare
  • - ristin Brookshire, MPH, RD, LD, Clinical Nutrition Manager, CommUnityCare
Don’t just educate individuals on how they should eat to prevent or manage chronic disease, create opportunity to put new knowledge into action! This session will walk through how to design, implement, and evaluate a successful skills-based cooking program in any community or FQHC setting. Strategies to effectively leverage partnerships in order to secure funding will also be discussed.
Employer Health and Wellness Workshop Presenters:
  • - Moderator: Ben Clutter, Director of Employer Relations, IT'S TIME TEXAS
  • - Ian Goodman, MPH Benefits Consultant, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co
  • - Patrick Mercer, Wellness Director, Frost Insurance/li>
  • - Melissa Lupo, MPA, Wellness & Health Risk Management Consultant, Higginbotham
  • - Evan Thoman, MS, CWP, Wellness Specialist, MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • - Claire Hahn, Work-life Balance and Wellness Manager, University of Texas at Austin
  • - Kourtney Martin, Employee Wellness Coordinator, Texas A&M University
  • - Jeff Skelton, Director of Sales, Health Advocate
Come with an open mind ready to learn from some of the top employer wellness experts from across the state of Texas. Audience members will be broken off into small work teams, assigned to an expert leader, and given the opportunity to open questions about workplace wellness. Questions and topics for discussion will be provided to assist in kick-starting the conversations around the most valuable action items that can improve the health and well-being of your employees and their families.
Eating and Exercising in a Fast Pace College Lifestyle
* Higher Education Student Session
  • - Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, Registered and Licensed Dietitian
Eating and Exercising in a Fast Pace College Lifestyle is designed to help college students with healthy eating tips as well as exercise ideas so that they can improve their health along their college journey. With fast food and busy schedules bombarding college students, it is essential that healthy habits be developed to enhance their well-being as well as limit risk for disease in the future. Living healthy isn't hard if you have the right tools to help you!
Collaborating to Create Healthy School Environments
  • - Samuel Karns, Assistant Director of Health Fitness, Spring Branch ISD
  • - Karen Burnell, Healthy Lifestyles Liaison, Texas PTA
Come learn how to develop a strong School Health Advisory Council and educate parents on the powerful voice they have. Equip yourself with tools to create results and transform environments at the local and district levels that maximize health and wellness for the whole school, whole community, and whole child.

CPE Credits

For those looking to further their education in a specific field, Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits will be offered for the following professions:

  • K-12 Educators
  • Human Resources
  • Community Health Workers
  • Health Educators
  • Social Workers
  • Counselors

With questions regarding CPE credits, contact Carley McCaw at

Healthier Texas Participants Photo

Thanks to our Sponsors

Demonstrate your company’s commitment to health.
Contact us to learn more about our sponsorship opportunities.

CATCH (Color)
Texas Beef Council
Central Health
ACAP Health

Thanks to our Sponsors

Demonstrate your company’s commitment to health. Contact us to learn more about our sponsorship opportunities.