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 download the preliminary agenda.

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: Implementating a Mindfulness Initiative Across a School District Presenters:
  • - Stephanie Kellam, MS, CPT, Student Wellness Coordinator, UnitedHealthcare
  • - Tasha Joshua, MS, CHES, Staff Wellness Coordinator
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, the challenges and barriers encountered, and the solutions and best practices learned. This presentation will also evaluate present project results and explore the future direction of similar projects. Audience members will walk away from this presentation with a better understanding of how to replicate a similar initiative and equipped with the tools and resources necessary to do so.
Child Obesity: Are we making progress in Texas? Results from the 2015-2016 SPAN Survey Presenter:
  • - Dr. Deanna Hoelscher, Director & Professor, Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living, UTSPH
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, 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, Managing Director, Value Institute for Health and Care, Associate Professor

, UT Dell Medical School
Health care must be reorganized around patients and families. To do so, providers need to understand the experiences of patients and how they live with their conditions. Care is most effective when the needs of patients and families are fully addressed, and that can only happen when health care, community and public health resources are integrated. 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, Associate, The Windhorse Journey
An interactive session that shares research regarding human resilience and meaning, presents an assessment tool to measure competency in resilience and allows participants to explore why resilience and meaning are critical to overall health of individuals and organizations.
Assessing environmental assets for health promotion program planning: a practical framework for health promotion practitioners Presenters:
  • - Dr. Andrew Springer, Associate Professor of Health Promotion & Behavioral Science, University of Texas School of Public Health-Austin/Dell Center for Healthy Living
  • - Dr. Deborah Salvo, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School Of Public Health
An interactive session that shares research regarding human resilience and meaning, presents an assessment tool to measure competency in resilience and allows participants to explore why resilience and meaning are critical to overall health of individuals and organizations.
Evidence-Based Screenings in Low-Income El Paso Households Presenters:
  • - Juan Aguilera MD, MPH, Interdisciplinary Health Sciences PhD student, The University of Texas at El Paso
  • - Karen Del Rio, Health Promotion student, The University of Texas at 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.
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
Nirav Shah, a Director on the Social Investment team at Social Finance, will discuss Pay for Success (PFS), a public-private partnership that leverages impact investment to scale and sustain programs that measurably improve the lives of people in need while driving government resources towards more effective programs. Social Finance is a nonprofit organization that believes that everyone deserves the opportunity to thrive, and that social impact financing can play a catalytic role in creating these opportunities. Since its founding in 2011, Social Finance has worked with over 40 nonprofits, governments, and foundations to develop PFS strategies and raised over $50 million from impact investors to serve over 7,500 individuals with effective programs. Nirav will provide an overview of the PFS model, use a case study to illustrate how PFS is being used to advance health outcomes, and foster a dialogue on how PFS can be used to advance positive outcomes while bending the cost curve.
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 for Austin based 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, we 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.
Community Development Finance, The Community Reinvestment Act, and the Role of Banks in Addressing Public Health Challenges Presenters:
  • - Jordana Barton, MPA, 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 encourages banks to make loans and investments and provide services to LMI communities. The law passed in 1977 to address redlining—the denial of credit to individuals based on where they live. Every year the CRA helps bring more than $100 billion in capital to LMI communities across the country. The law is intended to be broad, flexible and responsive to changes within communities.
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:
  • - Sophia Benner, Planner, City of Austin
  • - Katie Mulholland, Planner, City of Austin
  • - Meredith Powell, Co-Founder, 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. Three 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, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, Senior Director of Health Impact
  • - Ashley Hutto, Outcomes Manager at Diabetes Health and Wellness Institute, an affiliate of Baylor Scott and White
The presentation provides an overview of the Healthy Cities Initiative, details regarding the role and responsibilities the CHWs 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. We will also discuss the formation of the collaboration that resulted in the Healthy Cities Initiative.
OLE! Texas: Outdoor Learning Environments Presenters:
  • - Cari Browning, Physical Activity Coordinator, TXDSHS
  • - Katie Chennisi, Public Health Analyst, Harris County Public Health
  • - Laura Olson, Family Famly 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 practice, 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 at City of Austin
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. This session will feature the City of Austin’s Food Policy Manager, Edwin Marty, who will speak to 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, Undergraduate, class of 2018, Baylor University
  • - Dr. Darla Absher, Director of Admissions, Austin Oaks Hospital
  • - Dr. Chris Brownson, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs & Director of the Counseling and Mental Health Center, The University of Texas at Austin
  • - Megan Alvarado, Intern, NAMI
Panel on Mental Health: Mindfulness & Emotional Self Regulation 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 & boundaries, "the line" and how students can become more aware when things are 'off,' their limit is reached, and the line might be crossed.
Health and the Built Environment: Designing for Change
  • - Sarah Gamble, Go Collaborative
  • - Jennifer Todd, Principal Planner for CodeNEXT
  • - Dr. Chandra Bhat, Director of the UT Center for Transportation Research
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 our built environment for the healthier, exploring topics of transportation, community engagement, and public interest design. Three featured speakers will discuss how we can be more intentional about addressing our health through design.

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, PE 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, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Mayborn School of Journalism, The University of North Texas
It is known that health literacy (an individual’s ability to find, understand, use, and discuss health information) 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. It is important to understand perceptions about low health literacy among the public. 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, The University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School
When you hear “design,” you probably think about the way things look: cars, building interiors, or maybe fashion. But design isn’t just the way that things look; 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. In this session you’ll learn how design has uncovered some of Austin’s most challenging, unaddressed health needs, and how it’s making the spaces where people go to get well look, feel, and act more person-centered. You’ll get a look inside the new Dell Medical School clinics, and learn how design has helped get rid of waiting areas; is creating exam rooms which belong to patients, not doctors; and will equip providers and staff to deliver a new model of care that puts patients at the center. You’ll also leave with a few tips on how to apply the designer’s mindset to the challenges you face.
Health Communication Workshop: Better Messages for Better Results Presenter:
  • - Dr. Mike Mackert, Director of the University of Texas at Austin Center for Health Communication
Dr. Michael Mackert, Director of the Center for Health Communication at The University of Texas at Austin, will lead this two-hour workshop that allows participants to address a real life health communications challenge and present solutions to the organization that is 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 lines up with conference goals and themes; 30 minutes of teams sharing their work; and 30 minutes of Q&A and discussion to wrap up.
Telehealth and Population Health Presenters:
  • - Moderator: Nora Belcher, Executive Director, Texas e-Health Alliance
  • - Latoya Thomas, American Telemedicine Association
  • - Kristy Henderson, Seton
  • - Mari Robinson, UTMB Director of Telehealth
  • - Travis Hanson, Texas Tech
Telehealth - the use of technology for long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, and other health-related services - has the potential to improve quality, equity, and affordability of healthcare delivery. This panel of experts will discuss the possibilities - and limitations - of telehealth to improve population health. Panelists will also consider what's necessary for telehealth to achieve its potential as an essential 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, Texas Tribune
  • - Ashley Lopez, KUT/Texas Standard
  • - Dr. Ricardo Nuila, Baylor College of Medicine
Health reporters, producers, and writers are the key intermediaries between health researchers, advocates, and organizations trying to reach, educate and influence the public. They’re the ones who survey the flood of health information, select out the topics that will have the most relevance and interest to the public, and then craft that information into narratives that move, enlighten, illuminate, and warn. So how does that happen? How do they choose what topics to cover? How do they structure their stories? And what are they trying to achieve? 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.
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 (HTCC) and previously on: Plan4Health Tarrant County Coalition (grant ended)
  • - Ray Langlois, Coalition Coordinator, WilCo Wellness Alliance
  • - Dr. Andrew Springer, Associate Professor of Health Promotion & Behavioral Science, University of Texas School of Public Health-Austin/Dell Center for Healthy Living and Shelby McGhee, Graduate Research Assistant, 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:
  • - Dr. Jeremy Lyon, Presidet, 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: Dr. Fred Smith, Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program, Houston Graduate School of Theology
  • - Dr. Edward Dick, Senior Vice President of Integrated Health Services, Medical Services, Methodist Healthcare Ministries
  • - Rev. Rudy Rasmus, Pastor of St James UMC Downtown
  • - Dr. James Furr, President of Houston Graduate School of Theology
  • - Rucker Preston, Executive Director of the 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 place-based population health and learn how to transform health care services and interventions in communities across Texas.
Public Policy, Public Health and Healthy Texas Presenters:
  • - Moderator: Steve Love, President/CEO, Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council
  • - Freddy Warner, Vice President Government Affairs Memorial Hermann Health System
  • - David J. Tesmer, Senior VP Community Engagement & Advocacy Texas Health Resources
The panel will discuss the impact of public policy and how it impacts prevention, wellness and clinical outcomes. Public policy is an integral part of public health.
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
  • - Dr. Deborah Salvo, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School Of Public Health
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 & Nurturing Relationships with Local and State Officials Presenters:
  • - Moderator: Joel Romo, President and Owner, Texana Public Affairs
  • - Clayton Travis, Advocacy Director for the Texas Pediatric Society
  • - Kaitlyn Murphy, American Heart Association
  • - Jim Arnold, Arnold Public Affairs
This session will focus on specific tactics to build relationships with local and state officials. As panelists explore challenges and payoffs, 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 that is among the least connected in the U.S. and an area of persistent poverty. The demonstration involves The City of Pharr, Pharr-San Juan Alamo Independent School District, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. The broader collective impact group includes hospitals, banks, and other educational institutions. The goal is to develop a model that can be replicated across the border to create a robust fiber optic infrastructure that includes access for everyone. Moreover, investment in broadband infrastructure and digital inclusion will allow the healthcare community to use telehealth as a tool to address persistent health challenges for border residents. This session will discuss how the issue arose and how local leaders and various sectors came together to understand and solve the problem.
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:
  • - Dr. Joel Bennett, CEO, Organizational Wellness & 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
  • - Marissa Rodriguez, RD, LD, CDE
  • - Angelica Garcia, CHW
  • - Kristin Brookshire, MPH, RD, LD
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 participants through how to design, implement, and evaluate a successful skills-based cooking program in your community or FQHC setting. Panelists will also discuss strategies to effectively leverage partnerships in order to secure funding.
Employer Health and Wellness Workshop Presenters:
  • - Moderator: Ben Clutter, Director of Employer Relations, IT'S TIME TEXAS
  • - Ian Goodman, Health Management Consultant, Arthur J. Gallagher
  • - Patrick Mercer, Wellness Director, Frost Insurance
  • - Melissa Lupo, MPA, ACSM EP-C, Consultant, Wellness & Health Risk Management, Higginbotham
  • - Rocky Payne, MA, Statewide Wellness Coordinator, Texas Department of State Health Services
  • - Jeff Skelton, Director of Specialty Sales, Wellness and Biometrics, Health Advocate
  • - Evan Thoman, Wellness Specialist, MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • - Claire Hahn, Work-life Balance & Wellness Manager, UT Austin
  • - Kourtney Martin, Employee Wellness Coordinator, Texas A&M University - WELLNESS WORKS!
Come with an open mind, questions about how to have an awesome workplace health and well-being program, and your best note-taking skills to learn from some of the top employer wellness experts from across the state of Texas. We will break off into small work teams, assign an expert leader per group, and allow you...the on the ground health and wellness leads the freedom to ask open questions to your expert leader. We will also provide questions and topics for discussion 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 level 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

Online Registration Available Through October 29th, 2017!

Thanks to our Sponsors

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CATCH (Color)
Texas Beef Council
Central Health

Thanks to our Sponsors

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