A young woman from North Carolina, Tiffany Shields (3rd in from the R), attended her first conference ever August 4-5 at the University of Maryland, College Park. She stood up and told the room that she was nervous about coming, didn’t expect people to be especially welcoming, and thought she’d probably be bored at least part of the time. Instead, it was clear from her beaming smile and enthusiasm that she loved the experience.
Of the hundreds of conferences I’ve planned and attended, this one—Historic Assembly on Health Equity and Prosperity— was far and away the most unusual and inspiring. There was poetry, music, theater, storytelling, and more conventionally, exercises to develop a national action plan to achieve health equity and prosperity. For a flavor of the event, scroll through a collection of photos, tweets, and drawings by Ellen Lovelidge of entre Quest. Click here for more information about the assembly and how to join the equity and prosperity movement.
The meeting was part of the umbrella initiative, 100 Million Healthier Lives, convened by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The vision of the initiative is “to fundamentally transform the way the world thinks and acts to improve health, well-being and equity to get to breakthrough results.” IHI grew out of the quality improvement work of Dr. Don Berwick and is best known for the development of the Triple Aim, “a framework for optimizing health system performance,” that includes population health, the experience of individuals have in the system, and costs. The Institute for Alternative Futures and 100 Million Healthier Lives convened the Health Equity and Prosperity initiative.
I’ve never been to a meeting where poems were written spontaneously and read aloud. The poem “I