More than 700 health care leaders came together today in Chicago for the Association for Community Health Improvement's National Conference focused on strengthening community partnerships, creating better care systems and advancing health equity.
AHA Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Maryjane Wurth kicked off today's program by challenging attendees to work collaboratively and consider diverse perspectives as they advance innovative care models. "Working differently is hard. Changing organizational culture to support this perspective is hard. But we can't wait for change to happen to us; we have to initiate the change ourselves," she said.  
AHA Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Jay Bhatt, D.O., said that last year's conference focused on coming together to build a bridge by opening new dialogues, sharing diverse experiences and discovering practical ideas for creating a new culture of wellbeing and health equity in our communities. "This year, our aim is not just to connect, converse and contribute, but to speak and act with one voice," he said. "This is our opportunity to become a unified force to tackle head-on our toughest problems in community health."
During the conference's opening keynote session, Dayna Bowen Matthew, a public health leader, author and University of Virginia School of Law faculty member, called on attendees to embrace their unique role in moving the needle on health equity. "Hospitals are hubs for racial healing," she said. "You have the footprint in communities to change the story. Look at the number of admissions that you will touch. Of that group, your potential impact is awesome with respect to the most vulnerable members of our population."
Throughout the day, attendees participated in breakout sessions on redesigning a health system to improve community health; diabetes prevention; tackling social determinants through medical-legal partnerships; and addressing complex needs among older adults, among other topics.
ACHI yesterday hosted a number of pre-conference sessions focused on the social determinants of health, clinician development and community partnerships.
Watch AHA Today and follow #achimtg on social media for more coverage from the conference.

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