By Indu Subaiya

Humans are aspirational by nature.

We dream big and invest tools that help us dream bigger. But we forget—sometimes willfully—that many of us are being left behind—because of racial, cultural or gender biases; poor access to connected technologies; or social stigmas associated with loneliness and sexual assault.

But if working in healthcare over the past 10 years have demonstrated anything, it’s that we are ready and willing to do something about the problems that keep all of us from looking to brighter futures.

It’s why I am proud to introduce a special session at the 11th Annual Health 2.0 Fall Technology Conference— The Unacceptables. Healthcare has too many innovators, too many dreamers, to empathizers to tolerate forgotten populations.

Leveling the Playing Field

As our society grows increasingly diverse and gaps in health among different populations increase, there is an urgency to develop solutions for underserved communities and diversify the population of innovators who are creating these solutions.

  • Diversity in Healthcare. As part of its mission to improve health for all, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has placed special emphasis on creating diversity in healthcare leadership. Last year, RWJF launched four new leadership development programs to engage people working across a variety of sectors to build a Culture of Health. Hear Michael Painter, Senior Program Officer, discuss how RWJF engages professionals, community advocates and organizers, doctoral scholars, clinicians, and researchers across multiple fields, represented by participants with diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and specialties.
  • Women in Health IT. The numbers are startling. Women make up 80% of the workforce, but only 4% of CEOs. Women in health IT earn 20% less than their male counterparts, according to HIMSS. Progress has been made, but more could be done (hello, booth ‘girls’, for a start) to address gender roles in our industry. Lisa Suennen, Senior Managing Director Healthcare Investing, GE Ventures, lead Venture Valkyrie LLC, a publishing, and business advisory firm and is a founder of CSweetener, a not-for-profit company focused on matching women in and nearing the healthcare C-Suite with mentors who have been there and wish to give back, and which she writes about here.

Access to Care

Access to healthcare and healthcare technology remains an endemic problem. Amy Sheon, Executive Director, Urban Health Initiative, Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) School of Medicine, has more than 25 years’ experience in government, academia, and the non-profit sectors.

She’s leveraging the assets of CWRU in making an impact on the health of people living in Cleveland, and recently completed the Childhood Obesity Prevention Mission Project, which she co-directed at the non-profit Altarum Institute in Ann Arbor, MI.

Prior to returning to Ohio, Amy was instrumental in the establishment of three different centers at the University of Michigan, focused on clinical research, ethical issues in the life sciences, and on improving educational outcomes for disadvantaged youth. She also worked at the National Institutes of Health on maternal-infant HIV transmission, HIV prevention studies, and cancer genetics.

Destigmatizing Loneliness, Sexual Assault, and Suicide

We would be remiss to not add these topics to our Unacceptables schedule.

Loneliness Emerging as a Public Health Crisis

It’s estimated that one in five Americans suffers from persistent loneliness. A new wave of research is shedding light on some of the causes and consequences of chronic loneliness, a condition that significantly raises the risk of a number of physical and psychological health problems, including heart disease and depression.

Loneliness and social isolation are distinct concepts: individuals can be lonely without being socially isolated; experience both loneliness and isolation; or be socially isolated without feeling lonely. How people define loneliness and social isolation is important because it influences how they measure these concepts.

Community studies have reported rates of severe loneliness among adults aged 65 and over of between 2% and 16%, while at any one given time up to 32% of individuals aged over 55 feel lonely. One study found that more than half of nursing home residents without cognitive impairment reported feeling lonely.

Check out the work of Jeremy Nobel, MD, MPH, Founder and President of the Foundation of Art & Healing, combatting loneliness. He will be joined by Sachin Jain, President and CEO, of CareMore, an integrated health plan and care delivery system for Medicare and Medicaid patients.

Using Tech to Help Victims of Sexual Assault

An estimated 20% of women, 7% of men, and 24% of trans and gender nonconforming students are sexually assaulted during their college career. Reporting is low and more than 90% of sexual assaults are committed by repeat perpetrators.

  • One in five women and one in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives
  • Nearly one in 10 women has been raped by an intimate partner in her lifetime, including completed forced penetration, attempted forced penetration or alcohol/drug-facilitated completed penetration.
  • In eight out of 10 cases of rape, the victim knew the person who sexually assaulted them
  • Each rape costs approximately $151,423
  • Annually, rape costs the U.S. more than any other crime ($127 billion), followed by assault ($93 billion), murder ($71 billion), and drunk driving ($61 billion)
  • Health care is 16% higher for women who were sexually abused as children
  • More than 90% of sexual assault victims on college campuses do not report the assault

Jessica Ladd, Founder & CEO of Calisto will explain how the non-profit offers a secure, online, trauma-informed system increases the chances that a survivor will report, and that they will experience improved emotional and adjudicative outcomes. During the 2015-2016 pilot, the reporting rate quadrupled on Callisto’s partner campuses.

Help Us Tackle the Hard Questions

With the Unacceptables, we’ve thoughtfully planned a schedule filled with insightful panels and innovative digital health demonstrations around difficult topics. I hope you will add your inspired voice to the conversation!

Indu Subaiya is Co-Founder of Health 2.0. Register for the 11th Annual Health 2.0 Fall Conference here!