Dr. Manuel Solano, MCC’s health care program manager, was on a big stage June 21.
Well, perhaps not literally. But the event itself was a biggie: “Public Health 3.0,” a daylong conference in Kansas City, was one of five stops on a national “listening tour” that featured federal health official Dr. Karen DeSalvo.
Each city’s event includes community leaders from the private and public sectors. The goal: “to learn more about opportunities to improve and modernize public health.”
As DeSalvo, acting Assistant Secretary for Health, has explained it, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is looking for “a new model that supports the health of everyone who lives, learns, works and plays in our neighborhoods.” She says Public Health 3.0 “is not a set of policy prescriptions” or “a set of rules or laws” but rather the start of a conversation.
The local event took place at the Kansas City Health Department.
Solano was part of a panel that discussed “Building Cross-Sector Partnerships.” Dr. Rex Archer, director of the Kansas City Health Department, moderated. Other panelists: Gary Cox of the Oklahoma City County Health Department, Bridget McCandless of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City, and Susan Mosier, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
Solano says he felt honored to represent Metropolitan Community College at such a top-tier conference.
“The invitation to participate in this event is a recognition of the importance of community colleges in training the health-care workforce necessary to change the landscape of public health,” Solano says.
Kansas City was the fourth stop on the listening tour. Other locations are Allegheny County, Penn.; Santa Rosa, Calif.; Nashville, Tenn.; and Spokane, Wash.
In Santa Rosa, the Press Democrat newspaper described Public Health 3.0 as an effort “to discuss a new direction for local public health departments, one that would push them far beyond their traditional role as watchdogs of communicable and chronic diseases and make them community partners in identifying the ‘social determinants’ of health.”
The newspaper reported that according to DeSalvo, “the health of a community is more effectively addressed long before the onset of illness, where access to education, affordable housing, employment opportunities, recreation and nutrition all play a key role.”