The final day of the 2022 NACHC CHI & EXPO in Chicago featured a packed schedule and the renewed sense of mission and purpose among the thousands of attendees are palpable.
NACHC Interim CEO and President Rachel Gonzales-Hanson helped drive the inspiration home during her remarks at the General Session on Monday.
“After so many years look where we are today. In 2022, nearly 1400 organizations operating 14,000 health care delivery sites, providing services to over 30 million patients! You heard right over 30 million patients. There is no question we have earned our place in America’s Health Care System. Today, we are all here for the same reason. We believe we are part of a cause much bigger than ourselves: the Community Health Center Movement.”Rachel Gonzales-Hanson
Another highlight of the General Session was author and speaker Kelly Leonard. Leonard began his Second City career in 1988, eventually becoming producer of Second City in 1992 and Executive Vice President through 2015. He has worked with celebrities such as Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey, Keegan Michael Key, Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler. Kelly co-leads a new partnership with Booth School at the University of Chicago that studies behavioral science through the lens of improvisation.
Leonard rallied attendees in improvisational activities and touched on important topics, such as healing from trauma, embracing failure, the importance of listening in the polarizing times, even though fewer people are taking the time to listen. “In 2000, average attention span is 23 seconds. In 2013, it was 8 seconds. Goldfish have an attention span of 9 seconds… We all have to learn how to fight like we’re right, and listen like we’re wrong,” Leonard advised.
The final CHI General Session featured medical ethicist and award-winning writer and author, Harriet Washington. Washington walked audience members through the history of racial bias in American medicine dating back to slavery. Some of the racial bias exists still today. Washington described “biological dimorphism” in which African Americans were differentiated by bias and even blamed for their own illnesses, medical research has been conducted on trauma victims ― who are disproportionately people of color ― without their consent or even their knowledge.
“Our health care system needs help to be more fair,” Washington said. “We should be addressing the social determinants of health care and how race is a social construct that determines how health care is provided.”
Washington unveiled an abundance of mythologies surrounding health care that have existed for hundreds of years. She presents how African Americans have received blame for their own health issues, been labeled with the false belief that sickle cell anemia is a “Black disease,” and have endured the misconception that Black people do not feel pain as other races do. “There have been 400 hundred years of medical abuse,” she said.
Additionally, Washington addressed issues regarding clinical trials for medical research. “Seven in eight clinical trials are done in developing countries…because it is cheaper to conduct these trials there than in the West. But in my mind, that says that we are in their debt.”
Following the General Session, attendees still had a variety of educational sessions to choose from, including one on how to support the health center workforce to a whole day of sessions devoted to the 340B program.
NACHC Communications Specialist Bryan Mason contributed to this post.