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Former CDC Policy Advisor Delivered 33rd Annual Schumann Lecture

Former CDC Policy Advisor Delivered 33rd Annual Schumann Lecture

Denise Koo, MD, MPH, formerly a policy advisor at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), delivered the Hitchcock Foundation’s 33rd Annual Schumann Lecture, “The Key Elements of Population Health: How Do We Create Healthy, Safe and Thriving Communities?” in Nashua this past November. The public lecture kicked off, “Team Up, Take Action: Improving Population Health Together,” an annual statewide event for public health officials, which was co-sponsored by Dartmouth-Hitchcock (D-H) and the New Hampshire Public Health Association.

Koo noted that “population health” is a phrase that is being used more often in health care to describe person-centered care that links members of a defined community to the resources they need to get well and stay well. She discussed the factors that influence the health of communities, including the vital role of multi-sector collaboration, and spoke of examples across the country where schools, businesses, health systems, and community organizations are working together. She also noted that several federal initiatives are underway to support partnerships aimed at improving population health, which can be found here.

“It was wonderful to have Denise share her community health expertise and the work she has done at the CDC with us,” said D-H’s Vice President of Community Health Sally Kraft, MD, MPH. “She has found ways to improve the social determinants of health and provided us with some real tools.”

In addition to holding a workshop for public health workers following her lecture, Koo met with D-H leaders and some of the preventive medicine residents. Kraft said she and Koo also discussed the community health collaborations in which D-H has been engaged in recent months, including a Community Health Needs Assessment that Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center partnered on with four northern New England hospitals.

The Schumann lecture was part of a daylong event with workshops featuring leaders from a wide range of disciplines, sharing their knowledge and skills about improving the conditions that impact our health. Cathy Morrow, MD, and D-H Primary Care Health and Wellness Coaches Andrea Z-Covey and Inger Imset led a workshop on communication skills. D-H Community Health team members Aita Romain, MPH, the Upper Valley Regional Substance Misuse Continuum of Care facilitator, and Angie LeDuc facilitated a session on reducing the stigma associated with mental health and substance use disorders, and Eileen Fernandes, Cheshire Medical Center’s Greater Monadnock Public Health Network Coordinator, shared success stories from Healthy Monadnock, a community engagement initiative designed to foster and sustain a positive culture of health throughout New Hampshire’s Cheshire County and the Monadnock region.

The event also provided a “terrific opportunity for D-H to partner with the New Hampshire Public Health Association as co-sponsors,” Kraft said, and demonstrated “a commitment to finding opportunities to work together on improving community health and health equity. That was really the power of the conference.”

The Schumann Lecture is supported by an endowment to the Hitchcock Foundation from the late Helmut Wolfgang Schumann to provide a free lecture by a nationally renowned figure on topics related to healthful living.