Practitioners Address Industry Challenges and Solutions at Inaugural Bryant Healthcare Summit

Kirsten Hokenes, Ph.D., director of the Department of Health and Behavioral Sciences at Bryant University, told an enthusiastic audience at the Bryant Healthcare Summit, “We need to foster collaboration in healthcare.” Held in the university’s Academic Innovation Center, it was the perfect setting for an event designed to help industry changers solve problems in real time.

“You are part of history,” said Dr. Rupendra Pariwal, Bryant University President and Chief Academic Officer, at the inaugural summit sponsored by Abacus Health Solutions, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island, CVS Health and Neighborhood. said in his opening remarks. Rhode Island Health Plan, Ortho Rhode Island, providence business news, and the Rhode Island Foundation.

The first keynote by David Fairchild, MD, MPH, Senior Vice President and Associate CMO of CVS Retail Health, addressed the future of healthcare delivery.

“Throughout the pandemic, we’ve learned that convenience is important for patients and providers,” said the chief medical officer of MinuteClinic, a division of CVS Health that offers retail clinic services in more than 1,100 locations in 33 states. Fairchild said. and the District of Columbia.

“Engagement leads to better health outcomes, and better outcomes reduce healthcare costs.”

Fairchild said CVS has access to primary care providers, but has yet to expand into hospitals. He sees this as an opportunity to collaborate with systems such as Southcoast Health and as a means to improve healthcare for all.

“Engagement leads to better health outcomes, and better outcomes reduce healthcare costs,” he told the audience.

Southcoast Health CEO Rayford Kruger, MD echoed Fairchild’s emphasis on convenience in healthcare during his keynote address. He also discussed provider shortages, arguing that the seeds of understaffing were planted before the pandemic. Providers often leave due to stress or lack of control.

“We’re very close to healthcare distribution,” he said, adding that higher education institutions like Bryant are helping to reduce staffing pressure through professional development and leadership programs.Bryant’s The Physician Assistant and Nurse Practitioner Leadership in Healthcare Certificate is one such option.

Kirsten Hawkness Bryant
Dr. Kirsten Hokeness at the 1st Annual Bryant Healthcare Summit on May 6th.

In the morning’s third keynote, Dr. David Ahern spoke about his work as Director of the Digital Behavioral Health and Informatics Research Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Harvard Medical School Assistant Professor of Psychology and founder/senior scientist of Abacus Health Solutions, Ahern has positioned behavioral medicine as an advanced approach to behavior change through his research on obesity and diabetes. .

We need to redefine obesity as a disease rather than a personality problem, argued Ahern. Providers also need to emphasize food as medicine. This is the approach he took in his own life with a plant-based diet.

Following the keynotes, summit attendees participated in a collaborative session aimed at healthcare led by former Rhode Island Health Commissioner Michael Fine, MD. Biopsychosocial care for chronic pain, led by Bryant Biological and Biomedical Sciences Chair Jennifer Hurrell, PT. Racial and Socioeconomic Barriers to Healthcare, Led by Rhode Island Free Clinic CEO Forrest Daniels, MPA, DsC, FACHE. The role of healthcare informatics in improving quality of care is led by Dr. Indra Neil Sarkar, Director of the Center for Biomedical Information at Brown University, MLIS and FACMI.

Attendees reconvened for lunch and two additional lectures at the Academic Innovation Center Forum. In his first afternoon keynote, Bryant’s Peter Kirk, M.D., described Jessica Pelletier DO as “a very talented and wonderful human being,” who has worked in education, food security, housing, and more.

“Our zip code determines our health more than our clinicians,” said Pelletier. Nonetheless, she added, “We are uniquely positioned as clinicians and healthcare professionals to touch the lives of our clients by treating the whole person, not just the disease.” .

“When we practice in silos, we miss the opportunity to pay attention to suffering when it’s happening.”

For the final keynote of the afternoon, Dr. Joe Tranzo, Associate Director of the Department of Health, Behavioral Sciences, and Psychology, introduced John Todaro, Ph.D., co-founder of Providence Behavior Health Associates, to address the challenges facing primary care. Emphasized the importance of behavioral health integration. Settings — Benefits both patients and providers.

“When we practice in a silo, we miss the opportunity to pay attention to suffering when it’s happening,” he told the audience.

Todaro, an advocate of integrated care and an associate clinical professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University, is also critical of service-payment model fees that are unhelpful for behavioral health.

“We need to find a way to properly fund this. It’s a million-dollar question,” he said.

Following Todaro’s presentation, attendees spread throughout the Academic Innovation Center for a more collaborative discussion on the impact of climate change on healthcare, led by Kimberly Humphrey, MD, MPH, Harvard University. I was. The current state of Rhode Island’s access to healthcare law, led by Rick McAuliffe, chairman of the Mayforth Group. Physical Therapy as a Physician, Led by Her CEO of Highbar, Michelle Collie, PT, DPT, MS. Led by Bryant PA Program Director Ashley Hughes (MSPAS, PA-C), the integration of Physician Assistants into subspecialty areas will alleviate talent shortages.

Attendees capped off the day with more collaboration over cocktails in the Bello Grand Hall.

For Bryant’s School of Health and Behavioral Sciences, visit

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