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Conference addresses regional healthcare

(Left to right) Dr. Rishi Manchanda, Dr. Cathy Basse and Dr. Brian Castrucci answer questions about regional health. Vanguard Photo | Brooke Elward

SVSU students and faculty learned about the future of health care during SVSU’s 11th annual Regional Healthcare Conference. During the Jan. 24 conference, social work professor Chris Fike attended the conference because social work students now have placements in the healthcare community.

“… The changes and adjustments of the rural community are important for our students to understand and learn,” he said. “(The conference) provides background for our students to work with.”

The first speaker of the event was Dr. Rishi Manchanda, the president and CEO of Health Begins.

“One of the means by which we can achieve better outcomes for patients as well as help enable and support broader structural and community level approaches to propel is to address social problems,” he said.

Throughout the presentation, he shared personal lessons he learned in his time as a physician.

He went on to explain various cases he had seen where he wasable to prescribe medications to relieve symptoms. He always felt that there was more he could do for his patients, he said.

“I knew that there was a better way possible – it wasn’t just this,” Manchanda said. “Usually, new things come out of frustration. I’ve been looking for several years for a professional home, for a place where I could meet like-minded individuals, both those who were clinicians and those who are community, as well as a place for people to kind of find a way to break bread.”

The goal of his work was to reduce health care utilization and cost.

Next up was Dr. Brian Castrucci, the president and CEO of the Beaumont Foundation. Like Manchanda, Castrucci’s work focuses on the improvement of the public healthcare system.

His article “Meeting Individual Social Needs Falls Short of Addressing Social Determinants of Health” was the second most-read health affairs blog posts of 2019.

Castrucci has also led projects such as CityHealth, the BUILD Health Challenge and the Public Health Workforce Interests and Needs Survey.

By bringing more light to the needs of patients, Manchanda said physicians are continuously improving social drivers of health and equality at all levels. This includes meeting individual social needs and networks, community-level social determinants and broader structural determinants of health.

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