Stewart has spent decades as chief executive officer and executive director of large public mental health systems in Pennsylvania, New York and Michigan. She currently serves at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center as associate professor and chief of social and community psychiatry. She is also director of the school’s Center for Health in Justice Involved Youth.
Before going to the University of Tennessee, Stewart was the executive director of a federally funded system of care program in Memphis for children with serious emotional disorders and their families.
An experienced health care administrator and nationally recognized expert in public sector and minority issues in mental health care, Stewart also worked as executive director of the National Leadership Council on African-American Behavioral Health.
The annual Shannon Lectureship takes place each February to create awareness about health disparities. It has welcomed such distinguished national speakers as former U.S. Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders and former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Louis Sullivan, as well as noted local leaders in minority health.
The 2017 Dr. Reaner and Mr. Henry Shannon Lecture in Minority Health, given by Daphne Bascom, M.D., was filled with compelling statistics and fresh insights into the importance of community health efforts. It also reinforced an old saying: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Bascom, the senior vice president of community integrated health for the Greater Kansas City YMCA, focused her lecture, “Collaborating Across the Continuum to Create a Healthy Community,” on efforts to combat obesity.
“The connection between rising rates of obesity and rising medical spending is undeniable,” said Bascom, who spoke Feb. 24 at the School of Medicine.
But she also noted that investing just $10 per person in community efforts to reduce obesity could pay off in an estimated $16 billion in annual health care savings.
Some other bracing numbers:
— Annual obesity-related health care costs are estimated at $315.8 billion, with $14.1 billion related to childhood obesity.
— Businesses lose $4.3 billion a year to obesity-related absenteeism.
— Average health care costs are 42 percent higher for obese people.
— More than one in three U.S. adults are obese, and obesity rates are worse for black and Latino adults.
— Kansas had the 7th worst rate of adult obesity, and Missouri was tied for 10th.
Bascom, a board-certified specialist in otolaryngology and head and neck surgery, also related her own career experience with the need to “build a better bridge” for integrating community institutions with the health care system.
Case in point: Bascom’s efforts beyond surgery involved helping patients with follow up communication and recommendations for better fitness and nutrition. “Sometimes it worked,” she said. “But then there were the patients who couldn’t pay their electricity bills. … It was wearing and frustrating because there weren’t the community resources to help them.”
So Bascom, who received her medical degree at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, looked for broader ways to improve people’s health. She came to Cerner Corp. as chief medical officer, where she provided strategic consulting services on how to use health information technology to improve quality, safety, operations and the fiscal health of their organizations.
Now at the YMCA, Bascom is developing and promoting health partnerships and sustainable programs One area the Y is promoting? Reducing obesity—including working with families, improving access to affordable healthy food, providing safe places to be physically active, and curbing exposure to marketing of less nutritious foods.
Bascom, who herself struggled with her weight in grade school, said, “Obesity is a problem. It’s been a problem. It continues to be a problem. But it is something that can be solved.”
Daphne Bascom, M.D., will be the keynote speaker for the School of Medicine’s 12th annual Dr. Reaner and Mr. Henry Shannon Lecture in Minority Health at noon on Friday in Theater A. Bascom is the senior vice-president of community integrated health for the Greater Kansas City YMCA.
With more than 10 years’ experience as a physician executive, Bascom is an expert in clinical integration, performance improvement, and the design and deployment of health information technology systems.
Before joining the YMCA, she was vice president and chief medical officer for physician alignment at Cerner Corporation. There, she provided strategic consulting services to health-care executives on how to use health information technology to improve quality, safety, operations and the fiscal health of their organizations.
Bascom also served at Cerner as chief medical officer for worldwide consulting and chief medical information officer and was recognized as Healthcare Executive of the Year. Before working at Cerner, she was the chief clinical systems officer for the Cleveland Clinic Health System in Cleveland, Ohio.
She is a board-certified specialist in otolaryngology/head and neck surgery and has fellowship training in microvascular surgery of the head and neck. Dr. Bascom is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and completed her residency training at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. She earned her Ph.D. in physiological sciences at the University of Oxford Laboratory of Physiology in the United Kingdom.
A leading government official for minority health in the United States said Friday that while the country has made strides toward narrowing the gap in health equality, there is still work to be done.
As deputy assistant secretary for minority health and director of the Office of Minority Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, J. Nadine Gracia, M.D., M.S.C.E, plays a major role in the development and implementation of government programs and policies to battle health disparities in the United States.
“Our goal is not only to close the gap, but to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential of health,” said Gracia, who delivered the UMKC School of Medicine’s 11th annual Dr. Reaner and Mr. Henry Shannon Lecture in Minority Health.
Gracia offered a brief overview of her office and how it looks at the disparities in health and health care in the country. She called this year a landmark for the office, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary of working to improve the health of racial and ethnic minorities.
She outlined many of the factors, from changing demographics to the various economic barriers, which play into the health discrepancies still seen in today’s population.
“All of these factors make the mission and the role of the Office of Minority Health more urgent now than ever before,” Gracia said.
A pediatrician with a focus in epidemiology, Gracia received her medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh where she was a student of current UMKC School of Medicine Dean Steven Kanter, M.D., and his wife, Leslie Borsett-Kanter, M.D. Gracia established herself as a leader on a national level while in medical school. With Kanter’s urging and support, Gracia rose to the position of president of the Student National Medical Association. She is a national president emeritus of the organization is also a past postgraduate physician trustee of the National Medical Association.
She has since served as the chief medical officer for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, providing program and policy leadership for a number of initiatives from global health to climate change. Gracia also served as a White House fellow and policy advisor to First Lady Michelle Obama on a program to battle childhood obesity. She has been named one of the 100 History Makers in the Making by the African-American news site, TheGrio, and one of Washington’s Powerful Women by the BET channel.
Gracia said that under the current presidential administration, health-care priorities such as the Affordable Care Act and My Brother’s Keeper, a task force designed to ensure all youths have the opportunity to reach their full potential, have been implemented to keep Americans healthy and safe, boost scientific research and medical innovations, and to expand and strengthen the health care system.
She also recognized the work taking place on local levels. Gracia applauded the efforts of physicians and researchers at the School of Medicine and throughout UMKC in addressing the issue of health equality in the Kansas City community.
“The work you are doing, reaching out to the community and providing opportunities is one that is of great need,” Gracia said. “We ask that we continue to work together in this dramatic year in which we are talking about accelerating health equity for the nation, not just continuing our efforts but truly accelerating our progress so we can reach that goal of reaching the full potential for health.”