By Teri Willard, Administrative Coordinator, Field Building and Resources
Trust, trauma, healing — three words at the forefront of our minds not only as health and social care organizations but as people of a nation. Over the past two years, amidst a pandemic and a renewed call for racial justice, we have seen an acceleration of many of the issues already facing individuals living in marginalized communities: unemployment, isolation, fragmentation of services, and racial health disparities. For individuals with complex health and social needs who faced these issues on a daily basis before the pandemic, the past 18 months have been particularly damaging.
“Trust is an essential ingredient for positive social relations and cooperation,” says Mark Humowiecki, Senior Director at the National Center for Complex Health and Social Needs. “The lack of trust that many feel in major institutions — whether government, healthcare, or the media — made this pandemic far worse than it needed to be. Moreover, the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on communities of color and low-income people further eroded trust and exposed deep historical injustices and inequities.”
With this in mind, we decided to focus conversations at Putting Care at the Center 2021, our annual conference on complex care, on the issues of Trust, trauma, and healing in our communities. We hope that at this year’s conference, all of our colleagues across a multitude of organizations can collaborate on ways to address, and potentially answer, the questions above. We look forward to digging into this important work with others seeking change.
“Stakeholders throughout our systems, including federal agencies, foundations, payers, and delivery organizations, are increasingly committed to advancing equity, combating racism, and strengthening our safety net,’” says Carter Wilson, Associate Director at the National Center.
Like last year’s conference, Putting Care at the Center 2021 will be held virtually. The event will take place over three half-days on October 20-22, and the agenda includes many engaging and innovative speakers from across the country.
We are thrilled to welcome two keynote speakers this year: Daniel Dawes, Executive Director of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of
Medicine and author of “The Political Determinants of Health,” and disability rights scholar and activist, Dr. Angel Miles. Three plenary panels will explore the different facets of trust in complex care: between patients and providers, between sectors in a complex care ecosystem, and trust in our systems as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This year’s conference will be more familiar to those who have attended our in person conferences,” says Mark. “Based on last year’s attendees’ desire for more content, we have added a third day and three workshop slots. We are creating lots of opportunities to network and talk with fellow attendees.”
These workshop sessions and interactive Beehive presentations will cover a vast range of topics from complex care programs and partnerships across the country, and will give attendees an opportunity to learn from and share ideas with peers and leaders in the field.
“Trust, trauma, and healing in our communities is about the relationship between tragedy and opportunity — grief and hope. Complex care is currently experiencing both of these polarities,” says Carter. “This is the moment where we can meaningfully impact our systems and improve care for all.”