New-York News

How the 2023 Whole Health Heroes are taking an integrated approach to wellbeing


On November 28, Crain’s Content Studio and Empire BlueCross BlueShield continued their tradition of jointly celebrating a cohort of New Yorkers selected for their leadership and innovation.

The Empire Whole Health Heroes luncheon was held at Manhattan Penthouse, an event as well-attended as it was reflective of the city’s wide and deep pool of talent.

In his opening remarks, Fred Gabriel, publisher and executive editor of Crain’s New York Business, pointed to the honorees’ diverse professional backgrounds.

“Our 25 Whole Health Heroes run the gamut from medical research to services for the vulnerable,” he said. “But they’re united by their commitment to a healthier New York.”

And they approach their work from a particular standpoint. “You’ll notice a theme throughout today’s presenters,” said Victor DeStefano, president of Empire BlueCross BlueShield, in his comments. “We’ve chosen to honor not only people who are caring for New Yorkers’ physical health, but also those providing for their mental, behavioral, and social wellbeing.”

Indeed, that theme recurred throughout the event—perhaps most obviously in the keynote address delivered by Kristin Gill, a physician who serves as behavioral health medical director for Empire BlueCross BlueShield.

Gill began by sharing an anecdote that was a “vivid illustration of the intertwined nature of physical health, mental wellbeing, and social determinants of health.”

In the depths of the pandemic, she served as director of a 100-bed inpatient psychiatry service unit at a New York City public hospital. One patient under her supervision was battling schizophrenia, struggled with vascular insufficiency, and had an acute case of Covid-19.

One evening, this patient experienced unexplained bleeding and had very low hemoglobin levels. It was clear that urgent surgical intervention was required—but the patient refused surgery.

“Only by involving an interdisciplinary team—nursing professionals, social workers, art therapists, surgeons—were we able to persuade him to undergo the procedure,” Gill shared. “We realized that his initial refusal came from a tangled web of behavioral health and social factors. Only by addressing those factors and respecting his autonomy were we able to help him.”

The takeaway? To truly treat a patient is to address every node of their wellbeing.

“No longer do we view physical and mental health as separate domains,” said Gill. “And no longer do we ignore the environments where people live, work, play, eat, and worship. Whole health includes all aspects of a life—including family systems, intergenerational trauma, and cultural milieus.”

Following a lunch break, Gabriel introduced Chris Miceli, director of small group and PEO at Empire BlueCross BlueShield, to moderate a panel discussion with three of the Whole Health Heroes.

“We’re really excited to go a little deeper into your experiences,” Miceli began. “No doubt you’ll have fantastic insights to share.”

And so they did. Lisa David, president and CEO of Public Health Solutions, spoke passionately about the maternal mortality crisis facing many women, especially those of color.

“The U.S. is doing more poorly on this front than any other wealthy nation,” she said. (Per the CDC, the maternal mortality rate in 2021 was 32.9 deaths for every 100,000 live births, up from 20.1 in 2019.)

“It’s multifactorial,” said David. “There are disparities in access to resources, in social experiences, in the history of abuse among minorities.”

To her mind, the solution must be a holistic one addressing pregnancy, childbirth, and early childhood.

“We need a comprehensive approach to caring for the physical, mental, and social wellbeing of women and their babies,” David said. “Businesses need to look hard at the benefits and support they’re providing to families during that crucial early period.”

Panelist Debbian Fletcher-Blake, president and CEO of VIP Community Services, Inc., focused on the prevalence of mental health challenges.

“Covid exposed the amount of mental illness in our communities,” she said. “It was a matter of revealing what was always there. For too long, those struggling with mental health issues or substance use disorders hid them for fear of being stigmatized.”

Addressing the business leaders in the room, she said, “You need to talk about this. We need to train our managers not only to recognize mental health struggles, but also to provide meaningful support and eradicate any associated shame.”

Similarly, Sidney Hankerson, a physician serving as associate professor and vice chair of community engagement in the department of psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, outlined three things businesses should be doing to support their employees’ mental health—the lack of which, he noted, translates into more absenteeism and reduced focus.

“We need to make sure the insurance we offer provides sufficient mental health coverage,” he said. “We must infuse mental health into our organizations by creating spaces for people to talk frankly about these topics. And we need to make good on pledges we’ve made to support our communities.”

The event culminated in the distribution of awards to each of the Whole Health Heroes.



, 2023-12-11 13:33:03

Source link

Related posts

US judge dismisses Disney's lawsuit accusing DeSantis of retaliation

New-York

A Very Big Change Is Coming to Social Security in 2024 — and It Will Impact You Even if You Aren't Getting Benefits

New-York

Gary man charged after child, 5, finds and shoots himself with loaded gun

New-York

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy

How the 2023 Whole Health Heroes are taking an integrated approach to wellbeing - How the 2023 Whole Health Heroes are taking an integrated approach to wellbeing * How the 2023 Whole Health Heroes are taking an integrated approach to wellbeing | How the 2023 Whole Health Heroes are taking an integrated approach to wellbeing | How the 2023 Whole Health Heroes are taking an integrated approach to wellbeing | How the 2023 Whole Health Heroes are taking an integrated approach to wellbeing | | How the 2023 Whole Health Heroes are taking an integrated approach to wellbeing | | How the 2023 Whole Health Heroes are taking an integrated approach to wellbeing | How the 2023 Whole Health Heroes are taking an integrated approach to wellbeing