Dr. Michael Forster

2nd Health Summit zeroes in on wellness promotion

Friday’s second annual Mississippi Health Summit – produced and hosted by the College of Health – went off exceptionally well, with great attendance, solid presentations, and lively discussion throughout the day.  As with last year’s inaugural Summit, we look forward to lots of follow-up and further developments.

The event coincidentally fell on the day after the Supreme Court decision affirming the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare” to those unhappy with the Act), so naturally the decision was the buzz of the meeting.  Certainly it was the hot topic all the media present wanted to focus on, to a fault.

One thing is clear – the battle over health care reform, especially that thorny issue of how to pay for the long-run costs, is far from over.  Despite the continuing controversy, though, I suspect that everyone – at least everyone attending the Summit – could agree and support one important thrust of PPACA, and that’s the push to transform the system to one focused on “wellcare” rather than “sickcare.”  The Summit theme was precisely that of identifying “what works” in disease prevention and wellness prevention, and plotting a course for doing more of it.

This seems to me what everyone concerned about Mississippi’s health should indeed commit to.  True health care reform is not, fundamentally, about who gets covered by what insurance, or who pays for what, but about a radical re-visioning of health care itself – clearly and explicitly prioritizing prevention of disease and keeping people healthy in the first place. 

It’s more important than ever that everyone in all the health-related fields work together to advance the focus on prevention and wellness, and to do so based on evidence – the evidence of basic science, of applied science, and of practical experience, concerning “what works.”  Nothing is more important to this state and this nation – to our human capital development, to economic development, to our quality of life and our security – taken together, our common welfare and our common future.

Dr. Michael Forster
Dr. Michael Forster

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