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Posted by: | Posted on: June 18, 2024

3 Outstanding and Inspiring Plenary Sessions from the Accelerating Health Equity Conference

This year’s annual Accelerating Health Equity Conference was held in Kansas City, Missouri on May 7-9. This conference combines plenary sessions, breakout sessions, community field trips, vendor booths, and cocktail hours for socializing and networking.

This year’s conference was attended by over 1,000 like-minded individuals in, and adjacent to, the health care industry all working toward the same goal of bringing the highest level of widespread health equity to their communities. The CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, www.cms.gov) defines health equity as “the attainment of the highest level of health for all people, where everyone has a fair and just opportunity to attain their optimal health regardless of race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, geography, preferred language, or other factors”.

The goal and focus of the Accelerating Health Equity Conference is to educate professionals on the importance of health equity, build partnerships and bridges between the community and healthcare providers, and develop strategies to accomplish this. Each of the three days featured thought-provoking and inspiring plenary sessions.

Tuesday’s session was the opening keynote speaker Clint Smith, poet and author of #1 New York Times Bestseller How the Word Is Passed. In this session, Mr. Smith shared his personal experiences of visiting three places with significant historical importance related to slavery: Monticello, Blandford Confederate Cemetery, and Angola Prison.

Monticello is Thomas Jefferson’s plantation where he owned slaves who included his own children. Mr. Smith recalled a fellow tour attendee who at the end said, “They really took the shine off the guy!”

At the Blandford Confederate Cemetery, Mr. Smith met a man named “Jeff” who was sitting in a gazebo with his granddaughters, singing old confederate songs and explaining to his little ones how the Confederacy was about culture – not slavery. Jeff told Mr. Smith how he used to do the same with his grandfather, who had also passed down to Jeff that it was about culture, not slavery. This ignited a personal and internal dilemma for Mr. Smith between having to choose righting what is now five generations of passed down misinformation and the possibility of destroying Jeff’s image of his grandfather.

Angola Prison, which is built where one of the largest slavery plantations once stood, sells merchandise in the gift shop that reads “Angola Prison: A Gated Community”. Mr. Smith discusses parallels between a life in slavery and prison life. For more information on Clint Smith, visit https://www.clintsmithiii.com/.

Wednesday’s plenary session featured an incredible performance by the Pillsbury House Theater entitled “Breaking Ice.” This award-winning performance piece featured 6 actors varying in gender, age, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation. Each of the performers demonstrated how their individual characteristics presented challenges for themselves in relating to and communicating with others, and vice versa. Each of the Pillsbury House Theater players gave charismatic and knock-out performances. For more information visit https://pillsburyhouseandtheatre.org/breaking-ice/.

Thursday’s closing plenary session featured a conversation with Ashton Applewhite, author of This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism. In her session, Ms. Applewhite discusses both how those presently and actively aging can do so with grace and pride, as well as how the “future old” can improve relationship-building with the aging via change in attitude and ending discrimination. Ms. Applewhite also discussed how ageism very often overlaps and piles on to additional discriminations including, but not limited to, sexism and racism. For more information, visit https://thischairrocks.com/.

Lyon Software is a proud annual sponsor of the Accelerating Health Equity Conference, and we look forward to seeing you next year in Atlanta, Georgia on May 20-22.

Posted by: | Posted on: March 23, 2023

4 Simple Strategies to a Sustainable Spring

It’s a cold Thursday morning here in Northwest Ohio. As I write this, the snow is coming down and we had a winter weather advisory last night. (Thankfully, we didn’t get as much as predicted…we rarely do!) While it’s technically spring now, you wouldn’t know it by the temperatures until early to mid-April around here. But that doesn’t stop us from preparing for the warmer weather and attempting to break free from our cabin fever.

As the weather breaks and you begin to get out and about more, it’s a great time to think about how you can personally live with the intention to be more environmentally conscious this year. Below are a few examples of changes you might consider.

Take Fewer Road Trips

We’re very fortunate at Lyon Software that because of the nature of our work, we’ve been able to remain a work-from-home company since 2020. Because of this, we’ve been able to significantly reduce the amount of pollution we’re putting out through our vehicles. It’s also helped us to cut out a lot of unnecessary spending.

Not everyone has this opportunity to work from home though, and I get that. Especially our amazing clients in the healthcare field who are at their hospitals every day caring for their communities. While you may not be able to work from home, you can reduce some of your drive time.

One practice I have done for years (well before the pandemic) is to batch my trips. If I have to be on the far end of town for an appointment, I’ll make sure to make additional stops with it. Even if it means waiting a week or two. No sense in driving across town twice!

Mow Less

Last year in my neighborhood, there was a house that didn’t cut their grass for the entire month of May. They called it “No Mowing May”. They even had a sign in their yard that they were observing this to allow bees to pollinate the flowers. As you can imagine at the height of growing season, their lawn was a disaster from an appearance perspective. It was refreshing to see someone who wasn’t worried about what others thought about that.

This was their way of encouraging positive growth in the animal kingdom. Maybe you’re like me, and aren’t ready to commit at that level. That’s OK. Instead of skipping for a month, we can commit to one mow per week from April to July, then shift to once every other week from August to November.

Donate Your Old Clothes

One popular springtime activity that you may be doing soon is going through your closet and updating your wardrobe. Whatever clothing is still usable, make sure you donate it instead of throwing it away. Whether you’re taking it to Goodwill, Salvation Army, or giving it to a friend, giving your clothes a second life is always a great, environmentally conscious idea.

Set Up an eBay Account

I’ve written about this before, but selling on eBay is a great way to live sustainably by giving your items a second home. It’s also a great way to boost the economy, since you’re earning extra coin and spending with a shipping service. You’re also keeping old items out of the landfill.

If you’ve never done this, you would be amazed at what will sell on Ebay or Facebook Marketplace. When I first started at Lyon Software, we had 15 old multi-line phones sitting in a cabinet that could have easily been thrown away. I offered to sell them on eBay. A week later, I shipped them off to their new owner after receiving a bid of $287.

What Will You Do?

This is a fairly surface level overview of a few simple ideas for living a more environmentally conscious lifestyle this year. I hope this gives you some motivation to participate. I’d love to hear what else you would add.

Please leave a comment letting all of our readers know what you plan to do to be more sustainable this spring. I look forward to reading about it!

Posted by: | Posted on: August 13, 2018

Wind Farms: A Win-Win for Energy and Population Health

August 5-11, 2018 was the second annual American Wind Week, a week celebrating the United States leadership in creating this low cost and reliable form of energy.

Wind-FarmsI remember the first time I came across a wind farm.  I was driving from one client site in Indianapolis to a second client in northwest Indiana.  As many of you know, the Midwest is flat!  You can literally see for miles and miles.  However, the road I was traveling was “long and winding” and as I turned a corner the wind farm came into view.  There’s something very majestic, awe inspiring, and a little futuristic the first time you see a wind farm.  I quickly turned off the radio, unrolled my car windows and slowed down to see if I could hear the sleek blades cutting through the air.  The quiet that filled my car was unexpected and amazing.  How could so many wind turbines be so quiet?  It’s an experience I will never forget.

According to the American Wind Energy Association U.S. wind farms are some of the most productive in the world and employ over 105,000 workers dedicated to bringing this clean, cost efficient energy source to homes and businesses throughout our country.  And another fact near and dear to my heart, “using wind energy created $8 billion in public health savings during 2017 alone, by avoiding air pollution that creates smog and triggers asthma attacks.”  So these wind farms are creating energy and improving population health!  Sounds like a “win win” situation to me.

Seeing the wind farm also brought me back to my senior year in high school and my Spanish class project, telling the tale of Don Quixote and tilting at windmills….but that’s a different blog for another day.

To read more about the American Wind Energy Association and American Wind Week, click here.

Posted by: | Posted on: December 8, 2016

A Friend to Flint

I’ve been a sports fan my entire life. Having grown up about an hour from Detroit, Michigan, I have been a loyal Detroit Pistons fan for years. I still remember standing at the games and yelling “Sheeeeeeeeeed” when Rasheed Wallace would block a shot or hit his famous fade-away post shot. As I have grown up and gotten a little more into “real life” social issues I have another reason to stand and yell “Sheeeeeeeeed”.

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