The Hofstra Health Advocate

Former New York State Senator Kemp Hannon on Hofstra’s State of H.O.P.E Event Series

With shifting demographics, convergence of health systems, and a drive toward telemedicine and home care, there are many factors reshaping healthcare. Hofstra University and it’s School of Health Professions and Human Services (HPHS) has announced a new series called the State of H.O.P.E. – bringing together leaders in healthcare to speak about important, current, and emerging topics.  Kemp Hannon, former New York State Senator, spoke with HPHS on the State of H.O.P.E. and what this series means to the community.

What inspired this series of panel discussions the State of H.O.P.E? 

The thought of the State of H.O.P.E. was to bring together the various stakeholders that make up the healthcare policy healthcare system these days. Obviously, it’s on everybody’s mind because we have so much debate as to where we should go. And frankly, people aren’t satisfied with the current state of the healthcare system. But once you get beyond, “we’re not too happy about it” and into “what should we do about it?” there is such a diversity of opinions that we really want to address. We want to bring together the various schools and expertise that we have here at Hofstra so that people can have a voice. People in the greater Hofstra community, or from Riverhead to Manhattan, can participate and add their voices. 

H.O.P.E. is an acronym that stands for healthcare, opportunity and policy exchange. How are these working together? 

They’re all working together. There are so many things that we can address whether it’s the current practice of medicine, such as what we’re training people to do at the medical school. Or it’s improving education as we’re doing through advanced nursing. Those are more related to training people to go out in practice healthcare. What we’re also trying to do is say, look, this is an academic center. There’s a need for an academic discussion as to how do we address the many different parts of health care. What are the components? How do we look at healthcare for all? How do we look at social determinants of healthcare? We now recognise it’s not just administering a procedure. It’s not just administering a drug. It’s setting the stage for how is somebody going to really get well. 

The topic of our first State of H.O.P.E. is social determinants of health. Tell us a little bit about what we mean by that and what the impact of that is? 

Social determinants is a very wide ranging topic. For instance, people will talk about how we need better housing and to look at the homeless populations around the nation. But if you’re looking at what we’re going to do for healthcare, we almost have, in a sense, one model in the private sector that we might adopt. Many times when people go to a healthcare facility they’re not going to stay overnight, but they have to come back soon. And if they don’t have a residence very close to it, what are they going to do for housing in that situation? 

Another example that is much more systematic, and it’s right here in Nassau and Suffolk, not just some distant city, is a need for food. 

Dr. Raju from Northwell, one of our speakers for the inaugural State of H.O.P.E. event,  has talked about access to nutritious foods as a social determinant of health. As an example, there are food deserts in neighborhoods where you can’t get good, wholesome food. And you can’t even get medium-wholesome food. 

So the point would be, what can we do to identify the people who are going to need help with food? What can we do to improve that system of delivery? What can we do to change the accessibility? 

And in that way we not only deal with short term health needs, but more systematically with their overall health needs. If we can change food deserts so that people will come in the commercial sector to provide good, healthy food, we might impact what is now refferd to as population health. 

For our first event, we have speakers representing organizations like Northwell Health, Catholic Health Services of Long Island, and  the Long Island Federally Qualified Health Centers through NuHealth. What does it mean to have representatives from these three major regional organizations participate in an event focused on having a forum around social determinants?  

Well, it means that these local healthcare delivery systems, which are not small in any sense of the word, are participating in the cutting edge of healthcare in the United States. And the idea of the forum is about sharing what we, meaning these major regional health systems, are doing so we can export these ideas and practices to other parts of our state, region, and the nation.

The State of H.O.P.E has a built-in acronym. H.O.P.E. stands for Health Care Opportunities and Policy Exchange. That acronym is very much something that we wanted to have part of our title. Do you think that the work that is going to be done for this event series will influence and inspire hope in local healthcare providers?

I think we can open up opportunities for people both in the sense of letting them know what’s available and second, letting them know how they can participate through the Catholic Health System, the Northwell Health System, NuHealth, and through Hofstra University. 

Can we move the needle as to what the definitions are of the scope of practice so that we’ll be able to provide care for everybody that needs it? I think that’s what we want to do. And we want to do it on an intellectual basis, just while it’s necessary to deliver it through the body politic. You’re not going to get the body politic to do the type of examination, the evidence-based discussion that you need to move the needle. 

Who should attend the State of H.O.P.E series? 

Current practitioners would certainly be interested. This event is open to the public and we invite all who have an invested interest in healthcare in the United States to attend. Of course we hope that our audience will be a diverse make-up of clinicians, practitioners, educators, students, and community members. All are welcome.

Interested in joining us for the State of H.O.P.E series?
Visit hofstra.edu/stateofhope


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