2024 BDHEA Summit Brief Recap

The Black Directors Health Equity Agenda’s  2024 National Summit “Health Equity Now: Charting our Course”  in Washington, DC marked a great achievement, setting a precedent for collaborative efforts in addressing health disparities.  This meeting convened experts and stakeholders from diverse healthcare  sectors poised to create impactful initiatives for  a powerful year of action.  Our group surpassed 200 attendees, with robust participation and a heightened readiness to develop transformative solutions addressing pressing health equity challenges.

This year’s program kicked off with an Inaugural Student Program and Luncheon at Howard University with Medical School and other students with a healthcare focus.  This session examined interdisciplinary connections in careers that can advance health equity. Importantly, it provided time for mentoring sessions between industry leaders and students for networking and interactive learning in addition to presentations.  As an expression of support for medical studies,  Johnson & Johnson and BDHEA contributed ten prints from Illustrate Change — a collection dedicated to enhancing the representation of Black individuals in medical illustrations, to the Medical School. (illustratechange.com)

The official program started with a thought-provoking  call to conference between Advocate Health Board Chair Michele Baker Richardson (BDHEA Board and Founding Member)  and CEO Eugene A. Woods for insight into how directors and C-suite leaders collaborate.  The sessions that followed covered, diverse representation, widening gaps in the social safety net, the role of Artificial Intelligence in health equity, political headwinds, the importance of community health workers, ESG programs and more over the packed days.

Highlights include a powerhouse panel of healthcare leaders Gregory Adams, Chair and Chief Executive Officer, Kaiser Permanente; Dr. Hugh Mighty, MD Senior Vice President of Health Affairs, Howard University; Dr. Richard Besser,  President/CEO, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; moderated by Bill Holiber (Vice Chairman and President, U.S. News & World Report).  These thought leaders on health equity  energized the room of Directors by sharing their personal narratives, challenges, and  visions  for their health system’s role in transforming healthcare by addressing healthcare gaps,  policy reform, affordable housing, and other obstacles.  

The luncheon panel, led by Shelina Ramnarine, PhD, Director Our Race to Health Equity Community Engagement, Johnson & Johnson  focused on the vital role of community health workers in addressing unmet needs through their outreach, and the need for expanded deployment.

A popular afternoon session, moderated by Blair Hirst, Founder, Digital Health Review focused on the fact that  Artificial Intelligence (AI) is increasingly recognized for its potential to enhance healthcare delivery.  Our session on AI’s role in improving health, delivering value, and promoting social justice generated a dynamic and engaging conversation.

Another moving session included a panel on Change Management in Healthcare Transformation, moderated by Melvin Mezue, M.D. PhD.,  Partner, McKinsey, with Cheryl Pegus, M.D., M.P.H, Morgan Health Ventures and Wright Lassiter III, CEO, CommonSpirit Health.  These leaders highlighted critical strategies for addressing health disparities within the Black community by recognizing the importance of cultural values and fostering stronger connections between healthcare institutions and the communities they serve.  

This year’s meeting introduced a leadership transition from John W. Daniels to Caretha Coleman as BDHEA Chair with Michael Robinson as Vice-Chair.  Ms. Coleman ended the session with a powerful call to action for attendees to use our collective voices as directors and leaders in healthcare and beyond to change outcomes in the Black community.

Summit highlights and select sessions are available on the website. All sessions are available for members on the web and member sites.