Changing the Narrative on Health Equity

Thursday, October 26, 2023 • 10:30am – 4:00pm ET


The 2023 annual meeting of the National Forum for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention will focus on how to broaden support for policies, programs, and environmental changes that improve health and health equity. 

  • Diverse Panels will discuss how we change the narrative on health equity:
    • Vital Conditions for Well-Being
    • Reframing Prevention and Public Health
    • Reducing the Mental Health Crisis and the Leading Cause of Death Together
  • Taking Action, will offer the opportunity for attendees to contribute to the discussion.
  • Member Updates
  • National Forum Annual Business Meeting and presentation of National Forum Awards
Panel 1: Vital Conditions for Well-Being

This session will articulate the case for investments and policies that lead to well-being for people throughout society. By focusing on the Vital Conditions, we can see how individuals’ needs form an interconnected web that influences how people and places thrive collectively. When a vital condition goes unfulfilled, it can compound other existing conditions, including outcomes in individual health and well-being.

The Federal Plan for Equitable Long-Term Recovery and Resilience (Federal Plan for ELTRR) leverages the Vital Conditions for Health and Well-Being (Vital Conditions). The Vital Conditions identify the factors people depend on to reach their full potential, organized into seven categories:

  • Meaningful work and wealth
  • Reliable transportation
  • Lifelong learning
  • Belonging and civic muscle
  • Humane housing
  • Basic needs for health and safety
  • A thriving natural world

Identifying the Vital Conditions was an intentional shift to organize resources to address the needs for long-term recovery and enhancing resilience. It is an actionable approach to improving Social Determinants of Health and addressing inequities. The framework fosters a principle that places the needs of communities at the center of policies, programs, and resource allocation. The framework identifies levers for community change and improvement and shows how the needs of individuals and communities define systemic approaches to foster well-being. It defines the interplay of one’s life circumstances, choices, and resilience — and that of their community.

We know that social determinants of health — or the conditions and environments where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age — are not equally weighted and are not equitably supportive of greater resilience.

  1. What are the Vital Conditions for Health and Well-Being?
  2. How does equitable access to the Vital Conditions improve well-being for all?
  3. How do we get more people to be part of the solution and believe in the purpose?
Panel 2: Reframing Prevention and Public Health

“Indiana offers lessons for public health advocates,” POLITICO reported when the state boosted public health funding by 1,500 percent.” How did Governor Eric J. Holcomb and public health advocates gain buy-in for the resources and empowerment of local public health in Indiana’s conservative legislature? What lessons from their success can be applied to boost support for prevention and public health in other conservative and GOP-dominated states?

Gov. Holcomb and Kristina Box, former state Health Commissioner, will tell how they built diverse support for public health.  They will join former U.S. Surgeon General and Indiana Health Commissioner Jerome Adams in sharing insights into relating prevention and public health to the priorities of people across the political spectrum. This session will address framing, language, and sharing of success stories.

  1. How did Gov. Holcomb and advocates expand support for prevention and public health in a conservative state??
  2. How was the narrative framed to align with Hoosiers’ priorities and values?
  3. How does community health affect economic prosperity?
Panel 3: Reducing the Mental Health Crisis and the Leading Cause of Death Together

Common mental health disorders are linked to a higher risk of heart attack and stroke. As a result, experts in cardiac psychiatry – who focus on treating mental health issues in people with existing cardiac diseases – suspect the head-heart connection is bidirectional, with poor mental health potentially worsening heart health, and heart health conditions upping chances of mental health issues. This session will address the mental health and the cardiovascular health connection and how we could simultaneously improve mental health and cardiometabolic health.

  1. Are people with depression and anxiety more prone to cardiovascular disease?
  2. What healthcare changes could improve both cardiovascular health and mental health?
  3. What upstream interventions prevent anxiety, depression, and cardiometabolic disease?
  4. How can we sound the call to action to reduce the U.S. mental health crisis and the leading cause of death (cardiovascular disease) together?

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