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  NOVEMBER 20, 2009
Loma Linda SPH Hosts Southern California Health Care Summit

Blumenthal at summitWith health care reform a daily topic in the news, more than 900 people took time on October 29, 2009 to attend the Southern California Health Care Summit (formerly known as the American Health Care Congress), put on by the Loma Linda University School of Public Health in partnership with Health Care Executives of Southern California. Given the current spirit of reform, the summit had a different atmosphere this time as compared to years past, according to event chair Dr. Dora Barilla, assistant professor at the School of Public Health.

“There was a sense of excitement and the feeling that the small steps that we have made among the many disciplines of health and health care were finally coming together,” Dr. Barilla said. “You could tell that there was a wave of change coming to the world of health care and that we were on the forefront of it.”

Headlining the event with the morning keynote address was Dr. David Blumenthal, the choice of President Obama as the country’s national coordinator for health information technology at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Dr. Blumenthal made the point that real change will occur locally, where people actually get their health care. He believes it is necessary for coalitions from the health and health care industries to work for changes—coalitions that develop from events such as the Southern California Health Care Summit.

Mr. John Bardis, founder and chairman of MedAssets, delivered the afternoon keynote address, and the audience also heard from about 20 other speakers on topics ranging from public-private partnerships fighting chronic disease to the next five years of health information technology.

“I think the audience took away from this year’s event the sense of urgency to fixing our nation’s health care challenges and that Loma Linda University sits squarely at the center of bringing diverse experts together to meet those challenges,” Dr. Barilla said.

The School of Public Health founded this summit in 2004, making this year’s event the sixth annual. The event grew considerably from past years, bringing dramatic increases in attendance, sponsorship, and exposure. About 300 people attended in 2007 and 200 in 2008, compared to close to 1,000 this year.

In addition to Health Care Executives of California, the School of Public Health brought about this year’s summit with the following partners: Alliance to Make U.S. Healthiest, the California Hospital Association, the California Medical Association, Hospital Association of San Diego and Imperial Counties, Hospital Association of Southern California and the National Health Foundation. The event was sponsored by 37 other companies including Microsoft and Kaiser Permanente.

The summit was produced by TMG Communications, Inc.

[Photo : Dr. David Blumenthal delivers the morning keynote address. He is national coordinator for health information technology at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.]