Monday, April 4, 2011

HealthCampCT@Yale: HealthCamp goes to the Ivy Leagues

On April 2. 2011 the future of healthcare descended upon the Yale School of Nursing in New Haven, CT. In the form of an un-conference called HealthCampCT@Yale, forty healthcare visionaries, technologists, academics, patients and providers came together to explore challenges, successes and failures of our current healthcare system in an open-sourced, collaborative environment. Hosted by the venerable Yale School of Nursing, a world leader in Nursing education and healthcare leadership, and produced by the HealthCamp Foundation, HealthCampCT@Yale was the very first HealthCamp held in CT and a wonderful start it was! Months of planning and logistics culminated in an event that was world-class in its attendees, presenters, audience and participation. One measure of its success was the reach of the event on the internet and through social media. A "TweetReach" report of the event showed that they reached over 85,000 people with nearly 1.1 MILLION internet "impressions" in a single day!! This is a remarkable amount of impact from a inaugural event and bodes well for the future of HealthCamps in Connecticut. This was accomplished in spite of traditional media outlets such as the New Haven Register and WTNH television providing no coverage of the event (despite repeated requests :-(. The success of events, such as this one, despite the lack of traditional media involvement is a net positive for social media, Connecticut's citizenry and for grassroots initiatives world-wide and clearly demonstrates that their is a new way to share information that doesn't require approval, ad revenue or corporate censorship. WooHoo!

The local organizing team consisted of forward thinking Yale School of Nursing (YSN)Faculty members Judy Kunich and Margaret Moss, incredible leadership by Veronica Goode from YSN Dean Margaret Grey's office, and Yale Alumni Joseph Cerro and Matthew Browning. This team was augmented by the founders of the HealthCamp Foundation Mark Scrimshire and Maumi JC Chatterton. Further invaluable support was provided by YSN's Frank Grosso, Steve Varley, John Powers, Adam Humme and Neal Greene. After several meetings, piles of paper and complex coordination, the framework for bringing HealthCamp to the Ivy League was completed. With YSN now hosting the event at their facility, we were free to find sponsors for the event. Sponsors included Independent Software, Global Entertainment & Media, The Donaghue Foundation, Health 2.0, The Yale Rudd Center, FairCareMD, Family Medicine Rocks, and even support from RWJF and The Future of Nursing. This was augmented with support from many "Friends of HealthCamp" and my company, No conference can run without food and our incredible, healthy catering was provided by Jenelle's of New Haven.

Finally, April 2nd arrived and HealthCampers began to arrive at YSN as early as 7 a.m. to begin the set-up of the topic board, the food and the all important coffee. With the help of our AWESOME volunteers Phoebe Browning, Christopher Adams, Ann Marie Adams and others, we made quick work of it and settled into our breakfast and networking. Soon, Mark issued a call for topics and attendees wrote their ideas and interests on index cards which were then added to the schedule board for the day. Rooms and time slots quickly filled up and we even added a lunchtime walking tour of the neighborhood's revitalization, tree-planting, organic gardening and urban farm. The completed schedule can be found here- HealthCampCT Schedule

The sessions were lively and engaging, the presentees and attendees collaborated and sparred on different ideas, possibilities and solutions to complex healthcare challenges and issues. At times consensus was reached, agreements achieved and solutions created and at other times disagreements were aired, parochial paradigms deconstructed and agreements to agree to disagree were the outcome. Overall many important ideas were shared and explored, many new friends were made and many possibilities for next steps embraced by those in attendance. There was a non-stop stream of commentary on Twitter, FaceBook, LinkedIn and YouTube- We even had live-streaming on the internet accessible through the HealthCamp Foundations site via Ustream. Did I mention over 1 MILLION internet impressions for this event in a SINGLE day?? WOW!

Two morning time slots with 4 sessions each brought us to that incredible lunch from Jenelle's in New Haven!! YUM! Three salads, two main courses and one wonderful dessert later it was definitely time for the walking tour. A quick trip around 2 blocks near Yale showed the concepts of HealthCamp in action; houses rehabilitated and lived in, perennial flower gardens, organic inner-city food plots, urban chickens, renewed tree planting and the fostering of a healthy community for area residents as the very real results of one HealthCamper's vision and dedication to the neighborhood. The invigorating walk cleared the lunchtime lethargy and prepared HealthCampers for a rigorous afternoon of eight more sessions followed by a debriefing for the day's events and reluctant goodbyes. For those who couldn't yet part ways, the Camp continued at Kelly's on Crown with our wonderful host Patrick for some cold drinks, warm food and hot conversations. HealthCamp@Yale was a wonderful introduction for Connecticut to the amazing, grassroots work of the HealthCamp Foundation and we eagerly look forward to next year's event!

A big "THANK YOU!!" to all of the Yale School of Nursing, the organizing team, our incredible sponsors, dedicated volunteers, amazing attendees and, of course, to the HealthCamp Foundation for turning this concept from a potential possibility to a redefining reality. Kudos!

For more information about Yale School Of Nursing  - Click Here

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