5 Things Utah: Q&A w/Mikelle Moore, Update from DOH, Telehealth & the digital divide

We are now a month out from our 2021 Utah State of Reform Health Policy Conference. Our early registration has been stronger this year than in previous years, a trend I expect will pick up this week.

On Thursday, we release our full Detailed Agenda for this year’s conference. It’s a list of 60 speakers at work to improve Utah’s health care sector, and who are making themselves available to connect with you. So, we’ve featured some of those names in this month’s newsletter. Think of it as a teaser ahead of what I think you’ll find to be an impressive list of folks.





With help from Emily Boerger

1. Facing the challenges of racial inequity

Mikelle Moore, Senior Vice President & Chief Community Health Officer at Intermountain Healthcare, was recently named one of Modern Healthcare’s 2021 Top 25 Women Leaders. In this Q&A with State of Reform Reporter Eli Kirshbaum, Moore discusses the unique nature of her job, the health sector’s need for more equity-focused initiatives, and Intermountain’s community outreach.

Moore is one of the speakers joining us at the 2021 Utah State of Reform Health Policy Conference on April 14, bringing her expertise to our “Facing the challenge of racial inequity in health care” panel. She’ll be joined by Christine Espinel, Health Program Specialist at the Utah Department of Health Office of Health Disparities, and José Rodriguez, Associate Vice President for Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Utah Health.


2. Legislators shaping health policy

Some of the most impactful legislators in health policy will join us at the conference next month. On our “Policy Leadership: Republicans” panel, we’ll hear from Rep. Stewart Barlow, Member of the House Health and Human Services Committee, Rep. Jim Dunnigan, Chair of the House Political Subdivisions Committee, and Sen. Jacob Anderegg, Chair of the Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee.

We’re also looking forward to hearing from Rep. Mike Winder, Member of the House Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee, who will offer his perspective on our “Mental health, substance abuse and the pandemic” panel. Joining us on the “Policy Leadership: Democrats” panel will be Sen. Gene Davis, Senate Minority Caucus Manager, and Rep. Rosemary Lesser, also a member of the House Health and Human Services Committee.


3. DOH’s Rich Saunders to update on agency

On April 14 at 11am, we will host a breakout session featuring senior figures from the Department of Health as they update us all on the initiatives and work underway at the agency and their plans for 2021.

Offering his expertise on our “Update from the Department of Health” panel will be DOH Executive Director Rich Saunders. He will be joined by two of his Deputy Directors to fill out the panel. Be sure to bring your questions to what will be a well-attended and highly interactive conversation.


4. Telehealth & challenges of the digital divide

The utilization of telehealth tools during the COVID-19 pandemic has been catalyzed in a way no other effort has been able to since the advent of the model more than 20 years ago. So, what do we make of telehealth, our experience with it in this crisis, and how things will work after COVID recedes? And, how will addressing the challenges of the digital divide inform these conversations

We’ll hear from Stephen Lisonbee, Gov. Spencer Cox’s Senior Advisor for Rural Affairs, Eric Liston, Administrator at Intermountain Connect Services, and Matt McCullough, Associate Director of Telehealth Operations at the Utah Education and Telehealth Network.

5. The role of social determinants

As awareness increases about the role social determinants play in health status, it’s clear these impacts are differentiated across demographics. As social, economic, and other pressures build after a tumultuous 2020, how are people of color facing a more complicated set of circumstances than other cohorts?

Joining us on our “The increasing role of social determinants on our health” panel will be Rep. Angela Romero, Member of the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee, Alan Pruhs, Executive Director of the Association for Utah Community Health, and Laura Summers, Senior Health Care Analyst at the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute. They will dig into the weeds on this subject, and elevate the strategies that are having the greatest impact on Utahns’ health.