November 26-28 2018
  • Avon, CT
  • SOC Institute Team

NIC New England Fall Symposium 2018

Moving Upstream to Improve Health and Well-Being

Join the Discussion on the NIC’s Hub




Check out more murals highlighting key takeaways in the resources matrix below.



About the Symposium:

The National Interoperability Collaborative (NIC) held a unique, highly interactive symposium on Nov. 26-28, 2018, in Avon, CT. The invitation-only event provided a singular opportunity for participants to focus on concrete, actionable ways in which information-sharing, integration, interoperability and cross-systems approaches can – and do – enhance the delivery and effectiveness of health and human services for people of all ages, especially the least-served and most-vulnerable among us.

“A Symposium in the NIC of Time: Moving Upstream to Improve Health and Well-Being” convened a select group of senior officials, thought leaders, luminaries and subject-matter experts from New England and other parts of the country where NIC is currently working. Participants also included NIC’s federal and Region 1 collaborators from the Administration for Children and Families and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The event was organized by NIC and the New England States Consortium Systems Organization, with the support of the Kresge Foundation, IBM, the Connecticut Department of Social Services, the New England Association of Child Welfare Commissioners and Directors and the Milbank Memorial Fund.

The symposium “faculty” included prominent leaders in the field, including Connecticut DSS Commissioner Rod Bremby, California HHS Secretary Michael Wilkening and former Virginia Health and Human Resources Secretary Bill Hazel, MD; federal ACF officials leading the agency’s new Interoperability Action Plan; and highly regarded academics from MIT, Yale and UC San Francisco. Additional participants include thought-leaders such as Jessica Kahn, Senior Expert from McKinsey & Co; John Ohanian, CEO of San Diego County’s renowned 211 community-information exchange; Rhea Boyd, MD, Director of Equity and Justice for Children’s Trust – all of whom helped to make the event a particularly rewarding experience.

Our broad strategic thinking at the symposium was grounded in real-life case study examples that demonstrated the critical importance of better integration, data-sharing and interoperability – with a particular focus on collaborations within and across NIC’s six primary domains: human services, public health, public education, public safety, emergency medical services and health information technology.

Information at the symposium was shared through diverse presentation formats and interactive activities that engaged participants in meaningful discussion, ideation and planning. The use cases included new early childhood programs that are integrating early intervention from health and human services; prevention models in child welfare that reduce opioid use disorder and addiction; and upstream strategies that integrate two-generation models and the social determinants of health and well-being by leveraging existing and new technology. All of the diverse presentations had a singular goal: improving the lives and experiences of the people we serve.



Session Description Resources
Welcome, Orientation and NIC Overview

Daniel Stein, President, Stewards of Change Institute; Co-PI, National Interoperability Collaborative
Roderick L. Bremby, Commissioner, Connecticut Dept. of Social Services
Jeffrey Meyers, Commissioner, New Hampshire Dept. of Health and Human Services; Chairperson, NESCSO
Elaine Zimmerman, Regional Manager, Administration for Children and Families, Region 1

The speakers will provide a welcome to the symposium and outline goals, activities, and key concepts. The symposium is designed to showcase innovative projects and practices relating to interoperability, integration and information-sharing efforts from across New England, as well as from other states in which NIC is already working. It will also provide you with the opportunity to hear from and interact with colleagues from around the country and learn about leading-edge activities, concepts and best practices.

Getting to the Headwater: Using Interoperability and the Social Determinants to Positively Impact Public Health Crises

Paul Wormeli, Member, SOCI Board of Directors; Executive Director Emeritus, IJIS Institute
Facilitators of Interactive Activity and Fishbowl Debrief: Daniel Stein, SOCI President, NIC Co-Principal Investigator

This session utilizes the opioid epidemic to illustrate how any public health crisis could be better-addressed through improved interoperability, information-sharing and systems integration across multiple domains. In particular, the panelists will focus on some of the strategies outlined in the soon-to-be-published NIC Opioid Prevention Playbook as the basis for a discussion of the role of interoperability and the social determinants of health and well-being in “getting upstream” of the problem.

Ignite Presentations: Lessons from MA: Advanced Inter-Agency Data Sharing

Presenter: Ray Campbell, Executive Director, Center for Health Information Analysis

In an effort to find answers about the state’s opioid crisis, Massachusetts passed a law directing several state agencies to engage in an unprecedented degree of data-sharing. As a result, the Bay State linked 22 separate agency databases in order to understand the social determinants driving the opioid crisis. The state is now able to see the relationship between overdoses and a wide variety of social risk factors, such as prior incarcerations, medical history, and prior access to substance use disorder services. The techniques that enabled the secure exchange of this data are now being applied in new and interesting ways to address a host of public health challenges.

Ignite Presentations: Modernizing the Legal Determinants of Health

Erika Rickard, JD, Senior Officer, Civil Justice Innovation Project, The Pew Charitable Trusts

The legal system is a critical component of the social determinants of health, but its impact is not well-documented or understood. This presentation focuses on a new initiative by the Pew Charitable Trusts to modernize the system, including with a pilot project integrating 2-1-1 databases, legal aid and court self-help to better match resources to needs.

Can the Solution be Right if the Data is Biased?

Margo Edmunds, PhD; Vice President, Evidence Generation and Translation, AcademyHealth; NIC Co-PI
Rhea Boyd, MD; Chief Medical Officer, San Diego 211; Director, Equity and Justice, The Children’s Trust

Implicit bias and institutional discrimination are important factors that help to shape research, policy and practice. This session examines the role of these “invisible social determinants;” why they should become integral elements of reform efforts; and specific steps for making progress. The presenters will also address this central question: How do data-integration platforms and strategies functionally do no harm? This question acknowledges that tools that create pathways to accelerate data-sharing and system interoperability inherently have the capacity to “profile poverty,” codify racism and engineer disadvantage.

The View from the Top I: Advancing and Sustaining Progress from the State Perspective

Moderator: Jessica Kahn, Senior Expert, McKinsey & Co.
Roderick L. Bremby, Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Social Services
Michael Wilkening, Secretary, California Health and Human Services Agency
William Hazel, MD, Secretary (former), Virginia Department of Human Resources; Senior Advisor for Strategic Initiatives, George Mason University

What innovations, processes and changes are needed to integrate the social determinants of health and wellness upstream into the Health and Human Services ecosystem? In this session, HHS leaders from NIC’s three inaugural partner states engage in a dialogue centering on specific ways they have sought to answer that question, the successes they’ve had, the challenges they’ve faced, and the times they’ve wished they hadn’t come to the office. A primary focus on the conversation will be the strategies and programs they have used to instigate change and what they’ve learned about replicating, scaling and sustaining it.

Bridgeport Prospers, Baby Bundle: Moving Upstream from Birth to Three

Roderick L. Bremby, Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Social Services
Janice M. Gruendel, PhD, Senior Fellow, Institute for Child Success; Research Professor, University of North Carolina, Charlotte; Fellow, Zigler Center, Yale University
Allison Logan, Executive Director, Bridgeport Prospers, United Way of Coastal Fairfield County
David Wilkinson, Commissioner, Connecticut Office of Early Childhood

The presenters provide an overview of this ambitious, multidomain initiative that is bringing together early education, hospitals, schools, public safety and other relevant Department of Social Services programs to improve the lives of infants, children and families through early detection and intervention. Discussion about this innovative initiative, on which NIC is working with the key players on the ground, will focus on key insights and how “Baby Bundle” can be shaped and implemented not only to benefit the struggling community it is intended to serve, but also so that it can become a pilot for replication across Connecticut and, perhaps, far beyond.

Learning from Innovation and Success in San Diego

John Ohanian, President and CEO, 2-1-1 San Diego
William York, Vice President, 2-1-1 San Diego

In this session, 2-1-1 San Diego’s leaders will discuss their Community Information Exchange (CIE), an ecosystem of multidisciplinary network partners that is shifting how health and social service providers deliver person-centered care and contribute to individual longitudinal records through shared language and outcomes. They will describe the CIE’s evolution in collaboration with San Diego’s Health Information Exchange and the local county ConnectWell to improve health equity and outcomes across systems of care.

Using Design Thinking to Develop Community Ecosystems for Vulnerable Mothers and their Babies

Ivy Pool, Senior Consultant, Stewards of Change Institute
Kenneth Kaplan, MSW/M’Arch/HP; Senior Health System Advisor, Initiative for Health Systems Innovation, Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Becket Dickerson, Associate Partner, GBS US Public Service, Customer Engagement & Design Practice Area Lead, IBM Global Business Services

This session provides an overview of the theory and application of Design Thinking, a framework that helps guide teams from problems to solutions. Through a relentless focus on user outcomes, multidisciplinary teaming, and “restless reinvention,” Design Thinking produces innovative solutions to thorny problems/challenges. In this session, symposium participants will have the opportunity to apply Design Thinking to an early childhood case study. Together, we will seek to design a holistic, community-based continuum of care to address inequities and radically improve outcomes for mothers and their babies in under-resourced communities.

Ignite Presentations: Constructing a Safer Future So All of NH’s Children Can . . . Live Free and Thrive

Chris Tappan, Associate Commissioner Human Services and Behavioral Health
Joe Ribsam, Director, Division for Children, Youth and Families

Realizing a safer future for children requires transforming the child-serving and family support systems in every community. With an unyielding sense of urgency, efforts in New Hampshire are underway to work across the ecosystem, collectively move upstream, and energize the resources and supports parents need to raise their children at the best and most-challenging times in their lives.

Catalyzing Upstream Change: The Rhode Island Health Equity Zones and the ASTHO President’s Challenge

Presenter: Ada Amobi, MD, MPH; Physician Lead, Health Equity Institute, Rhode Island Department of Health

The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) President’s Challenge was developed to spur increased focus on community-led, place-based initiatives to address the social determinants of health nationwide. This session will introduce the key concepts and activities of the President’s Challenge, and will discuss the Rhode Island Health Equity Zones as an example of an initiative that offers unique opportunities for data integration.

The View from the Top II: Advancing and Sustaining Interoperability Progress from the Federal Perspective

Daniel Stein, SOCI President; NIC Co-PI
Christi Bordeaux Dant, State Systems Coordinator for Health and Human Services, ACF,
Nina Brown-Ashford, Group Deputy, Prevention and Population Health Group, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, CMS
Betsy F. Rosenfeld, JD, Regional Health Administrator, Region 1, US DHHS, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health

While attention at the federal level has focused largely on divisive issues, efforts in at least one area seem likely to bring symposium attendees together: promoting interoperability and information-sharing to make progress relating to health and human services. Presenters will discuss some of those efforts, including the new ACF Interoperability Initiative from the Administration for Children and Families. They will also offer their perspectives on the same question state leaders addressed earlier in the symposium: What innovations and changes are needed to integrate the social determinants of health and well-being upstream into the HHS ecosystem?

Scaling NIC: Charting a Course in New England and Fitting into a National Roadmap

This session will provide an overview of NIC’s progress since it was launched in June 2017, combined with Q&A and all-attendee dialogue/input. Attendees will learn about NIC’s work in California, Connecticut and beyond, as well as our Collaboration and Communication Hub and InterOptimability Training and Certification Curriculum (ITCC) program. Attendees will also hear about – and help to shape – NIC’s plans for the future, particularly in New England.

Leveraging Our Data to Advance Health Equity: The Urgency to Build Public Will

Presenter: Tiffany Manuel, PhD; Vice President, Knowledge, Impact and Strategy, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.

Data is helping us prove it’s possible to invest in population health in ways that are cost-effective, improve outcomes and engage communities as co-producers of their own health. But it can be tough to make a compelling case for meaningful systems change and, worse, attempts to increase support can backfire. This presentation will explain how to use data to build public support for scaling health programs, policies and investments that fundamentally transform our health ecosystems for the better.