It’s Health and (not or) Human Services!

By Wade F. Horn, Ph.D.
Deloitte Consulting LLP

With the 10th Annual Stewards of Change National Symposium just around the corner, I’ve been thinking a good bit about the presentation I’ll be giving there – and I’m excited by it. Here’s why: For more years than I’d care to admit, I’ve been arguing that one major reason we haven’t made more progress in improving the lives of Americans is because, in policy and practice at every level, we’ve too often acted as though HHS is an abbreviation for health orhuman services rather than health andhuman services.

In other words, even as we have increasingly talked the talk about the need for interoperability, the information-sharing and silo-busting that could actually help people have been far too slow in coming. The result has been an inefficient – and ineffective – way of delivering comprehensive, coordinated care.

All of which brings me to the Stewards’ symposium, which explicitly brings together all the pieces of the puzzle – health andhuman services, interoperability and a critical, too-often-underappreciated additional factor: the social determinants of health and well-being. The opportunity to discuss and assemble all of these pieces makes this event (at Johns Hopkins University on June 22-24) both timely and important, and that’s why I’m excited to be a part of it.

The session at which I’ll be presenting with two of my colleagues fits perfectly into this picture. Titled “Leveling Up: Virtual Simulations for Better Child and Family Outcomes,” it focuses on a training solution that we have developed to help professionals in the child welfare world learn, practice, and apply leading case management practices, offering caseworkers an integrated environment for practicing their decision making, enhancing their empathy for what others across the system are seeing and doing, and providing a context-rich practice environment for “leveling up” their skillset to help them bring a 360-degree perspective to dealing with the vulnerabilities of families and children. We are creating a simulation-based game that can demonstrate the strengths and capacities offered by an integrated services system. We can support a virtual environment, composed of multiple actors with varying job responsibilities and perspectives. Caseworkers can “see,” understand and incorporate these various perspectives into their thinking and mindset, helping them to make plans and take action from a broader platform.

I’m enthusiastic about this solution and about the venue in which we’ll be explaining it.  I very much look forward to participating in the 10th Annual Stewards of Change National Symposium and interacting with other thought leaders on these very important topics.



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