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Bill Considine Speaks at First VITALS Event

A call to action and a challenge to leaders: that was the message from Northeast Ohio Medical University President John Langell as he introduced the University’s inaugural VITALS: Visionary Health Leadership in Action speaker series event held Thursday, Oct. 1, via a Zoom video webinar.

We can’t leave change to legislators and administrators. Clinicians need to be informed and lead the change that they see is needed, said Dr. Langell, who has established himself as a surgeon as well as a researcher, educator, innvator and Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.

Monica Robins, senior health correspondent at WKYC in Cleveland (Channel 3), moderated the first event of the new thought leader speaker series at NEOMED.

The featured speaker Oct. 1 was William H. Considine, M.S., CEO Emeritus of Akron Children’s Hospital.

Considine used topics from the VITALS acronym – Value-based, Innovation, Technology, Advocacy, Leadership, Service – to guide his remarks about lessons learned over his 40-year career (starting in 1979) leading Akron Children’s Hospital.

Advocating for children continues to be important to Considine, who noted that cuts to Medicaid and Medicare would adversely affect the youngest among us. And he stood up for public officials who have been attacked for doing their jobs during the pandemic, noting that “Public health, done right, leads to a strong economy.”

Within each one-hour event, the presentation time for each VITALS guest speaker is 17 minutes — the average amount of time that a clinician spends with a patient. Attendees then have the remainder of the hour to ask questions via Zoom’s Q&A (which is different from the “chat” function). And they did at this event: Moderated by Robins, participant questions included requests for advice about how to serve as an advocate and to ask Considine’s opinion about issues of mental health stigma and reimbursement for mental health services. On the latter topic, Considine noted that one positive offshoot of the pandemic had been more generous reimbursement for telehealth mental health care.

Considine was frank when he talked about how difficult it is for patients – including him – to navigate the U.S. health care system, which he said is so often disjointed. “My eyes glaze over when I get on medicare.gov,” he said. The health care system needs the fresh eyes and innovation of the people entering the system today, he added.

Next event Nov. 5

The next VITALS event is scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5. It will feature Rajeev Venkayya, M.D. (’91), president of the Global Vaccine Business Unit at Takeda Pharmaceutical Company.

Continuing Education credit is available to qualified participants.

View the upcoming speaker schedule and register here.