A collage of photos from the conference, including panel discussions and posed and candid photos of participants

Conference Facilitates Talk on Hot Topics in Health Policy and Management

April 22, 2024

From artificial intelligence to alternative medicine and quality care to communications: the annual Health Policy and Management (HPM) Healthcare Conference was a sounding board for ideas on all manner of timely issues affecting organizational leaders, policymakers, and not least, everyone at the receiving end of health care services. The all-day event on April 12 brought together faculty, students, policymakers, and industry leaders. The event was sponsored by The Commonwealth Fund and held at Columbia University event space The Forum.

Sherry Glied, Dean of New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and former HPM chair, opened the conference with a keynote address on the future of healthcare in New York State and beyond. Glied, who chairs the New York State Commission of the Future of Healthcare, said her goal was to recommit the state to measuring success through “the health and well-being of individual people.”

A morning panel titled Communicating Topics in Public Health Effectively shed light on strategies to convey health information to the public despite the challenging political environment. HPM Professor Robert Shepardson moderated the panel, which included White House Assistant Press Secretary Kevin Munoz, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Strategic Planning and Speechwriter for U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Brian Reich, and Environmental Health Sciences Professor Julie Herbstman. When asked why communications is important, Herbstman, who is director of Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health noted, “I love working with data, but the reason I’m doing public health research is so that it goes somewhere, it has some kind of impact. My job isn’t done when I publish a paper.”

Afternoon sessions covered topics including food justice, developments in alternative medicine, PEPFAR reauthorization, and a lunch salon focused on digital health. The latter discussion was led by HPM student Andera Marx, senior marketing manager at Amazon Health Services and senior product marketing manager at One Medical.

The closing panel considered the deployment of AI in healthcare and what that could mean for equitable access to services. Columbia Mailman Biostatistics Professor and Associate Dean for Data Science Jeff Goldsmith moderated the event, which included panelists Julia Iyasere, director of the Dalio Center of Health Justice; Ashley Beecy, medical director of AI Operations at NewYork-Presbyterian; and physician-strategist Rebecca Winkour.

The day concluded with a networking reception and panel for admitted students led by current master’s students. Amey Kamdar, MHA ’24, appreciated how the conference brought together providers, researchers, policymakers, and students, adding, “That made for great dialogue and broadening of horizons.” HPM Chair and Professor of Health Policy and Management Michael Sparer echoed Kamdar’s comments, saying, “This is a special day where we come together once a year and we hear great talks, but we also have an opportunity to network and be with each other.”