Skip to main content Skip to footer

January 13, 2020

National thought leaders to speak during regional health conference at SVSU

Two thought leaders and change agents will headline a regional health conference at Saginaw Valley State University Friday, Jan. 24. This eleventh annual conference, titled “The Region's Health and Health Care Systems: Communities Achieving Excellence and Moving Upstream,” will be held from 8:15 a.m. to 1 p.m.

This conference will bring two world-renowned speakers to the Great Lakes Bay Region, Dr. Rishi Manchanda and Dr. Brian C. Castrucci, who will highlight their innovative discoveries and implementation strategies within public health and upstream health care.

Dr. Manchanda is a physician, author, and health care leader who currently serves as the President and CEO of HealthBegins. With this mission-driven consulting and technology firm, Dr. Manchanda has dedicated his career to helping health care and community partners improve the care and social factors of health for vulnerable populations.

On an international stage, Dr. Manchanda's 2013 TEDbook, “The Upstream Doctors,” has become recommended reading in medical schools and universities worldwide. In this book he introduced the “Upstreamists,” a new model of health care workers who improve care and equity by addressing the entire scope of patients' health-related social needs. In addition, his TED talk on the subject has reached over 1.8 million views.  

Dr. Manchanda currently serves on the board of the Beyond Flexner Alliance, on the California Future Health Workforce Commission, and was a member of the HHS Health Care Payment Learning & Action Network's Primary Care Payment Model Work Group. As a pillar in his community, he also served as the director of social medicine for a network of community health centers in south central Los Angeles, was the lead physician for homeless veterans at the Greater Los Angeles VA hospital, and was the first chief medical officer for a self-insured employer with a large rural immigrant workforce.

Dr. Castrucci, is the President and CEO of the deBeaumont Foundation, as well as an award-winning epidemiologist with 10 years of experience working in state and local health departments. The deBeaumont Foundation brings together research and practice by advancing policy, building partnerships, and strengthening the public health system. These objectives are accomplished under Dr. Castrucci's leadership through projects that include CityHealth, the BUILD Health Challenge, and the Public Health Workforce Interests and Needs Survey.

As a scholar, Dr. Castrucci has published more than 70 health care articles, with his most current work focusing on the public health needs of large cities, the need for better data systems, and public health system improvements. One of his recent articles, Meeting Individual Social Needs Falls Short of Addressing Social Determinants of Health, was featured by Health Affairs as the second-most read health affairs blog post of 2019. Dr. Castrucci also serves as an editor and contributing author to “The Practical Playbook. Public Health. Primary Care. Together,” published by Oxford University Press in 2015.

This regional health care conference is sponsored by the Mid Central Michigan Area Health Education Center, Dow, the Hospital Council of East Central Michigan, the Michigan Health Improvement Alliance, and SVSU.

The event will be held in the Ott Auditorium of Gilbertson Hall at SVSU. Registration is now open with a cost of $75 per person or $25 for students. The conference will also be simulcast at Central Michigan University and Kirtland Health Sciences Center in Grayling. Registration information is available online at