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Health Evolution is gearing up for 2023 Connect, which will take place September 27-29 in Nashville, Tennessee. As we prepare to welcome leaders from across the health care industry for our second Connect gathering, I spoke with Health Evolution Executive Vice President Rob Lazerow, who develops the content for Health Evolution’s convenings. Read on to learn why Health Evolution Connect is a must-attend event for CEOs and C-suite leadership teams—and what participating executives can look forward to this fall.

We launched Health Evolution Connect last fall, after hearing loud and clear from our community that they wanted more opportunities to convene in person, especially in Health Evolution’s candid and dynamic setting. What were the highlights of the inaugural Connect? 

That’s exactly right, Ashley. The Health Evolution community is an incredible mix of cross-industry CEOs and senior executives, and there was definitely excitement in the community to join together in-person more frequently. We also realized the opportunity to introduce a second gathering more closely tied to the year-round work happening in our Forum Roundtables and Fellowship program. Both of these were driving forces behind the launch of Connect. 

And I’m incredibly proud of our first convening in Nashville. I’m so grateful for all the executives who participated last year, especially the outstanding discussion leaders who shared their insights in the Big Discussions, Deep Dives, and Forum Breakouts. 

As I reflect on our first Connect gathering, a few highlights stand out to me.  

First, the Health Evolution community really showed up—and these leaders arrived ready to engage. 2022 Connect had an intimacy and interactivity that was exceptional. The agenda had a variety of small-group breakout sessions to ensure an interactive experience, and the Big Discussions also had lively Q&A. 

Second, the agenda focused on pressing, near-term strategic issues. We discussed the volatile economy’s impact on health care, women’s health in the wake of Roe v. Wade being overturned, and the future of home-based care. Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and former Governor Phil Bredesen surveyed the political landscape leading up to the midterms—and their election predictions proved spot on. And we examined both how to maximize the impact of investments in health equity and restore the public’s trust in health care—which, as we learned, starts with making health care more trustworthy. It was an action-packed and insightful three days. 

Third, we celebrated the in-person return of the Confab for Advancing Women in Leadership. This was the first in-person Confab gathering since before the pandemic, and it was a big milestone in expanding Confab into a year-round community. Alex Drane led a powerful interview with Dr. Susan Turney, followed by the popular “Get Real” breakout discussions. It was such a memorable close to our first day last year. 

And finally, Nashville was a fantastic setting for an urban retreat. Nashville has incredible energy and a vibrant health care community—which was reflected in the program. In addition to Senator Frist and Governor Bredesen, the discussion leaders also featured CEOs and C-suite executives from Ardent Health, Amedisys, Community Health Systems, and Vanderbilt. 

I can’t wait to head back to Nashville for 2023 Connect this Fall. 

It sounds like an exciting first Connect. For the leaders who couldn’t participate in Nashville last year but joined us in Laguna for 2023 Summit in April, how do Summit and Connect differ? 

Fortunately, leaders who are longtime Summit alums will find plenty of what they love about the Laguna experience in Nashville. As always, we’ll have a carefully curated mix of cross-industry executives, a compelling program, and ample time for networking. Similar to Summit, the Connect agenda will feature three days of candid conversations that center on Health Evolution’s six overarching focus areas. And in addition to the Big Discussions and Deep Dives, we will once again include special, invitation-only programming for Health Evolution Fellows. The Fellowship breakouts—including the Confab “Get Reals”—were such a highlight of Summit, we can’t wait to host the next set at Connect. 

That said, I see two big differences between Summit and Connect. 

First, Connect is designed for both CEOs and C-suite executives, so you’ll find a broader range of senior executives in Nashville. Many of the participants are CEOs, Presidents, and Founders, but you’ll also find Chief Operating Officers, Chief Strategy Officers, Chief Medical Officers, Chief Financial Officers, Chief Health Officers, and Chief Health Equity Officers. CEOs bring their executive teams to create a working retreat, and we’re happy to help make a meaningful experience for leadership teams who want to participate together. 

And second, the agenda will primarily focus on near-term priorities and push for actionable takeaways. We’ll focus more on the “how” than the “what” at Connect. I see the role of Summit as setting the leadership agenda, and then Connect provides the insights and relationships to accelerate change. 

Interested in participating in the 2023 Connect? Apply to attend

 That’s a great segue to talk about the agenda. What are the major themes leaders can expect to explore on the main stage at Connect this year? 

In many respects, the agenda for Connect serves to both pick up where Summit left off and advance the year-round work happening in our Forum Roundtables. So, the main stage program will be animated by the inspiring and candid conversations that occurred in both of those venues.  

We’re still refining the exact discussion topics, but there are a few themes I suspect will be on the agenda.  

For example, AI understandably came up in nearly every Big Discussion at Summit, and it’s the central focus in our Roundtable on AI and Data-Powered Innovation. We also talked about drug pricing and value-based care at Summit, especially in our fireside chat with CMS leadership, but both are areas we can go deeper. And Confab has been such a powerful part of our past two convenings, I look forward to our next in-person Confab conversations at Connect. 

Additionally, I’m hoping to explore a topic that has emerged in several Roundtables this year—and will be a part of our virtual 2023 Forum Summer Sessions for Health Evolution Fellows: the future of rural health. There also are a few important topics that weren’t part of the main stage program at Summit that are top-of-mind right now, especially mental and behavioral health and the future of public health. 

I look forward to sharing more details about the agenda, topics, and discussion leaders across the summer. 

 So, if that’s what you’re exploring for the Big Discussions on the mains stage, what can leaders expect for the breakout discussions? I know you mentioned the smaller group sessions were a highlight last year. 

In addition to the Big Discussions, we’ll have a wide range of interactive, small-group breakout discussions. They’re such an important part of the experience—leaders in this community always appreciate engaging with their peers and counterparts in these smaller sessions. 

The Deep Dives will be part of the agenda on both Wednesday and Thursday, and they’ll explore our six focus areas: care delivery redesign, payment redesign, community-focused health, innovation & discovery, mental & behavioral health, and organizational transformation. 

Additionally, for Health Evolution Fellows, Connect provides a valuable setting to engage in-person with the leaders they typically interact with virtually throughout the year—plus meet Fellows from other Roundtables they might not otherwise encounter. We received outstanding feedback on the mashup-style Fellowship breakouts at Summit, and we’re excited to craft more of these cross-Roundtable conversations that are ideal for in-person gatherings. 

Interested in joining Fellowship? Apply to participate

We’ve covered a lot of ground today, but I have one final, important question: Why should leaders prioritize participating in 2023 Connect this fall? 

Our ambition is to bring leaders together to drive real change and address health care’s toughest challenges. Connect will have provocative topics on the main stage and plenty of time for interactive breakout discussions to push leaders’ thinking and equip them with new solutions. And with the intimate size and off-the-record setting, I trust we’ll have authentic conversations and make meaningful connections. 

Beyond the agenda, the community of leaders participating will be unparalleled. Our gatherings bring together a thoughtful mix of cross-industry executives, especially from health systems, health plans, and life sciences organizations, plus select technology leaders, investors, retailers, and policymakers. I know how much participants enjoy networking with their peers and counterparts and building relationships while digging into the big issues of the day. In that vein, I truly hope that CEOs who are longtime Summit alums will use Connect as an opportunity to introduce key partners and colleagues to Health Evolution so they can experience the value of the community, too. 

And finally, Connect is an important milestone in the Health Evolution Fellowship Year. I’m a firm believer in the model of year-round collaboration and having two in-person gatherings is critical for maintaining momentum. As our Roundtables embark on another year of cross-industry collaboration in the fall, we can’t wait to convene the Fellows—and the broader Health Evolution community—in Nashville this September.

Ashley Antonelli

Senior Manager, Executive Communications

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