GlaxoSmithKline plc [LSE/NYSE: GSK] today proceeded with the next city stop in its national initiative to examine the barriers and identify opportunities to build healthier communities in the United States. The program, “A Conversation on Community Health” – which kicked off in Philadelphia in September – is taking place today in St. Louis as the second of three events The Atlantic is hosting in US cities to explore what it means, and what it takes, to be a healthy community.
GSK is underwriting the events to uncover innovative and community-based collaborations with health organizations, public officials, advocates and citizens that will guide a new approach to improving health at the local level. Insights gained through the series of local discussions will help shape the future strategic direction for GSK’s community programs and local engagement in the US.
“At GSK, we’re always asking ourselves what we can do to be a better partner in the communities in which we serve patients to ensure that they have the resources and opportunities they need to live healthier lives,” said Deirdre Connelly, President, North America Pharmaceuticals at GlaxoSmithKline. “While there are many innovative and effective local community programs doing great work across St. Louis, and in other cities across the United States, we believe it’s possible to work together even more effectively to drive greater collective impact. It is urgent that organizations collaborate to uncover new ideas, and rethink incentives for improving the overall health of the community as a whole.”
In St. Louis, The Atlantic will convene an expert working summit of some of the region’s top minds in the fields of medicine, public health, academia, government, business and philanthropy to analyze the broader factors that influence health. The group will also share examples of approaches across the city that are effectively overcoming systemic barriers to better outcomes.
A town hall meeting immediately following the working summit will feature a keynote interview with Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Olympic legend and East St. Louis native addressing the work her foundation is doing to improve the health in the community. A panel discussion will include prominent speakers, such as Robert Fruend, Jr., Chief Executive Officer, St. Louis Regional Health Commission; Melba Moore, MS, CPHA, Commissioner of Health for the City of St. Louis Department of Health; Dr. Jason Purnell, Assistant Professor at the Brown School of Social Work and Institute for Public Health at Washington University; and Joy Krieger, Executive Director, Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, St. Louis Chapter.
“St. Louis is committed to being a healthy community for all ages,” said Pamela Rice Walker, MPA, CPHA, St. Louis City Health Director. “We have seen substantial reductions in lead poisoning, infant mortality, and asthma hospitalizations among our children over the past 10 years. However, we need to remain vigilant and creative in our approaches to reducing obesity and diabetes among our youth.”
The United States spends more per capita on health care than any other nation, but there are large disparities in health outcomes in relation to race, community of residence, and individual and community socioeconomic factors.1
St. Louis, where GSK has manufacturing operations, is a natural choice for the second stop in this multi-city program aimed at understanding community health challenges. Despite overall improvement in health status throughout the St. Louis region over the past 10 years, race- and gender-based disparities persist. Three-fold differences or greater are observed between African-Americans and Caucasians in diabetes and AIDS mortality, low birth weight, and emergency room visits attributable to childhood asthma.2
Approximately 31 percent of adults in the city of St. Louis are obese.2 Additionally, St. Louis is one of the top 10 most challenging places to live with asthma3—11.4 percent of children in the city have been diagnosed with the disease.2
Still, these problems continue in spite of the leading academic, medical institutions, community-based non-profit and city efforts that have demonstrated success.
The town hall meeting, moderated by John Donvan, correspondent for ABC News, will challenge conventional thinking about what it means to be a healthy community and get participants to think more broadly about issues affecting their city. The meeting will feature innovative technology to integrate attendees into the on-stage conversation on community health to have a solutions-oriented conversation based on feedback from attendees representative of the broader St. Louis community.
Each group from the audience will use iPads powered by MtgWorksTM, an app that allows for the rapid collection of responses and the real-time synthesis of key themes, which will then be explored by the guest panel in a large discussion.
Additional information about “A Conversation on Community Health,” hosted by The Atlantic - The St. Louis town hall will be available via live stream from 3 – 5:30 pm ET on Wednesday, December 12 at http://events.theatlantic.com.
Over the course of the three city program, The Atlantic will be exploring the many facets of community health through an ongoing special report available at http://theatlantic.com/special-report/health-nation.
Join the conversation on Twitter @GSKUS or @Atlantic_Live, #HealthyCommunity.
GlaxoSmithKline – one of the world’s leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies – is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer. For further information go to us.gsk.com, follow us on twitter.com/GSKUS or visit our blog (www.morethanmedicine.us.gsk.com/blog/).
1Kulkarni et al. Population Health Metrics 2011, 9:16 http://www.pophealthmetrics.com/content/9/1/16
2St. Louis Regional Health Commission. Decade Review of Health Status for St. Louis City and County 2000-2010. http://www.stlrhc.org/. Accessed Dec. 6, 2012.
3Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Asthma Capitals 2012. http://www.asthmacapitals.com. Accessed Nov. 28, 2012.
KEYWORDS: Health and Wellness, GSK, GlaxoSmithKline, The Atlantic, St. Louis, Building healthy communiites, Jackie Joyner-Kersee