Symposium 2017: Announcing our 40 Presenters

Bridget B. Kelly and Pritpal S Tamber

April 27, 2017

In this post, we announce the 40 people who’ll be sharing their experiences and perspectives through two case examples and six breakouts

Recent political events have pushed to the fore the idea that those with power need to ‘listen’ to those without. Doing it properly apparently requires ‘including’ those not normally included. All in all, the buzz is around ‘participation’.

The problem with ‘buzz’, however, is the speed with which it goes from signal to noise. Once it makes that transition, it becomes meaningless – a throw-away term banded about with apparent significance but not backed by much intent.

Inclusivity, Our Way

We started planning our symposium in February 2016. A big part of the 15-month journey has been our desire to be inclusive – long before politic events made it an urgent agenda. That’s why we recruited and worked through a Planning Committee, and why we sought partners whose work we respected for the breakouts.

One of the toughest challenges has been to bring new voices to the table. Our cultures suggest that ‘leaders’ should be there, sharing their well-packaged wisdom. But that packaging is often devoid of detail and absent of nuance. We believe that success in community-based work requires obsessive attention to detail and an openness to nuance.

The 40 Presenters

That belief hasn’t always made it easy to put the symposium on. Indeed, we were aware that it was potentially a rod that could break our backs if we held onto it too doggedly. We’d like to think we’ve done a good job of being inclusive with the resources available to us.

Today, we’re announcing the final agenda – specifically all of the people that will be sharing their experiences and perspectives through two case examples and six breakouts.

Case Example: Building Healthy Communities, South Kern

  • Gema Perez, Greenfield Walking Group
  • Javier Arreola, Interpreter
  • Phoebe Seaton, Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability
  • Yolanda Alcantar, County of Kern Public Works Department

Case Example: Bronx Healthy Buildings Program, Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition

  • Evy Viruet, Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition
  • Maggie Tishman, Emerald Cities Collaborative
  • Sandra Lobo, Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition

Breakout: Creating Leadership Capacity for Long-term Change

  • Dina Newman, Center for Neighborhoods, University of Missouri – Kansas City
  • Genoveva Islas, Cultiva la Salud
  • Risa Wilkerson, Active Living By Design
  • Sarah Strunk, Active Living By Design

Breakout: Discovering Business Models

  • Eli MacLaren, Business Innovation Factory
  • Jodie Lesh, Kaiser Permanente
  • Peter Roberts, Children’s Medical Center Dallas

Breakout: Communicating the Value of Health and Community Partnership

  • Jacki Schechner
  • Nishith Bhatt, Hershey Cause Communications
  • Rhonda M. Smith, Live Healthy OC

Breakout: Navigating Power in Health and Community Partnerships

  • Doran Schrantz, ISAIAH
  • Jeanne Ayers, Minnesota Department of Health

Breakout: Using Participatory Research and Evaluation

  • Andrew Binet, NextShift Collaborative
  • Jomella Watson-Thompson, University of Kansas
  • Mark Wieland, Mayo Clinic
  • Miriam Goodson, Alliance of Chicanos, Hispanics, and Latin Americans of Rochester
  • Shannon Simpson

Breakout: Leveraging Opportunities and Collaboration to Bolster Community Agency

  • Emmanuel Kintu, Kalihi-Palama Health Center
  • Kate Paris, UnitedHealthcare Community & State
  • Katherine Keir, Goodwill Hawaii
  • Nicole Dickelson, UnitedHealthcare Community & State
  • Sue Augusta, Corporation for Supportive Housing

In all, the agenda brings together more than 40 people (including those setting the stage, announced here) who, along with all of the symposium participants, will help create a space to explore how we can build and sustain inclusive and participatory partnerships that foster the agency of communities to improve health.


A few tickets remain so if you’re also tired of the increasing ‘buzz’ and agree that community-based work requires obsessive attention to detail and an openness to nuance, register here. The symposium is May 15-16 in Oakland, CA. See the webpage, rationale, and finalized agenda.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Bridget B. Kelly

Bridget B. Kelly is a senior program officer at the Institute of Medicine, working on projects that cover a wide range of topics in health and education, using a diverse array of processes for convening, information gathering, and analysis and interpretation. She is also a dancer and choreographer with many years of experience in grassroots arts organizing.

Pritpal S Tamber

I’m a doctor who trained as a medical editor and publisher and now researches and consults on the link between community power and health equity. My interest in community power started when I was the Physician Editor of TEDMED and is explained in My Perspective. I also work as a freelance medical editor and publisher for organisations that want to write high-quality articles and a strategy for their publishing and promotion. Find out more on my About page.

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