A Community Focused on the Future of Health

Welcome to the new Health:Further. This post represents the first (public) piece of a new and much larger vision for the conference we have hosted the past two years here in Nashville. That new vision is to take a two day conference and turn it into a broad community of people interested in health. We will spend 361 days hanging out together online, and then meet up in Nashville for a four day festival that we view like a reunion.

As with any type of launch, we want to give you a rundown on our ideas for this thing. This post will cover some of the philosophy behind Health:Further, the next one will talk about who this “we” is I keep referring to. We’ve had some questions about the idea of a festival, so that’s on the way, too. After that, I’ll get a little more practical and talk about how we’re going to be moving forward over the next few months and how you can be involved.

First, the framework for this community is the pursuit of two ideals:

  • Health is a human right.
  • Health must be supported affordably and sustainably.

Those statements will underpin everything created around the Health:Further brand and inform the details discussed below.

As you read those two ideals and check out the new Health:Further site, you’ll see something strange. No mention of healthcare. Seems like a departure for a Jumpstart Foundry sister organization.

But avoiding the term “healthcare” was intentional when we started the ball rolling on this next iteration of Health:Further. Two points on that:

First, “healthcare” is a loaded term for most people. Perhaps you’ve heard of the Affordable Care Act? Maybe you saw something about an election a few months ago and a contentious nomination hearing for HHS Secretary? Everyone can lament the politicization of something that should be completely nonpartisan and get stuck, or we can take a wider view that will help us avoid getting sucked into the rhetoric and finger-pointing.

We’re trying to do the latter at Health:Further. We have our perspective(s) and biases, but we’re not trying to come at any of this as partisans, from the angle of a Progressive Policy Institute or an American Enterprise Institute. Instead, there is an overriding mission: to make health attainable for everyone. There will be differences in opinion on the right tactics to use, and that’s ok. In fact, that’s great. That means there’s room for a huge array of viewpoints on issues surrounding health within the Health:Further community, which should be really exciting to be a part of. Good ideas are made better by thoughtful pushback (more on that below).

Second, what we (the Health:Further team and you) are building is, in fact, broader than healthcare. The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease.” Let’s get this community in the mindset of well-being, going further than just the mechanisms - scientific, technical and financial - for treating disease.

Before you ask, no, Health:Further is not turning into a pop-health blog. Just like “healthcare” can be a loaded term, so too can “health,” with too many bizarre ideas getting pushed out into the public consciousness without any evidence to back them up. Anyway…

To get there, we want people who are interested in health to talk to each other. This means getting everyone in the same room, both physically and digitally. The Health:Further team will provide little nudges to get and keep the conversation going, but the community will do most of the talking. And that community will include just about everyone: C-suite personnel at huge healthcare corporations, fitness experts, biomedical engineering undergrads, sustainable food advocates, medical practitioners, health-tech entrepreneurs, policymakers…you.

You all are the ones with ideas and the ones working to bring those ideas into being. You have the interesting stuff to talk about. You’ve seen what doesn’t work. Health:Further is designed to be a forum where you can bring that personal history and contribute directly. To have your say, to offer solutions.

With all that in mind, this publication has been opened to give you a chance to highlight cool new stuff in health innovation that has the potential to drive the industry forward and give people better lives. If you have ideas about how this can or should be done, stick around. If you want to talk about ridiculously cool technology, watch this space. If you recognize the amazing reality that healthcare (yeah, I said it) is an industry in which making a ton of money AND the social good of saving lives can work in concert, join us.

For now, joining means just following this publication and then sending it to three colleagues. That’s it. We’d be really happy if you did. In the near future we’ll expand and start talking about other ways for you to get involved, but a simple follow and referral would be huge for the launch.