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Harkin symposium to highlight preventive care, community health

January 25, 2018

The Harkin Institute for Public Policy & Citizen Engagement at Drake University is gathering experts for a discussion about the importance of preventive care and community health at a public event on March 21 at Drake.

The inaugural Harkin on Wellness Symposium will address the latest trends in preventive care and population health and how they can influence health policy, clinical and community care.

“As a country, we need to remain committed to transforming our current sick-care system to a true health care system with a greater emphasis on wellness, prevention, and public health,” said Senator Tom Harkin, retired.

Harkin served 27 years on the Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee—including five years as chairman before his retirement in 2014—and placed a priority on preventive care. He authored many prevention provisions including the creation of the $15 billion Prevention and Public Health Fund, a dedicated stream of funding for public health, wellness and prevention initiatives. Wellness and nutrition is one of The Harkin Institute’s four focus areas for research and education.

Dr. Andrew Weil, renowned founder and program director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, will deliver the keynote speech. Weil has been recognized by Time magazine as one of the most influential Americans (1997) and 100 most influential people in the world (2005). He is a clinical professor of medicine and professor of public health at the University of Arizona and the author of 14 books. Weil is also a member of The Harkin Institute’s Wellness and Nutrition Advisory Committee.

“This event will provide a great opportunity for health care providers, students and members of the public alike to share ideas about how to shift the focus to protecting health rather than treating disease,” Weil said. “Participants will walk away with a better understanding of how to incorporate a broader range of therapeutic options and educate patients about nutrition, exercise and other healthy activities.”

The symposium will address the topics of cancer care and prevention, childhood obesity and diabetes prevention, and lifestyle prevention strategies. A panel of health education experts from Drake University, Des Moines University and the University of Iowa will discuss best practices for training health professionals to adequately provide and advocate for preventive care. Sue Mattison, provost at Drake University, will moderate a panel discussion titled, "Educating the future health professionals: Improving the health of populations," which includes panelist Renae Chesnut, dean of Drake's College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

This event is free and open to the public. Registration is available online.

The Harkin Institute for Public Policy & Citizen Engagement at Drake University is dedicated to the study of issues that define our public life and to engaging students and citizens in constructive dialogue regarding these issues. The Institute seeks to create opportunities for thoughtful policy discourse in a nonpartisan environment.