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Population Health Events

University Symposium on Population Health: Building Bridges for Healthier Communities

October 23-24, 2023

Mike and Josie Harper Center, Creighton University Campus

Creighton's inaugural Institute for Population Health Symposium featured local and national experts who spoke about ways to improve health equity and population wellness through professional and community collaboration in the places where they work and live. Read a summary of the event and see the full lineup of sessions and speakers below.

Monday, October 23

Creighton and Community Leadership Welcome

  • Speakers:
    • Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, PhD, President
    • Mardell A. Wilson, EdD, RDN, Provost
    • Jean Stothert, Mayor, City of Omaha
    • Lindsay Huse, DNP, Director, Douglas County Health Department
    • Robert “Bo” Dunlay, MD, Dean, School of Medicine
    • Scott Shipman, MD, MPH, CyncHealth Endowed Chair for Population Health, Executive Director, Institute for Population Health

National Panel: How Population Health Builds Healthier Communities

The U.S. is on a steady path of excess spending on healthcare relative to the rest of the world, while disparities in health status, access to care and health-related outcomes grow wider. Fortunately, there is a growing movement to bring healthcare, social services, public health, community-based resources and expertise, the business sector, and philanthropy into greater alignment and partnership. Building these bridges is essential. Our national panelists represent distinct perspectives with a deep commitment to achieving better, more equitable health for all.


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    Philip Alberti

    Philip Alberti, PhD
    Senior Director, Health Equity Research & Policy; Founding Director, AAMC Center for Health Justice, Association of American Medical Colleges

    A population health scientist, whose professional commitment to health equity research and action spans more than 20 years, Alberti is a widely published and frequent public speaker. He has served on advisory boards and expert panels for numerous organizations and federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Alberti founded the AAMC’s Center for Health Justice in 2021.

    Prior to joining the AAMC in 2012, Alberti worked at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, where he led research, evaluation and planning efforts for a bureau that promoted health equity between neighborhoods. He holds a PhD in sociomedical sciences from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and was a Fellow in the National Institute of Mental Health’s Psychiatric Epidemiology Training program. 

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     Marijka Grey

    Marijka Grey, MD, MBA, FACP
    Vice President, Ambulatory Transformation and Innovation, Physician Enterprise, CommonSpirit Health

    Grey leads a team of innovators who work on advancing all aspects of care: from the physical environment to clinical and administrative workflows and day-to-day care of patients. Her work spans the more than 2,000 ambulatory sites of CommonSpirit’s 24-state footprint, and she has been recognized with a 2022 systemwide award for innovation for utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) to decrease the manual burden of the intake process on clinical and administrative staff.

    She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Medicine and, as a practicing internist, has been awarded the distinction of Fellow of the American College of Physicians. She received her Master of Business Administration from the Richard J. Bolte School of Business at Mount Saint Mary’s University and was named one of Diversity MBA’s “Top 100 under 50 in Corporate America” in 2021. She is on the boards of the American Medical Group Association and the Catholic Health Association.

Population Health in Action at Creighton: A Dialogue

Creighton has a wealth of leadership in service to population health and advancing health justice, in alignment with the University’s mission. This session will feature several Creighton leaders in a discussion that highlights their contributions and insights, including opportunities to extend authentic partnerships to further our collective impact.

  • Speakers:
    • Jason Beste, MD, MPH, Associate Professor, Executive Director, Arrupe Global Scholars and Partnerships Program, School of Medicine (Phoenix campus)
    • Rebecca Ann Davis, DNP, APHN-BC, Assistant Professor, College of Nursing
    • Joshua Fershée, JD, Professor, Dean, School of Law  
    • Ronn Johnson, PhD, Professor, Senior Associate Dean, Diversity, Inclusion, & Belonging, School of Medicine  
    • Scott Shipman, MD, MPH, Executive Director, Institute for Population Health, CyncHealth Endowed Professor
    • Maureen Tierney, MD, MS, Professor, Associate Dean, Clinical Research and Public Health, School of Medicine
    • Jill Wallen, BDS, MS, Professor, Dean, School of Dentistry  
    • Autumn Woolpert, Junior, Finance and Biology Major

Tuesday, October 24

Advancing Population Health through Human-Centered Design

Human-centered design (HCD) is an approach to problem-solving that brings diverse perspectives together to identify, brainstorm and iteratively develop solutions to meet a population’s needs. HCD is different from some other approaches with its focus on understanding the end-user’s experience and on engaging stakeholders as solutions are developed. This session will feature national leaders that use an HCD approach to improve healthcare systems, engage with the communities and ultimately advance population health.

Anthony Cheng
  • Speakers:
    • Anthony Cheng, MD, is a practicing family physician and medical director in the Office of Digital Health at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), where he is the principal investigator in a project that aims to center community expertise in design thinking for digital health equity. Cheng is a graduate of the OHSU Family Medicine Portland Residency, the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and the University of Pennsylvania.

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      Hans VanDerSchaaf

      Hans VanDerSchaaf, PhD, MPA, is a digital health strategist at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), where he champions OHSU Health’s mission to make care available to Oregonians anywhere, anytime by focusing on digital health technology and health system innovations. He holds a PhD in technology management and a Master of Public Administration from Portland State University, along with a bachelor’s degree from Ithaca College.


Addressing Social Determinants of Health: The Need for Multisector Partnerships

Social determinants of health are critical factors in population health. Improving health for all and advancing health equity can only be achieved by addressing health-related social needs, and doing so effectively requires partnership. Health systems, social services, schools and universities, policymakers, public health and businesses all have a role to play in addressing these fundamental factors. This session will highlight how urban and rural communities, health systems and policymakers focus on understanding these factors, implement strategies and strive to improve these conditions.

  • Speakers:
    • Aja Anderson, MPA, CEO, The Wellbeing Partners
    • Ashley Carroll, MPH, Division Director, Healthy Communities and Community Benefit, CHI Health 
    • Chris Rodgers, MBA, MPA, Director, Government and Community Relations, Creighton University 
    • Denise Zwiener, Executive Director, Buffalo County Community Partners 


Breakout Sessions Round 1:
Creighton and the Community—Working Together to Address Today’s Health Challenges

  • Breakout A: Doula Support for Maternal Health
    The U.S. has a maternal health crisis — and it’s getting worse. Data shows that the maternal mortality rate in the U.S. is more than three times the rate in most other high-income countries, and the rate is strikingly higher for Black women. Doulas have been shown to be effective advocates for women during pregnancy, labor and delivery, and post-partum. Participants will gain insight into the barriers facing many women in accessing culturally sensitive maternal care, and the role of doulas in reducing health disparities and improving maternal health outcomes.
    • Speakers:
      • Deyanna Boston, MD, Assistant Professor, Creighton University School of Medicine
      • Kelly Nielson, MS, MPH, Director, Omaha Pathways Community HUB, Omaha Community Foundation
      • Ashlei Spivey, Founder, Executive Director, I Be Black Girl
  • Breakout B: Violence Prevention for Our Youth
    Youth violence is a pressing population health challenge with devastating consequences.  The impacts extend from youth to families, schools and communities. Given complex root causes, effective violence prevention efforts require the contributions of multiple sectors. In this session, attendees will hear from leaders from youth legal services, health care and community leaders on Omaha’s multipronged efforts to understand and prevent violence among our youth.
    • Speakers:
      • Megan Connelly, DNP, APRN-NP, CPNP-AC/PC, NE-BC, Vice President, Community Health & Advocacy, Children’s Nebraska
      • Karla Dush, Director, Community Connections, Creighton University School of Law
      • Denis Lemus, JD, Staff Attorney at the Juvenile Justice Legal Clinic, Creighton University School of Law
      • Teresa Negron, Executive Director, YouTurn

Breakout Sessions Round 2:
Creighton and the Community—Working Together to Address Today’s Health Challenges

  • Breakout A: Refugee Health & Well-Being
    Nebraska is home to more than 6,000 refugees and growing. Addressing health needs and health-related social needs of the refugee population is critical to resettlement. This requires access to healthcare services, including mental health, as well as identifying social supports such as ESL classes, educational opportunities, jobs, housing and more. Join this session to learn how Creighton, CHI Health and the community are supporting better health and well-being for refugees in Omaha.
    • Speakers:
      • Tanyaradzwa DeWolf, Director, Refugee Services, Refugee Empowerment Center
      • Becca Huju, Program Manager, Local Community Engagement, Schlegel Center for Service and Justice, Creighton University
      • Naureen Rafiq, MD, FAAFP, Associate Professor, Creighton University School of Medicine
  • Breakout B: Overcoming Barriers to Access  
    Many communities — urban and rural — lack reliable access to many kinds of care, including medical, mental and behavioral health, and dental services. The barriers are many, and understanding these barriers within specific populations is essential to overcoming them and providing appropriate, timely care to patients. In this session, participants will hear from leaders who are committed to expanding access to care for their communities, both in rural Nebraska and urban Omaha.
    • Speakers:
      • Ashley Aubry, Healthy Smiles, Creighton University  
      • Errik Ejike, MPH, Chief Executive Officer, North Omaha Area Health  
      • Shannon Kinnan, MD, psychiatrist, OneWorld Community Health Center, Associate Professor, Creighton University
      • Denise Zwiener, Executive Director, Buffalo County Community Partners