We wondered what would happen if we invited friends from across North America to convene in Salt Lake City, Utah around the question of Healthier Health Care Systems Now? We were amazed. We began by sharing who we are – the innovator and pioneer in us that compelled us to come to this conversation. Then we shared the exciting work we are engaged in. We talked about the “system” and discovered “it” was never A system and “it” was not about health. We moved from talking about systemic issues that felt as philosophical as we know they are real and moved into embodying the conversation, coming from a place of deep connection to ourselves, each other and the work that continues to call us in the worlds we work and travel in. The insights, themes and cool learning are just beginning to percolate for each of us. More, much more, is cooking.
It was beginning to cook before we even arrived in Salt Lake City. We discovered healthier health care was such a compelling question people went to great lengths to get there. Some initially said no and then found a way to come. Others felt the question so urgently they used vacation days and airmiles to get there. One person even crowd funded her flight.
Twenty-six of us arrived on January 11, 2012 – physicians, naturopaths, other practitioners, administrators and consultants from heath, public health, dentistry, acute and long term care from Nova Scotia, Ontario, Alberta, Ohio, Minnesota, Winsconsin, Illinois, Texas, Oregan, Washington and Utah. Everyone an innovator or pioneer already working diligently on shifting the shape of health care within their spheres of influence. We all brought stories of change and deep and compelling questions. We made instant connections that inspire us to go deeper and to keep at it.
This will continue to simmer and cook for quite some time to come. I will have more to share here about this conversation at the beginning of 2012, curious to see how it might grow as we convene a community of practice for those who were there, those who wanted to be and couldn’t make it and those who begin to find their way to this particular conversation in their own way.
I offer here a little taste of a quick and fun harvest at the end of day 2 as we went around our circle and each of us added a line to the unfolding story of our journey together. I didn’t catch every word, but it will give you some small essence of the experience, recognizing some references are very specific to our experience, and it will have to tide you over til the next post.
“There were a bunch of hooligans in a house by the mountain. They thought of themselves as pioneers, radically re-engineering, brought together by living systems that taught them how to transfer what they are learning and experiencing into what they are doing now – open to possibility. In sharing, they saw new connections and unique opportunities. They described them as opportunities to change and blow shit up. These hooligans had so much to think about, they sat in circle, played, visualized and created on many levels a new vision of what they were yearning for – simplicity, wellness, with open heart toward the future to bring this new narrative to everyone. Envisioning systems that bring forth vision and health, letting go of the old to release into timeless universe. They pondered next action. In the middle, they went deep into the cellar to share unique fonts and forms of creativity. They came together to discuss the topic but it was more than the sum of its parts – human nature – own beauty, higher power and purpose run in each of them and each other with gratitude, although we do fear discovering in horror on FB the shaking moments, with brains exploding in chaos, guerrilla gardening and permaculture parties. But then, a pause for reflection and even more to emerge. Finished. No shame. Amazing thing, working hard to create something different.. but in the end, they were different, a community – and in their differences they found their common humanity from which to go back to the places they came renewed, reinvigorated, inspired to innovate on!”
With gratitude to all who were there, all who held the rim of this gathering from afar and specifically to my fellow hosts Tenneson Woolf, Steve Ryman and Marc Parnes for an experience that will be long remembered, in a gathering where the new narrative of health was activated, the field of innovation in health care where we meet was amplified and shifting the shape of health care in our spheres of influence has been accelerated.