Partnership for a Healthier America to Host Building a Healthier Future Summit
By Adam Brown
The Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) will hold its second Building a Healthier Future Summit from March 6-8, 2013, in Washington, DC. We cannot wait to hear from some of the smartest thinkers in the fields of obesity, nutrition, and wellness, all focused on solving the childhood obesity crisis in America. This was definitely one of our favorite conferences in 2011, and the goals of the 2013 meeting are much grander. The Summit has a few new features this year, including the End Childhood Obesity Innovation Challenge (awarding $10,000 and ~50 hours of expert support to a creative idea focused on ending childhood obesity) and the Great American School Lunch Challenge (pairing James Beard Award winning chef Jose Garces and Food Network Star Anne Burrell with representatives from two school districts to create a lunch for all 1,000 conference attendees – that will be awesome). The conference’s keynote speakers have not yet been announced, though we hope to again see Newark Mayor Cory Booker, former Senate Majority Leader Dr. William Frist (a cardiologist by training), and Dr. James Gavin (the chairman of PHA’s board of directors). Another possible speaker is First Lady Michelle Obama, who chairs PHA and has done a fantastic job of raising public awareness about childhood obesity.
As a reminder, PHA is primarily focused on reducing childhood obesity through collaborations with the private sector and other organizations. The organization has secured about 50 industry commitments to date; no small feat considering its partners include big names like Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Kaiser, and YMCA. PHA’s public-private partnership approach and full-speed-ahead attitude has been broadly welcomed, especially since the need is so great and the private sector is less financially constrained than the government. For more on the exciting things PHA is doing, please see our interview with Dr. James Gavin and Larry Soler, or visit the PHA website. –AB