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To the Future of Healthcare: The Willcoxon Innovation in Health Sciences Summit

Published: May 01, 2024 | Categories: MOSO Minute
To the Future of Healthcare: The Willcoxon Innovation in Health Sciences Summit

To the Future of Healthcare: The Willcoxon Innovation in Health Sciences Summit

Healthcare experts, professionals, and students from across the country gathered at Missouri Southern to commemorate the inaugural Willcoxon Innovation in Health Sciences Summit on Thursday, April 11. Taylor Performing Arts Center hosted sessions where experts described the bright possibilities for the future of healthcare in the region.

Senator Roy Blunt was the inaugural speaker for the summit. His speech delved into the progress and innovation of healthcare and education in recent years and how buildings like the Roy Blunt Health Science Innovation Center are essential to continue the advancement of those elements.

The summit continued the next day Friday, April 12 with keynote speaker, Dr. Christa Martin. Martin is the chief scientific officer at Geisinger, vice dean for research at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, and professor and founding director of Geisinger’s Autism & Developmental Medicine Institute. She explained the establishment of the healthcare system Geisinger in rural Pennsylvania and discussed the future of healthcare. Martin also delved into the significance of healthcare systems learning from one another despite competition to provide the best care for their patients.

“There are a lot of different groups coming together here in the area that have great opportunities,” Martin said in her keynote speech. “It’s great to see when people come together and try to work together instead of competing. There’s always going to be competition, but there always should be ways to work together as well.”

Drs. Catherine Satterwhite, executive director for the Center for Population Health and Equity at Kansas City University, and Robert McNab, vice president of medical education at Freeman Health Systems, took the stage. They discussed future delivery of healthcare and how important it is to serve the community of the four-states region by considering equity according to each patient’s individual needs and see how systems and policies can change to improve patients’ healthcare and overall wellbeing, which would increase life expectancy, no matter the age of the patient.

“If you’re drawing breath,” said McNab. “we can improve that functionality, and we can improve that health span.”

Afterwards Dr. Lance Forshee, associate professor of anatomy and associate director of the Anatomy Lab at Alice L. Walton School of Medicine, spoke on the presence and benefits of artificial intelligence (AI) in medicine. From predicting health post-transplant results, being used in various studies like best donor-recipient matches and outcomes, to screening medical school applications, AI is emerging in the medical field, and future healthcare professionals are incorporating it into their practice to provide better care for their patients.

“Folks are going to select physicians that meet their preferences,” said Forshee when asked about patients’ hesitations towards AI in their healthcare. “That’s how it will be ultimately until the point where everyone is using it because there are too many positives not to. We want to train future physicians how to use artificial intelligence to be good physicians.”

The summit concluded with the final panel from Dr. Mark McNemar, Mercy regional’s physician executive, and Kevin Manning, chief nursing officer at Mercy Hospital Joplin. The representatives of Mercy spoke on envisioning the future of healthcare in the four-states region from a provider’s standpoint and how to work collaboratively for the betterment of patients and their outcomes.

“The inaugural summit was a great success, engaging more than 370 participants including many students, faculty, healthcare practitioners, and community members,” said Dr. Dean Van Galen, president of MSSU. “We look forward to making the 2025 summit even better and establishing the Willcoxon Innovation in Health Sciences Summit as a widely recognized forum to discuss innovation in the health sciences. This simply would not be possible without the generosity of Dr. Bob and Dot Willcoxon—we are extraordinarily grateful.”

Willcoxon Innovation in Health Sciences Summit is a glimpse into the future of healthcare and medicine. Enlightening healthcare workers, educators, students, and patients of the upcoming developments in the medical field that will improve the lives in the region and beyond.