2017 Symposium - "Building a Healthy Dayton: Next Steps”

MARCH 25, 8 A.M. TO 1:30 P.M.
John F. Kennedy Memorial Union
Thank you to all who participated in this year's symposium.  We hope to see you next spring.

A day for dialogue.

The University of Dayton and Miami Valley Hospital Healthcare Symposium is a unique opportunity for UD students, alumni, healthcare professionals and community members to come together for a day of dialogue and continuing education.

The 2017 symposium will continue and build upon the theme of the 2016 symposium by keeping focus on ways to expand our vision of healthcare in order to successfully meet the physical, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual needs of patients and families towards building a healthy community.  Our featured keynote speaker will discuss these issues in the context of “blue zones.”

plenary session

What do the citizens of Ikaria, Greece; Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; Loma Linda, California and Nicoya, Costa Rica have in common? What is it about their daily routine that makes them live longer, healthier lives? Why are the people in these communities reaching 100 years of age at rates 10 times greater than in many other communities? What factors distinguish these communities as “blue zones?”

After identifying the world’s Blue Zones, Dan Buettner and National Geographic took teams of scientists to each location to identify lifestyle characteristics that might explain longevity. They found that the lifestyles of all Blue Zones residents shared nine specific characteristics. They call these characteristics the “Power 9.”

Dan Buettner’s subsequent book The Blue Zones hit the New York Timesbest-seller list and took Buettner everywhere from Oprah to TED to Bill Clinton’s Health Matters Initiative. The success prompted a new challenge: could a Blue Zone be built in the U.S.?

In 2009 Blue Zones partnered with AARP and the United Health Foundation to apply the Power 9 principles to Albert Lea, Minnesota. After just one year, Blue Zones reported that participants added an estimated 2.9 years to their average lifespan while healthcare claims for city workers dropped 49 percent. Harvard’s Walter Willett called the results “stunning.”

Blue Zones is now working to build Blue Zones in cities and businesses across the country. The Blue Zones Project is a systems approach in which citizens, schools, employers, restaurants, grocery stores and community leaders collaborate on policies and programs that move the community towards better health and well-being. The Blue Zone mission is to help people live longer, better lives.

The community in Albert Lea, Minnesota has worked for the past eight years on their "Blue Zones" project.  An Irish film crew has documented their progress and produced a short video featured below.  View this short video to see how a “Blue Zones community” creates, implements and sustains a “Culture of Well Being.”


This year, in addition to Nick Buettner’s keynote presentation ““The Blue Zones Project: Building Healthier Communities,” several local health professionals will provide “TED Talk” style presentations focusing on specific challenges facing our community’s health.

  • The Health of Dayton - Jeff Cooper, MS, Montgomery County Health Commissioner and Jessica Saunders, MPA will give an overview of the top health issues in Montgomery County and how these issues impact our neighbors, colleagues, and patients. Participants will look at these issues through the lens of the social determinants of health to set the stage for subsequent sessions throughout the day.
  • Birth Outcomes - A Barometer of our Community’s Health. Sara Paton, PhD and Terra Williams, MPH will examine the critical issues of infant mortality and birth outcomes in the greater Dayton area.
  • Place-Based Change - Food for Thought. Marietta Orlowski, PhD will discuss local food support systems and initiatives, focusing on neighborhood (place-based) interventions.
  • The Opioid Epidemic - Recovery is Possible. Barbara Marsh, MSW and Jodi Long, MSW will present state and local data on the Opioid epidemic as well as resources available in the community. In addition, two individuals who have struggled with addiction will share their experiences so as to help healthcare professionals gain a better understanding of how to assist those who are struggling with addiction.
  • Effective Strategies for Improvement - Two local initiatives will be discussed which aim to help healthcare providers work upstream to impact local health issues. Kate Cauley, PhD will discuss the use of community health workers in several clinical sites. Jessica Saunders, MPA will discuss the work of Dayton Children’s Family Resource Center.

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Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 2361