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Conference Wrap Up: What Happens in DC Doesn’t Have to Stay in DC

Posted By Matthew P. Martin, Friday, October 24, 2014

Sitting at my desk, surrounded by familiar objects in my office, I cannot believe that I was in DC last week for the 2014 CFHA Conference. It feels like I woke up from a dream Tuesday morning and found myself back in Kansas. But the conference materials and the poorly written notes in front of me attest to two things: yes, I was in DC and, yes, it was a great conference.



I drove to the conference on a Wednesday through heavy rain and wind and then left on a Monday with sunshine and a calm breeze. The symbolism is not lost on me. I came to the conference with wishes and concerns and left with a sense that we are headed in the right direction as an organization. How do we keep that optimism and energy going? How do we start to implement all those ideas that distilled upon us in DC like dew? 



Well, let us first reflect. Here are some cool things that happened last week:

- CFHA leaders and advocates met with important people on Capitol Hill for a historic summit meeting to discuss the CFHA policy agenda

- CFHA celebrated its 20th anniversary by holding conference in the very same hotel as the first conference

- Parinda Khatri stepped down as CFHA president after a very successful year and passed the torch onto Rusty Kallenberg

- Four terrific plenary speeches were given:

Richard Frank, PhD spoke on the robust evidence behind integrated behavioral health care and the incredible need for delivery reform

William Beardslee, MD argued that family-centered care is key for mental health promotion and prevention but that we need more proper training and measurement

Marci Nielsen, PhD, MPH told us that we have too many people defending the status quo and that we must convince them with data and stories to make healthcare more patient-centered

Russell Glasgow, PhD and Deborah Cohen, PhD argued that program evaluation is vital for determining the reach, effectiveness, and implementation of an intervention

Our social media team interviewed a few die-hard CFHA conference attendees and asked them why they come to this conference. Here is the video:


Now that we are back in the swing of things, you may be wondering how to effectively implement all the great ideas you picked up in DC. Here are five ideas for doing just that:

1.      Dear Diary

Reflection is a great skill for developing self-awareness and for activating your parasympathetic nervous system. Make time to write down and organize your thoughts and impressions from the conference. Write a list of short- and long-term goals. Decide what changes are possible and meaningful for your organization.

2.      Thank You and Good Night

You probably met some great people at the conference. If you have contact information, reach out to that person to thank them for a conversation or presentation given. Talk about the ideas you got from the conference and what you plan to do. Networking is great for creating collaboration and energy.

3.      Blogs and Videos

Blog posts were written for each plenary speech and video recordings of the speeches should soon be made available. Make good use of these to remind yourself what you learned.

4.      Portland, Here I Come

Did you think of a great presentation idea for next year’s conference? Start now by fleshing out your idea and bouncing it off of other people. The submission deadline will be here before you know it.

5.      Through the Haze

Forgot what sessions you attended? Download the “Guidebook” app to review all the conference presentations including the names and affiliations of the presenters. Did you miss out on a particular presentation? Contact the presenters and ask them if they would be willing to send slides and handouts to you. 


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CFHA is a member-based, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to making integrated behavioral and physical health the standard of care nationally. CFHA achieves this by organizing the integrated care community, providing expert technical assistance and producing educational content.