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Informing Policy. Advancing Health.

Of Presentations, Reports, Health Policy Conferences . . . And Hamsters

October 6, 2014

Our work on December’s Hot Issues in Health Care policy conference continues on a number of fronts.

Staff members making presentations must turn in their outlines by Friday. We’re seeing lots of quick meetings, phone and in-person interviews with experts, and brainstorming for great titles.

CHI is also updating our popular Health Words dictionary in time for the conference’s first day on Thursday, December 4. For the first time, Health Words will be available as a mobile app. This should make it even easier for health care leaders to get a quick grounding in the vocabulary of health policy, which can change quickly and is often acronym-heavy. We hear time and again how often it comes in handy. Research Analyst Nina Roumell and Public Interest Fellow Sara Robbins are teaming up on this project.

Registration is open for this great conference. For the first time, CHI is expanding it beyond lawmakers to include the wider health policy community. Contact Policy Allie Morgan with questions at or 720-382-7083.

We expect the annual survey of Colorado’s school-based health centers (SBHCs) to hit the field early this week, under the direction of our Senior Data Analyst, Becca Crepin. SBHCs are increasingly serving a crucial role in providing preventive care and other services to students who might otherwise have difficulty obtaining care.

In case you missed it, we published the results of the 2012-13 survey on Thursday. The Evolving Role of School-Based Health Centers, a report written by Research Analyst Natalie Triedman under the direction of Director of Research on Coverage and Access Jeff Bontrager, reports that the number of students using SBHCs has shot up about 50 percent in the past six years. Read Natalie’s blog here.

In the “Insight and Analysis” section of our website, Sara wrote about Coloradans and heart health and Allie delved into the decision by CVS to pull all tobacco products from its shelves, and the health and health policy implications.

Policy Analyst Jessica Fern is working on information related to the health care sector for the 50th annual Colorado Business Economic Outlook forecast by the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder, which is scheduled for release December 8.

Director of Community Health Policy Sara Schmitt is putting the final touches on a new CHI paper about telehealth in Colorado. Look for it next week. She is working with Senior Communications Expert Joe Hanel, who wrote a section of the paper and is designing it.

Sara is also meeting this week with local public health agencies about opportunities to build and expand data-sharing efforts across the health system.

Natalie and Research Analyst Tamara Keeney are preparing a presentation for the Colorado Rural Health Center’s 23rd annual Colorado Rural Health Conference next week in Colorado Springs.

This week, our team is out and about presenting and gathering health policy information and data. Senior Analyst Anna Vigran will speak to a community health assessment class at the Colorado School of Public Health on Wednesday. CEO Michele Lueck, Senior Analyst Tasia Sinn and Tamara are in Atlanta for the 27th annual health policy conference of the National Academy for State Health Policy. The theme is “Innovations Ripe for the Picking,” an important topic as CHI conducts research on all of the innovations underway in Colorado.

Finally, we leave you with the story of Mr. Snoodle the hamster, from this morning’s weekly staff huddle.

It came from Dr. Sandeep Wadhwa, senior vice president and chief medical officer of care and delivery management at Noridian Healthcare Solutions. Sandeep, a physician as well as a leading health care policy expert, shares office space with CHI when he’s not on the road.

Mr. Snoodle, his daughter Natalie’s hamster, went missing from his cage in their basement three weeks ago. But Natalie never gave up hope, putting out food and water daily for Mr. Snoodle, even as days turned into weeks. Finally, this weekend, they took the tunnels from the cage, snaked them from the furnace room to the cage, added a trail of sunflower seeds and hoped for the best.

By 10 a.m. Sunday, Mr. Snoodle was back home in his cage, safe and sound.

That was our happy ending for the start of a busy week.