Looking for Answers: From the Opioid Crisis . . . to a Network of Networks . . . to a New Curriculum


Thursday, April 14, 2016
Open data, information-sharing, data standards and interoperability may not be the answers to every question, but there’s no doubt that they are pivotal components in addressing many challenges confronting the health and human services field. And the latest – and most urgent example to buttress this point is the exploding opioid/heroin epidemic sweeping the country. 

Officials at every level of government, nonprofit organizations and communities of all socio/demographic makeup across the nation are grappling with how to address this alarming phenomenon. It stands to reason that by now we should be able to share critical data and learn from each other in order to Identify root cause issues, raise awareness and formulate and implement data informed solutions. But unfortunately - it still ain’t so! 

An Exhilarating Event at Stanford … and Much More Coming Up


Thursday, March 3, 2016
Open Data, at its heart, is about opening doors – doors to sharing vital information, doors to stimulating innovation, doors to making progress and improving lives. Recently, I learned that there are even more possibilities behind yet another door, one that for too long has stood barely ajar at the intersection of academic research and Open Data. That began to change at an exciting symposium that Stewards of Change Institute and the California Health and Human Services Agency held at Stanford University just a few weeks ago.

Looking Back to See the Future More Clearly


Friday, January 29, 2016
As the first month of 2016 zooms by, Stewards of Change is embarking on what promises to be its busiest and most productive year ever – which leads me to think about how far our field has come during the decade since SOC came into being. In particular, I remember our first national symposium at Yale, where we started a conversation about information-sharing among health and human service programs. 

2nd Blog in This 3-Part Glass-is-Half-Full Series: The Path to Progress is Paved with Social Determinants


Thursday, September 10, 2015
If you haven’t checked it out yet, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Leadership Network (in which I’m delighted to participate) is a consistently interesting and thought-provoking component of RWJF’s bold, expansive effort to create a Culture of Health in our country. I particularly liked one of the latest commentaries on this Linked-In site, which I urge you to read. It hits home for me partly because of its optimistic “we can do it” tone, which clearly comports with my own view of the future of health and human services in the U.S., but mainly because its headline resonates so strongly with the work that the Stewards of Change Institute has been doing: “Defining the measures of healthcare success.”

Pessimists Beware: This is the First of Three Blogs on Government Progress in Interoperability, Information-Sharing . . . and Social Determinants of Health and Wellness


Sunday, August 16, 2015
It’s election season, so we all hear routinely from candidates across the political spectrum about what government doesn’t do, about how inefficient it is and about how it doesn’t really strive to serve people. I’m not going to take sides in that debate, but the optimist in me has to weigh in with this: What gets lost in the cacophony of nay-saying is the reality that, whatever problems may exist, significant advances are being made on some fronts and the opportunity for even more progress has never been greater.

Musings from Our 10th Annual Symposium – and Planning for Another Decade of Progress


Thursday, July 2, 2015
The title of last week’s 10th Anniversary Stewards of Change Symposium was quite a mouthful – “Harnessing the Power of Information Operability and Social Determinants to Advance Health and Wellness Integration” – but I’m very glad to report that it provided just the right focus and framing for the event. I’m even happier to report that many of our 100+ attendees left saying they were inspired by what they’d heard and learned – and, best of all, many said that the knowledge they acquired would enable them to make substantive improvements in their own organizations’ projects and practices.

Elementary, Dear Watson, the Symposium is about Change . . . and the Future


Friday, June 19, 2015
While preparing for the Stewards of Change 10th Anniversary National Symposium – which begins next Monday at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore – SOCI President Daniel Stein met by phone a few days ago with IBM Global Business Consultant Joseph Fiorentino and Martin Duggan, who leads the IBM Curam Research Institute. Here are edited highlights of their conversation.

Daniel: Five years ago, when IBM first presented at our symposium about your supercomputer, Watson, some of the predictions about the future use of computing in the health and human services realm just blew me away. Can you talk a bit about the progress we’ve made and where you see us heading now?