UT Medical Center to Host Community Forum on Poor Health of Tennesseans and Citizens in the Region

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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UT Medical Center to Host Community Forum on Poor Health of Tennesseans and Citizens in the Region

Posted: 11/10/2014
November 10, 2014 - The University of Tennessee Medical Center will host a forum Thursday, November 20 on the chronically poor health condition of Tennesseans and citizens in the Knoxville region. The discussion will highlight how the continued poor health status of citizens poses risk to the economic potential and quality of life for Tennessee communities and will identify Tennessee-led behavioral and policy initiatives that can lead to improvement.

"We know from numerous national studies and from our own experiences in the Knoxville area that the overall health of our citizens is among the worst of any state in the nation," said Joseph R. Landsman, president and CEO of UT Medical Center. "The chronically poor condition is a crisis for the Knoxville region and the state. Improvement is achievable and will require the attention of our citizens, our cities and towns, business and elected leaders. Solving this problem will require involvement by every individual and entity that shares a stake in the future of our state."

The forum will be held on the UT Medical Center campus in the Wood Auditorium, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Participants will include Landsman; Mayor Madeline Rogero, city of Knoxville; Dr. Martha Buchanan, director of the Knox County Health Department; Rick Johnson, president and CEO of The Governor's Foundation for Health and Wellness; Dr. Edward Capparelli, Oneida physician; Tom Ferriter, CEO, Bush Brothers; Dr. Matt Murray, professor, UT Center for Business and Economic Research; and Rhonda Rice, executive vice president, Knoxville Chamber and Innovation Valley.

"Tennesseans may not fully understand the depth of the problem and the consequences," Rick Johnson, CEO of the Governor's Foundation for Health and Wellness said. "The cost, year after year, in human suffering and massive amounts of capital cannot – and should not – be sustained. However, if we can come together and commit to addressing this important issue, we can help people change their unhealthy behaviors and ultimately improve our quality of life, reduce health care costs and the cost of doing business in Tennessee."

Tennessee ranks No. 42 among all states in the 2014 America's Health Rankings, an annual analysis of the health of the nation conducted by UnitedHealth Foundation.

High rates of smoking (No. 47) and physical inactivity (No. 45) contribute to high rates of diabetes (No. 46), and death from cardiovascular disease (No. 44) and cancer (No. 45). Tennesseans have a high rate of preventable hospital stays (No. 46) poor physical health days (No. 45), statistics that illustrate the high costs of workplace absenteeism, disability and health insurance costs.

The cost of treating preventable, chronic disease in Tennessee is about $6 billion a year, according to analysis by the Governor's Foundation for Health and Wellness.

The forum will focus on three key areas:

A statistical snapshot of the health of the public, including Knox, Grainger, Blount, Sevier, Anderson, Loudon, Roane, Union and Jefferson counties. How the area's poor health status poses a threat to future economic opportunity, quality of life and to state and local financial resources. A moderated panel comprised of regional health, business and economic development leaders will discuss this area. Improving the area's health profile will require local solutions involving health, business, political and civic leadership, innovative policies and access to care.

The mission of The University of Tennessee Medical Center, the region's only hospital to achieve status as a Magnet recognized organization, is to serve through healing, education and discovery. UT Medical Center, a 581-bed, not-for-profit academic medical center, serves as a referral center for Eastern Tennessee, Southeast Kentucky and Western North Carolina. The medical center, the region's only Level I Trauma Center, is one of the largest employers in Knoxville. For more information about The University of Tennessee Medical Center, visit online at www.utmedicalcenter.org.