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Panel brings together health experts to ‘pull in same direction’


Bringing together stakeholders in the mental and physical health industries, a panel held May 25 at the Electronic Caregiver offices featured individuals from area health industries and as far away as Austria.

Serving as moderator, Dr. David Keeley, chief technology officer at Electronic Caregiver, said the overarching objective of the panel event was to stimulate conversation.

“We have resources that we did not know we have as a community,” he said. “If you look at the metrics and the data we have related to healthcare in this region, you will find that it is very important we learn how to pull in the same direction.”

Keeley, introducing the panel, welcomed Behavioral Health Clinical Director at La Clinica de Familia Jose Valdiviezo.

“Recent times have shown the importance of including the behavioral health, the mental health aspects in talking healthcare in the United States,” Keeley said.

He then introduced the rest of the panel members: Dr. Danielle Fitzsimmons-Pattison, family medicine, Memorial Medical Center; Professor Dr. Juergen Osterbrink, director of the World Health Organization’s Collaborating Centre for Nursing Research & Education at Paracelsus Medical University (PMU) in Salzburg, Austria; Emma Schwartz, president of the Medical Center of the Americas (MCA) Foundation and CEO of BIO El Paso-Juarez; and Jaime Olivas, chief behavioral health officer at La Clinica de Familia.

The first question Keeley asked was for Osterbrink, setting the tone for the conversation. Asking what the key characteristics of positive collaboration are, he noted he has seen a lot of positive competition but sometimes that competition becomes toxic.

Osterbrook said from experience where his team is teaching teams in the Ukraine, identifying goals and similar outcomes is essential. Focusing on similarities rather than cultural differences is helpful.

Answering the same question, Olivas said, “It is important that we have a collaborative approach as well as meeting physical health needs important to have the multi-disciplinary approach.”

At the end of the panel discussion, everyone agreed the approach to education of providers is a key to the future of health care.

“It’s important to help the educational system create and gain interest in the health world, specifically in the behavioral health areas,” Olivas said. “Initiating interest through elementary, middle and high school would increase connections, create real world providers.”

And Valdiviezo returned to the idea of integrated healthcare.

“It would be great if we could help to teach more about the importance of all health care and how a mental health provider can help a physical health provider, can help a dental health provider, in terms of clinical patients,” Valdiviezo said.