U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams and Dr. Karen DeSalvo to keynote 2018 Healthier Texas Summit

AUSTIN—Jerome M. Adams, M.D., the 20th Surgeon General of the United States, will give the opening keynote address at the 2018 Healthier Texas Summit, which is being held in Austin Oct. 25-26.

The two-day summit, which is a collaboration between The University of Texas System and the non-profit organization IT’S TIME TEXAS, will convene health leaders, providers, clinicians, researchers, educators, organizations, advocates and community representatives from across the state who share the goal of empowering Texans to lead healthier lives and build healthier communities.

Dr. Adams will open the Healthier Texas Summit with a keynote address at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 25. Dr. Karen DeSalvo, M.D., professor of population health at UT Austin Dell Medical School and former acting assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will deliver a keynote address at 12:15 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26.

“Dr. Adams and Dr. DeSalvo are true public servants,” said David Lakey, M.D., vice chancellor for health and chief medical officer for the UT System. “They are also innovative thinkers and leaders, and have both been at the forefront of modernizing our nation’s health system, improving care and access for millions, and tackling some of our most urgent health challenges. It is an honor to have them keynote this year’s Summit.”

As surgeon general, Adams oversees the operations of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, which has approximately 6,500 uniformed health officers who serve in nearly 600 locations around the world to promote, protect and advance the health and safety of the nation and the world. He was sworn into office on Sept. 5, 2017.

Dr. Adams, a board-certified anesthesiologist, served as Indiana State Health Commissioner from 2014 to 2017 and has served in leadership positions at a number of professional organizations, including the American Medical Association, the Indiana State Medical Association and the Indiana Society of Anesthesiologists. He is the immediate past chair of the Professional Diversity Committee for the American Society of Anesthesiologists.

While serving the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) during the Obama Administration, Dr. DeSalvo oversaw 12 core public health offices and 10 regional health offices across the nation. Under her leadership, HHS set and met historic goals in payment reform, supported transformed models of care delivery (including in primary care), and changed the approach to information distribution in the health system. DeSalvo also served as the national coordinator for health information technology from 2014 to 2016, a role in which she was responsible for setting national strategy and policy on health IT and focused interoperability in the health setting.

Prior to her national service, DeSalvo served as the Commissioner of Health for New Orleans, leading the public health efforts following Hurricane Katrina. Dr. DeSalvo joined the Dell Medical School in 2018.

The theme of this year’s Summit, which is presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas in partnership with the Texas Health Improvement Network, is Uniting to Transform Health in Texas. It will feature more than 40 breakout sessions, symposia and workshops across five tracks: Advancing Health Equity, Fostering Healthy Places, Transforming Health Systems, Powering Healthy Change, and Nurturing Community Health. Sessions will cover the most important issues impacting the health of Texans, including opioids, mental health, maternal and infant health, tobacco, workplace wellness, telemedicine and more.

"Reducing preventable chronic disease in Texas is an enormous challenge, and one that will require hard work, collaboration and innovation,” said Dr. Baker Harrell, founder and chief executive officer for IT’S TIME TEXAS. “This is why we have proudly partnered with The University of Texas System to bring together leaders from diverse sectors across Texas to forge new connections, explore the latest science, and share proven approaches to create a lasting culture of health in Texas.”

For more information and registration visit the Healthier Texas Summit website.

About The University of Texas System
For more than 130 years, The University of Texas System has been committed to improving the lives of Texans and people all over the world through education, research and health care. With 14 institutions, an enrollment of more than 235,000 students and an operating budget of $19.5 billion (FY 2019), the UT System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States. UT institutions produce nearly 59,000 graduates annually and award more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees and almost two-thirds of its health professional degrees. Collectively, UT-owned and affiliated hospitals and clinics accounted for more than 7.8 million outpatient visits and 1.6 million hospital days last year. Across UT institutions, research and development expenditures total $2.7 billion – the second highest among U.S. public higher education systems – and the UT System is regularly ranked among the top 10 most innovative universities in the world. The UT System also is one of the largest employers in Texas, with more than 21,000 faculty – including Nobel laureates and members of the National Academies – and nearly 85,000 health care professionals, researchers, student advisors and support staff.

News Contact Info
Daniel Oppenheimer: doppenheimer@utsystem.edu • 512-852-3269
Karen Adler: kadler@utsystem.edu • 512-499-4360 (direct) • 210-912-8055 (cell)