The 2019 NPA Annual Conference was held Oct. 13-16 in New Orleans. Special activities were conducted to commemorate the 25th anniversary of NPA.

The Opening General Session on Oct. 14 featured the keynote address “Promoting Pride in Health Care” by Liz Jazwiec, RN, a nationally renowned speaker, author and strategist with more 30 years of health care experience. She shared her passion for leadership, engagement and strategy.

During the session, NPA premiered a video celebrating its 25th anniversary.

The theme of the Opening Night Reception was "25 Years and All That Jazz!" The event featured a performance by legendary jazz musician Wendell Brunious.

Comments by Board Chair

The Opening General Session also featured comments by Adam Burrows, MD, chair of the NPA Board of Directors.

"Last year in Portland I spoke about what makes PACE radical, about the radical promise of PACE. This year I'd like to extend that promise one step further," said Dr. Burrows. "I am by nature an optimist; and, as an optimist, I see in this historic moment, this often troubling historic moment, a possible silver lining, the possibility that we may be getting serious about peeling back the whitewashing of our nation's history.

"I've been to New Orleans many times. I always enjoy coming to this town," he said. "Until recently, I managed, in my willful ignorance, to gloss over the fact that this city was the capital of our domestic slave trade, a place where a million men, women and children were bought and sold. And until recently, there wasn't a single historic marker to remind me of that fact."

The service area of his PACE organization in Boston "is comprised of the city's inner neighborhoods, a convenient euphemism," he stated. "It turns out that our service area corresponds neatly to redlined neighborhoods – neighborhoods outlined in red on official maps; red lines created by government policy that systematically deprived neighborhoods inside those lines of loans, mortgages and investment; red lines that meant persons of color were welcome inside those lines but not outside them. We still live with the legacy of those red lines."

Today, he said, "those same neighborhoods are experiencing large-scale displacement – our participants, their families and our workers facing eviction and forced to move away. We speak of our PACE participants as frail, vulnerable, disabled, medically and socially complex. But what we don't always say, except in reference to their Medicaid eligibility, is that they're poor. And in our cities at least, that means that they're disproportionately black or brown. According to a recent study, the average net worth of a white household in the Boston metropolitan area is $250,000, while for a black household it's $8.

"Likewise, when we look at our workforces, we find that our leaders and professional staff are mostly white, while our direct care workers, those lowest on the wage scale, are disproportionately workers of color. It's so much a part of our social fabric that often I don't even notice," Dr. Burrows said. "I make these observations not to scold or preach but to remind us that in PACE we have always been on the frontier. We have been pioneers. We have been innovators. We have taken risks. We have been in the vanguard."

One of the radical features of PACE, he said, "is that we serve communities. We work in neighborhoods – neighborhoods where our participants, their families and our workers live. That imposes on us unique responsibilities and opportunities. So I invite us to be part of the solution. Let's talk about poverty and race, as hard as that is. Let's be part of the reparations. Let's provide career ladders for our employees. Let's hire family caregivers. Let's diversify our leadership. Let's be sensitive to the hardships faced by our participants and their families. Let's listen to our social workers."

And, he concluded, "Let's stay radical."

For More Information

To learn more about conference events and activities, view the Conference Program.

For more information about the conference, contact Venise Lewis, senior vice president of PACE Education and Learning.

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