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Lurking in Minnesota’s Medical Alley

Good Thinking | December 21, 2018 | 3 min read

If you could do one thing to make the world a healthier place, what would it be?

This and some of the world’s most pressing topics in the healthcare realm were hashed out recently during the MANOVA Summit, a first-of-its-kind conference convening thought leaders from around the globe in Minnesota’s own Medical Alley.

We had the opportunity to attend the event and glean some insights. With several Preston Kelly clients in the health and wellness space, we share responsibility for staying educated and helping to move better healthcare forward. What we heard, according to the masterminds present at the event, is that the future of health isn’t coming … it’s here.

Topics were diverse and ranged from agriculture to city planning, pointing to the pervasiveness of health issues in our everyday lives – whether it’s determining how we feed a growing world, campaigning for better bike lanes, or using smartphones to manage chronic disease.

The highlight in many ways, for me, was Arianna Huffington: Founder and CEO of Thrive Global, Founder of HuffPost, and a huge proponent of self-care and wellness. Unfortunately, she learned the hard way about how critical rest is, collapsing from exhaustion in 2007. But her experience inspired Thrive Global, a company dedicated to “ending the stress and burnout epidemic.”

Thrive offers corporate and individual solutions to help people lead healthier lives, but Arianna was generous enough to provide some tips to the Summit audience:

  • Get a full night’s sleep. Research continues to reveal the connection between health and sleep. Not getting enough leads to a host of health problems, including cognitive impairment, weight management issues, and an increased mortality risk. Some studies are even starting to link Alzheimer’s to poor sleep. Net-net, sleep is not a worthwhile shortcut.
  • Disconnect. We can’t look at screens 24/7 and expect to ever feel a sense of zen. Arianna encourages people to find mini moments throughout the day to breathe, meditate, walk, etc. These mini moments can go a long way in preventing stress from accumulating so, when it is time to rest, we’re more relaxed.
  • Prioritize. If you find your mind still focused on work when your head hits the pillow, then perhaps you didn’t address the day’s most important work. Focus on what’s critical so when you go to bed, you can rest easy knowing what matters most was addressed, leaving the little things for tomorrow.

While these things may sound obvious, to a room full of healthcare execs, it probably can’t be said enough. Of course, many factors impact health – society, government, access to healthcare, socioeconomics and so on – but as the Summit demonstrated, there is an increasing focus on finding better solutions to health-related issues. And I was encouraged to see that Minnesota, with our many companies focused on health, medicine, and technology, is perhaps one of the best positioned places in the world to address some of these challenges.

The MANOVA Summit also proved that healthcare extends far beyond a singular industry. Finding ways to improve health – whether for employees, customers, ourselves, our families or the general population – is up to all of us.