Plenary Sessions

Monday, February 20

Monday AM Plenary Speakers

Plenary Session: Leading for Resilience| 8:30 AM – 9:45 AM

Conference Welcome
Rick Pollack, President and Chief Executive Officer, American Hospital Association


Fireside Chat with the American Hospital Association
Joanne M. Conroy, MD, Chief Executive Officer and President, Dartmouth Health, Lebanon, N.H.; Chair-Elect, AHA Board of Trustees
John M. Haupert, President and Chief Executive Officer, Grady Health System, Atlanta; Chair, AHA Board of Trustees
Rick Pollack, President and Chief Executive Officer, American Hospital Association


A Conversation About Resilience and Recovery at Uvalde Memorial Hospital
MODERATOR: Christina Campos, Chief Executive Officer, Guadalupe County Hospital, Santa Rosa, N.M.
Adam Apolinar, Chief Executive Officer, Uvalde Memorial Hospital, Uvalde, Texas
Eric Epley, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council for Trauma (STRAC)

Leaders from Uvalde Memorial Hospital and the Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council for Trauma share reflections and lessons from the emergency response efforts after the mass violence incident at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

Michael Easter

The Power of Leaving Your Comfort Zone | 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM

Michael Easter, author of The Comfort Crisis: Embrace Discomfort to Reclaim Your Wild, Happy Healthy Self, a contributing editor at Men’s Health magazine, columnist for Outside magazine, and professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas

In most ways, people today are more comfortable than ever. For example, we spend 93% of our time indoors in temperature control, we get our food from a drive-through window or microwave instead of by hunting and gathering, and our biggest stresses are presentations and artificial deadlines rather than ferocious tigers. This lifestyle clearly has benefits, but it also has pernicious drawbacks. Michael Easter’s investigative reporting shows that our overly comfortable and convenient lifestyles explain everything from why we feel burnout and get so stressed by events as harmless as traffic jams and work presentations, to why we’re suffering from a creativity crisis and face the highest rates of chronic mental and physical diseases in human history.

Easter spent 33 days in the Arctic and traveled the globe researching his book, The Comfort Crisis. Through vivid storytelling, he reveals the life-changing power of leaving our comfort zones. Along the way he lays out a handful of simple tactics we can use to expand our comfort zone. The result: We’re left healthier, happier, more creative and productive, with calm and grace in the face of even the biggest stressors.

Tuesday, February 21

Aimee Kulman, Travis Robey and Shannon Wu

Washington Update | 8:30 AM – 9:30 AM

MODERATOR: Aimee Kuhlman, Vice President, Advocacy and Grassroots, American Hospital Association
PANELISTS: Travis Robey, Vice President, Political Affairs, American Hospital Association
Shannon Wu, PhD, Senior Associate Director of Payment Policy, American Hospital Association

Join American Hospital Association leaders for a discussion on the latest from Capitol Hill. Learn what policies Congress is considering and what it means for rural community hospitals.

James E. Orlikoff

Powering Through the Super Storm: The Rural Governance Challenge | 1:45 PM – 3:00 PM

Jamie Orlikoff, President, Orlikoff & Associates, Inc., National Advisor on Governance and Leadership to the American Hospital Association, and health care governance expert

Challenging Mega Trends have threatened rural hospitals and health systems for years, such as the aging population, looming Medicare insolvency, approaching provider shortages, and growing rural hospital closures. The pandemic has both accelerated these trends and created others that have merged into a super storm that threatens the existence of rural hospitals and the U.S. health care system. This presentation will review these trends and the challenges they pose for rural hospital boards and leaders. Drawing on the just released 2022 AHA Governance Survey results, it will challenge boards to adopt extreme best practices to steer their organizations through the maelstrom.


Wednesday, February 22


Nadja West

Leading Through Uncertainty | 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Nadja West, First African American Army Surgeon General and Former Commanding General, U.S. Army Medical Command

According to Nadja West, the most essential quality in a great leader is empathy — where “leading is all about the team of people you lead.” This is especially true in times of crisis and uncertainty. In this presentation, West draws on her more than 20 years of experience in executive leadership, crisis management, and disaster response — including leading more than 130,000 Army health care professionals and crafting the DOD medical response to the Ebola crisis — to inspire groups to embody the essences of Army leadership and share effective leadership tactics for providing teams with purpose, direction, and motivation during difficult times. Throughout these challenges, she thought strategically, developed confidence, and stayed connected to her sense of purpose. Sharing her career lessons-learned, West demonstrates that good leadership and a loyal team come from strong communication, truly understanding your people, treating them with respect, and leading with empathy, particularly through hard times.