There are many incredible people working every day that share a passion for bringing innovative healthcare solutions to large populations of people. A new area of focus in the effort to do so is called Inclusion Health. Inclusion Health is a developing approach that aims to target extreme health and social inequities. Inclusion health focuses on target populations have common adverse life experiences and risk factors such as poverty, homelessness, imprisonment, drug addiction and childhood trauma that ultimately lead to social isolation. Subsequently, these populations have extremely poor health, multiple illnesses, and are likely to experience premature death. Likely, these people also face numerous barriers to actually accessing health services that they need.
Many times the people that become socially isolated are suffering from something called tri-morbidity: physical sickness, mental illness and addiction.
The Inclusion Health movement aims to highlight these issues and the magnitude and consequences of extreme health inequity in our society, the need for preventive and early intervention approaches, and find ways to improve access to essential health services for individuals harmed by social exclusion.
We are very fortunate to be joined on this episode by an individual that has dedicated his career to helping people that are suffering from social exclusion and all of the health issues that come with that. Stuart Fisk is a passionate and devoted healthcare provider that works to eliminate healthcare inequality.
Stuart Fisk is the Director of the Center for Inclusion Health of Allegheny Health Network and a nurse practitioner with the Positive Health Clinic at Allegheny General Hospital.
Fisk has been involved in HIV activism, research, nursing, and prevention since 1988, and has provided hospice, nursing and medical care for persons living with HIV disease since 1992. He has dedicated his career to helping socially and economically marginalized people and is often asked if his work can be disheartening. He says, that the work isn’t sad, the broken system aimed at serving people in need is disheartening.
After finishing nursing school, Stuart Fisk then worked as a hospice nurse in San Francisco’s gritty Tenderloin district where single-room occupancy hotels served as housing for members of marginalized populations, many with HIV/AIDS who were not getting care. He credits those people for really teaching him not only how to be a nurse but more importantly how to be a human being. That dedication to people fuels his work to this day. Fisk moved to Pittsburgh, PA in 1996 and started to work with the then West Penn Allegheny Health System which is now the Allegheny Health Network. He started an HIV program in 1998.
The idea for the Center for Inclusion Health, formed in 2014, came from his desire to identify populations within the system facing significant barriers to care and change things throughout the system to better serve them.
In 2016, Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum wrote that “like the revolutions that preceded it, the Fourth Industrial Revolution has the potential to raise global income levels and improve the quality of life for populations around the world.”
He continued: “In the future, technological innovation will also lead to a supply-side miracle, with long-term gains in efficiency and productivity. Transportation and communication costs will drop, logistics and global supply chains will become more effective, and the cost of trade will diminish, all of which will open new markets and drive economic growth.”
And so the term Fourth Revolution was coined as a way of describing a future based on the blurring of boundaries between the physical, digital, and biological worlds. It’s a combination of developments in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, genetic engineering, digital platforms and other technologies. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is about more than just innovation-focused change. It is also an opportunity create an inclusive, human-focused future. According to Schwab, “the changes are so profound that, from the perspective of human history, there has never been a time of greater promise or potential peril.”
The COVID-19 Pandemic is certainly putting this theory on change and the future of the world to the test. It has quickly forced all of us to become more reliant on technology and has put us in the position to be more open to experimenting with inventive solutions to the new problems that this global change has created.
Even before the pandemic, today’s guest believed that the world of innovation is in need of a refresh. Alexandre (Alex) Lazarow believes that this refresh comes from what he calls the “frontier” - - the growing constellation of startup ecosystems, outside of the Silicon Valley and other major economic centers, that now stretches across the globe. The frontier is a place where startups often must cope with political or economic instability and lack of infrastructure, and where there might be little or no access to traditional investors.
Alex has spent his career working at the intersection of investing, innovation, and economic development in the private, public, and social sectors. He is a venture capitalist with Cathay Innovation, a global firm that invests across Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America. Previously, Alex worked with Omidyar Network, a philanthropic investment firm that has invested over a billion dollars in hundreds of startups around the world. He has served as a strategy consultant with McKinsey & Company, a financial regulator with the Bank of Canada, and an M&A investment banker with the Royal Bank of Canada.
His new book on innovation in the future, Out-Innovate, was published by Harvard Business Review Press. It was one of the three finalists for the best book proposals exploring emerging business themes, a competition co-hosted by McKinsey and The Financial Times, organizers of the Business Book of the Year Award. Out-Innovate was named a "Top Book To Inform Your Technology And Innovation Strategy” by Forbes, “The Hottest New Business Book” by Tech Collective and was the #1 Release in Venture Capital on Amazon.