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Massey College of Business to Host ‘Healthy Tennessee’ Symposium Oct. 28

Experts argue improving citizens’ health is pivotal to entrepreneurial climate

Belmont University’s Massey College of Business will partner Wed., Oct. 28 with nonprofit organization Healthy Tennessee to host a free, four-hour symposium focused on the impact of healthcare and citizens’ health on the state’s entrepreneurial climate. Healthcare and education leaders will join executives from locally-based corporations and government officials to discuss why healthcare issues matter to the community and how all of these entities can best work together.

Dr. Manny Sethi, orthopedic and trauma surgeon at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the founder of Healthy Tennessee, said, “There is no issue more important to the future of Tennessee and the development of a thriving business community than the health of our citizens. Companies seek environments in which employees are not only educated, but also healthy. Currently, Tennessee ranks 45th nationally in terms of healthcare with rates of diabetes, heart disease and obesity at all-time highs. Unhealthy employees cost companies billions in healthcare dollars on an annual basis and discourage major corporations from moving to our state. That cannot continue.”

Sethi founded Healthy Tennessee to seek to improve access to preventative healthcare across the state since Tennessee has consistently found itself in the bottom third of all states in terms of its citizens’ health. Recent statistics show that 11 percent of adult Tennesseans have diabetes, almost 32 percent are obese and 33 percent suffer from high blood pressure. With healthcare consuming more and more state resources, the issues have become critical to the business community and economic development.

Dr. Mark Phillips, associate professor of entrepreneurship at Belmont University and symposium chair, added, “There’s no question that the health of employees translates into the health of a business. This may be especially true for entrepreneurs because they often rely heavily upon a lean workforce to launch and build their ventures, and therefore the health and well-being of each team member takes on greater importance.”

The symposium will provide attendees a deeper sense of the importance of healthy citizens to the business and healthcare industries around the state. The agenda will feature Commissioner of Economic and Community Development for the State of Tennessee Randy Boyd and Nashville Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Ralph Schulz. Other highlights include presenters from Healthy Tennessee, Nissan, Volkswagen, Dollar General, Asurion, Aspire, United Healthcare and Blue Cross, among others.

The symposium is free and open to the public, but RSVP is required to attend. Please email tennesseehealthcaresymposium@gmail.com to RSVP.