Bay Area Council Blog: Healthcare Archive



The Bay Area Council is taking dead aim at solving the region’s crisis-level housing and traffic problems with a 2016 policy agenda adopted this week (Dec. 3) by the Executive Committee that also targets critical water and drought issues and the growing challenge employers are facing in attracting talent across a range of skills. Under the leadership of Council Chair Michael Covarrubias, Chairman and CEO of TMG Partners, the Executive Committee developed the policy agenda over the past two months with input from the Council’s 275 member companies.

“The Council and this region are extremely fortunate to have the dedicated and visionary leadership that our Executive Committee and Board are bringing to bear against these difficult challenges,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “The priorities they have identified rightly reflect the major issues of our time, and we are confident that with their collective action the Council will start bending the curve to solve them.”

The Council’s 2016 Focus Policy Priorities include:

Workforce Housing. The Bay Area’s historic failure to build housing sufficient to meet employment and population growth is fueling an epic affordability crisis that could have long-term consequences for the region’s economic success. The Housing Committee, Co-Chaired by Lennar Urban President Kofi Bonner and TMG Partners Managing Partner Denise Pinkston, is working to significantly increase the supply of housing units and commercial space throughout the region by mitigating regulatory barriers to development of all kinds. To engage in our Workforce Housing work, contact Senior Vice President Matt Regan.

Commute Improvement. Traffic has reached crisis levels, and our public transportation systems are bursting at the seams. Under the leadership of Heller Manus Architects President Jeffrey Heller and UPS Northern California District President Rosemary Turner, the Transportation Committee is working on a range of innovative solutions that include expanding carpool and toll lanes, leveraging new traffic management technologies, emphasizing overall transportation corridors and developing new financing tools and local revenue sources for investing in maintaining and expanding capacity. To engage in our transportation policy work, contact Senior Vice President Michael Cunningham.

Water Supply and Security. Our economy relies on access to clean, reliable and affordable supplies of water. With historic drought, competing demands and a historic lack of investment in our water system, the Bay Area faces major questions about its water future. The Water Committee, Co-Chaired by Montezuma Wetlands Managing Partner Jim Levine and Suffolk Construction Company West Coast President Andrew Ball, is uniting the region’s diverse water stakeholders around these issues, working to prioritize critical investments and educating policy makers in Sacramento and Washington on the region’s needs. Ball is also leading the Council’s effort to generate support for a regional ballot initiative in 2016 that would raise $500 million from a parcel tax to fortify the region’s defenses against extreme storms and sea-level rise. To engage in our Water Supply and Security work, contact Policy Director Adrian Covert.

Workforce of the Future. The Bay Area’s fast-changing, high-value innovation economy requires highly skilled graduates for today’s in-demand jobs. Under the leadership of Co-Chairs Teresa Briggs of Deloitte and Glenn Shannon of Shorenstein Properties, the Council’s Workforce of the Future Committee is building stronger connections between the region’s employers and the universities and colleges that are educating the region’s future workforce. To engage in our Workforce of the Future work, contact Senior Vice President Linda Bidrossian.



Council Chair Michael Covarrubias called for a moment of silence at yesterday’s (Dec. 3) Board of Directors meeting to honor beloved Bay Area business and philanthropic titan Doug Shorenstein, who passed away Nov. 25 after a long battle with cancer. Shorenstein was Chairman and CEO of Shorenstein Properties, a real estate development company founded by his late father Walter Shorenstein. He previously served on the Council’s Board of Directors and was a 2011 inductee into the Council’s Bay Area Business Hall of Fame – Walter was a member of the 1998 Hall of Fame. After taking over the company in 1995, Shorenstein transformed it from a local developer to one of the largest and most-respected real estate development and management companies in the nation. He will be sorely missed.

Read about Doug Shorenstein’s life in the San Francisco Chronicle>>

Watch the Hall of Fame video of honoring Doug Shorenstein>>



The University of California’s Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) will establish a new global innovation center in Hangzhou, China, under a five-year, $90 million partnership that the Bay Area Council was instrumental in bringing together. Del Christensen, the Council’s Chief of Global Business Development, recently joined Costas Spanos, CITRIS Director, and Zhao Xikai, Deputy Director of Future Sci-Tech City in Hangzhou’s Yuhang District, in signing a memorandum of understanding formalizing the partnership.

CITRIS is a world-leading innovation institute that works to translate cutting-edge information technology research among various UC campuses, including at Berkeley, Davis, Santa Cruz and Merced, into new products, companies and industries aimed at solving some of society’s biggest problems, including in the areas water, energy, transportation, health, education, robotics and cybersecurity, among others.

Through our office in Hangzhou, the Council introduced CITRIS to leaders of Future Sci-Tech City, one of China’s premier technology and innovation centers that was established by the Hangzhou and Zhejiang provincial governments, and facilitated the many months of discussions that produced this exciting partnership. Under the MOU, Zhejiang will work with to establish a program at the Future Sci-Tech City modeled after the CITRIS program. The agreement also outlines an ongoing and robust exchange of research and collaboration in the development of new technologies.

Separate from the MOU, Hangzhou’s Yuhang District is also looking to establish its own business organization modeled after the Council’s to convene business and civic leaders in addressing key challenges and promoting economic growth.

CITRIS was founded in 2001 as a public private partnership, and its primary research center at UC Berkeley was funded in large part with a $20 million donation by Bay Area Council Executive Committee member and Marvell Technology Group Co-Founders Weili Dai and her husband Sehat Sutardja. To engage in the Council’s Global Initiatives work, contact Chief of Global Business Development Del Christensen.



Dignity Health, one of the largest health systems in the nation, is underway with a $220 million multi-phase improvement project across its 39-hospital network that recognizes the role that the physical environment has on the ability to improve healing and the overall experience of patients, their families and visitors.

“From the moment patients arrive, to their departure, every aspect of their journey of care with us should be grounded in healing for both them and their families,” said Dignity Health President and CEO Lloyd H. Dean. “Dignity Health is making this investment as part of its commitment to humankindness and to improving the experience of everyone who steps into a Dignity Health facility.

Read more details about Dignity Health’s project>>

The Bay Area Council applauds Dignity Health and Council Executive Committee Member Lloyd Dean on their dedication to health, healing and humankindness as they support the needs of their patients.



The Bay Area Council Healthcare Committee, under the leadership of Co-Chairs Jim Henry (PwC LLP) and Dr. Kent Bradley (BTN Advisors), met this week with Dr. Sandra Hernandez, healthcare champion and head of the California HealthCare Foundation. Dr. Hernandez led an important discussion about the need for expanding mental and behavioral health workforce, which will ultimately improve overall health outcomes and drive down business healthcare costs. Many physical chronic conditions are manifestations of underlying behavioral health issues which cost the state $20 billion in lost economic activity every year. Aligning resources to address these issues early on would dramatically improve overall health outcomes for patients and save on long-term medical costs to businesses. To engage in the Council’s healthcare work, please contact Bay Area Council Economic Institute President Micah Weinberg.


Bay Healthy Logo


Bay Healthy continues to gain traction in its push to improve health in the Bay Area. The initiative will be featured at the San Francisco Business Times Health & Benefits Innovations Forum on Oct. 2 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. Bay Area Council Economic Institute President Dr. Micah Weinberg will participate on a panel with other industry experts discussing how traditional healthcare and insurance models are changing as a result of innovative technology and an increased focus on personalized care. The panelists will examine some of the most innovative programs coming out of the Bay Area – including the Bay Healthy wellness campaign. Learn more about the event and register to attend.

Developed in partnership with the Business Times and presented by Sutter Health, Bay Healthy is leveraging the strength of the region’s employer community to make a meaningful impact on the health of the Bay Area. The initiative is encouraging individuals throughout the Bay Area to pledge One Thing – any small action or behavior towards improving their health. The online platform enables businesses to promote and reinforce workplace wellness programs already in place. In fact, the Bay Healthy website is so engaging and user friendly that it won a Silver W3 award this week. Check out the site and get #BayHealthy today!

To learn more about Bay Healthy or engage in the Council’s healthcare activities, contact Policy Manager Emily Loper.

Bay Healthy Logo


Bay Healthy was front and center this week (Sept. 3) at San Francisco Business Times and Silicon Valley Business Journal’s Healthiest Employers Awards celebrating corporate wellness in the Bay Area. The event promotes the value of workplace wellness and recognizes companies who are demonstrating innovation and leadership in their health and wellness programs.

Developed in partnership with the Business Times and presented by Sutter Health, Bay Healthy is leveraging the strength of the region’s employer community to make a meaningful impact on the health of the Bay Area. At the event, Bay Area Council Economic Institute President Dr. Micah Weinberg and Healthcare Committee Co-Chair Dr. Kent Bradley presented the Bay Healthy video and discussed how the initiative enables individuals and employers to pledge One Thing—any small action or behavior related to nutrition, fitness, sleep, gratitude or volunteerism—toward improving their health. It equips employers with the tools to challenge and motivate their employees to do the same. The online platform also enables businesses to promote and reinforce workplace wellness programs already in place. Click here to pledge your One Thing and learn more about Bay Healthy>>

Weinberg and Bradley were also pleased to help present awards to Bay Area’s top ranking companies who have made a commitment to promote wellness in their organizations. Congratulations to all the 2015 Healthiest Employers—especially Bay Area Council members Kaiser Permanente, Accenture, Hill Physicians Medical Group, Bayer HealthCare, CSAA Insurance Group, Webcor Builders, McCarthy Holdings, KKR, Wells Fargo Insurance, Arup and Suffolk Construction Company!

Special thanks to Bay Healthy presenting sponsor Sutter Health and Benz Communications, Dignity Health and PwC.



Bay Area Council CEO Jim Wunderman (who asked that we not run this story – sorry Jim!) on Tuesday (Aug. 25) was named to what has become THE List in Sacramento power, the Capitol Weekly’s Top 100, of “the most powerful movers and shakers in California politics and public policy.” Capitol Weekly is one of California’s most respected sources for political and government news and views. First Lady Anne Gust Brown topped the CW list, which included seven women in the top 10. His ranking at #51 (look out Anne Gust!) is a credit to his hard work building relationships, and not being afraid to have a strong opinion on behalf of our members. Two years ago the Bay Area Council opened an office in Sacramento, hired some top notch staff there, reinvigorated the Bay Area Caucus, and has routinely shuttled our Bay Area-based staff up as well to ensure our presence and engagement was felt in the State Capitol. With Washington, D.C. routinely gridlocked, much of the action for our region and our members is happening in Sacramento.
It’s not just about the staff. The Council’s easy-on-the-eyes Sacramento office provides our member companies a strong platform from which to work directly with Gov. Brown and his administration, legislators and top agency leaders on a wide range of policy and legislative issues. The Bay Area Council’s annual Sacramento Day, when we bring a delegation of business leaders to the capitol, is widely praised for the high-level meetings we secure with legislative leaders and high-level administration officials. If your company is not involved, we think you should be! Our thanks to Capitol Weekly for its work in assembling the Top 100 list and for ongoing journalistic work to enlighten and educate Californians about public policy and state governance. To engage in our Sacramento government relations work, contact Policy Manager Cornelious Burke.

See the Capitol Weekly Top 100>>

Bay Healthy Logo


Top business and industry leaders continue to join the unprecedented regional health and wellness initiative Bay Healthy. Among the most recent is Hill Physicians Medical Group CEO David Joyner.

“I will exercise at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week,” Joyner pledges. “I will schedule exercise breaks and not let other matters to get in the way. My health will be a priority because it enables me to take care of my family and employees.”

The Bay Healthy online platform enables individuals and employers to pledge One Thing—any small action or behavior related to nutrition, fitness, sleep, gratitude or volunteerism—toward improving their health. It equips employers with the tools to challenge and motivate their employees to do the same. The online platform also enables businesses to promote and reinforce workplace wellness programs already in place through its promotional story-sharing feature.

Healthy employees are more productive, more creative and less likely to experience health problems that drive up health costs for everyone. In that spirit, the region’s leading industry leaders are committing to get their companies Bay Healthy. Promoting health makes very good business sense. Other major payoffs for wellness programs include improved presenteeism and engagement with the company and its business or mission. Read the op-ed on Bay Healthy published in the Business Times>>

Presented by Sutter Health and developed in partnership by the Bay Area Council and San Francisco Business Times, Bay Healthy is leveraging the strength of the region’s employer community to make a meaningful impact on the health of the Bay Area. Special thanks to Bay Healthy sponsors Benz Communications, Dignity Health and PwC.

Click here to pledge your One Thing and learn more about Bay Healthy!



Helping companies and organizations build new partnerships and grow their business in China is among the top priorities of the Bay Area Council’s Global Initiative. So, it was gratifying to bring together recently top leaders of the UC Davis Health System and the Shanghai Yangpu District, one of China’s premier science, innovation and technology hubs.

During a recent trip facilitated through the Council’s office in Yangpu, UC Davis Vice Chancellor for Human Health Sciences Julie Freischlag met with and explored collaborative opportunities with high-ranking Yangpu officials, including Hong Huang, Deputy Mayor of Yangpu District; Xiaotong Wu, Director of Yangpu District Health and Family Planning Commission; Jun Yu, Deputy Director of the Yangpu District Mayor’s Office; and Xiongwen Zhou, Director of the Medical Affairs Division of the Yangpu District Health and Family Planning Commission. Jennifer Zou, Director of the Council’s Shanghai office, was instrumental in convening the groups. Joining Freischlag from UC Davis was Hong Liu, a UC Davis professor of anesthesiology and a member of the health system’s International Collaborations Advisory Committee. In addition to visiting several Yangpu hospitals, the UC Davis team explored:
– Telehealth and family medicine collaborations, including training and grand rounds
– Identifying hospitals interested in becoming proficient at treating thoracic outlet syndrome
– Establishing an international hospital in the Yangpu District, especially in assembling a management team and physician leaders
The Bay Area Council looks forward to working with both UC Davis and Yangpu to further develop this important relationship. To learn how the Council’s Global Initiative team can help your company identify opportunities in Yangpu and elsewhere in China, contact Global Initiatives Chief Del Christensen.