Bay Area Council Blog: Healthcare Archive


Council’s Early Ed Campaign Honored

The ground-breaking Talk Read Sign program that the Bay Area Council developed to promote early childhood education has been recognized with a prestigious “Effie” or Effectiveness in Advertising Award under the category of “good works.” Talk Read Sing was born at the Council’s Early Childhood Education Committee as part of an effort by then-Chairman George Halvorson to close the word and language gap experienced primarily by children in low income families.  The Council, supported by several members including Kaiser Permanente, Clear Channel Outdoor, and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, retained top advertising agency Goodby Silverstein to design the materials and entered into a partnership with Too Small to Fail and the Clinton Foundation which has grown the campaign from an Oakland effort to now Fresno, Tulsa Oklahoma, with several other cities in the pipeline. Halvorson was subsequently appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to chair California’s First 5 Commission, where the Talk Read Sing campaign has served as a key messaging tool. To engage in the Council’s early childhood education work, please contact Senior Vice President Matt Regan.


Precision Medicine Summit Zeroes in on Cost, Quality

Top leaders in the emerging field of precision medicine gathered Thursday (Feb. 25) for a day-long summit convened by the Bay Area Council and hosted by Oracle with major support from Genentech. An audience of 200 heard from leading experts about the promise of precision medicine to improve how we treat individual patients, combat disease and bring down the cost of healthcare through scientific and technological advances and the use of Big Data. Delivering on the promise of precision medicine requires the ability to leverage unprecedented amounts of data, and enabling seamless access to that data for researchers and clinicians is one of the most important things we are doing here at Oracle, Oracle CEO Safra Catz said in opening keynote remarks.

Included on the agenda was a conversation on scientific advancements with Joseph DeRisi of the UCSF School of Medicine, Garret Hampton from Genentech and Jonathan Sheldon of Oracle. Genomic CEO Kim Popovits sat down with Blue Shield of California CEO Paul Markovich for a candid and informative conversation on public and private funding of precision medicine. And Bay Area Council Economic Institute (BACEI) President Dr. Micah Weinberg led a discussion on the promise of precision medicine to improve health and lower costs with Dr. Elizabeth Baca from the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, Manoja Lecamwasam of Dignity Health and Dr. Michael Seiden of McKesson. Dr. Otis Brawley of the American Cancer Society closed out the summit with remarks on the new frontiers that precision medicine is exploring.

To highlight just how important this emerging field is, the Council’s summit coincided with a similar gathering that President Obama convened on Thursday at the White House. To engage in our healthcare policy work, contact BACEI President Micah Weinberg.



Premature births cost businesses nationwide more than $12 billion annually in excess health care expenses. To address this problem, the Bay Area Council Economic Institute partnered with the March of Dimes Foundation to develop a new tool that lets businesses estimate the potential cost to them of premature births and provide a range of resources to help employees avoid preterm births. The new Cost of Prematurity to Business Estimator was unveiled Thursday (Dec. 10) at an event hosted by the Bay Area Council.

The event featured presentations from Economic Institute President Micah Weinberg, PhD, as well as from Dr. James Byrne, Chairman of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Santa Clara Medical Center; Tre’ McCallister, Principal at Mercer; and Dr. Maurice Druzin, Professor and Vice Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Stanford University School of Medicine outlining steps businesses and individuals can take and on the progress leading medical researchers are making.

Visit the Institute’s blog to view a recording of the webcast, and try the new — and free — tool and estimate the cost of prematurity to your business here.



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.