The Young Health Leader Summit is a one-of-a-kind event for health care heroes to come together and tackle some of the biggest challenges in the industry. The event also hosts a unique competition where the young health leaders are tasked with "doing the most good" in 24 hours.

The 2022 Young Health Leader Summit was in a word: inspirational. The first-of-its-kind event connects early career health care leaders to career development and community impact opportunities including a Community Impact Competition. I had the opportunity to attend and get a behind-the-scenes look at the event. Hosted by the Advancement League at SAS headquarters, the summit opened conversations aimed at change. SAS’ own Alex Maiersperger is a co-founder of the Advancement League and noted that the 2022 event was a chance to "bring the kindest collection of health care talent together and make a meaningful difference."


Heroes unite

This year nearly 100 leaders ranging from CEOs to health techs, doctors, nurses and health care students came together for the three-day summit. I was blown away by the talent and passion of these leaders from all across the US. Throughout the event, participants had the chance to attend keynote sessions and various fireside chats including one on eradicating cancer.

One of my favorite topics presented was patient dignity. People aren’t typically happy to come to hospitals – which presents the issue: how can we focus on patient experience and make it more enjoyable to dignify our patients? People deserve dignity regardless of their background or circumstance.

Another key takeaway for me was learning to have a mindset that all things are possible with a culture of innovation. As a leader, I learned you must give permission space to both learn and fail to address this challenge. By having open conversations and permission space you can take what is out there and apply it in a different way.

Beyond this, there were opportunities for networking and breakout sessions led by industry professionals including a session on machine learning and AI.

I was impressed that attendees were not afraid to tackle the hard subjects in health care. Conversations around accessibility and resources occurred naturally as leaders addressed making healthcare accessible for all. I learned that healthcare is more than just the traditional doctor's offices and hospitals. It is about whole-person well-being which includes food, housing and happiness. It was a transformational experience for all involved.

But don’t just take my word for it! While sitting in the crowd, I overheard attendees sharing thoughts on how “Being here opens my eyes” and “What can I do to help bring healthcare back to the people?”

Angel Valladares, a first-year attendee of the summit, notes that “Having the opportunity to show up as my authentic self and meet others to have meaningful conversations about the challenges in healthcare from diverse leavers is refreshing.”

The power of good

One of the main events for the summit is the Community Impact Competition. Attendees were placed into groups and given cash to go and “do the most good” in the local community in 24 hours. This no-rules competition allows the young leaders to enact change in the local community however they see fit. This year, five separate teams were each given $1500 each. The winning team would receive $2500 to go back to their cause.

Groups took on a variety of issues including food insecurity, affordable housing, childhood wellness and more. This year, two of the groups decided to merge and combine their money for a cause making four teams total. The leaders saw success by going directly to the community and asking what they needed most, as opposed to making decisions for the community.

black farmers market

Several groups partnered with local organizations including:

  • Urban Ministries of Durham to make kitchen kits for families.
  • The Raleigh Women’s Center to help fund women’s mental health and provide needed donations.
  • Habitat for Humanity for the "Cost of Home" campaign.
  • The Black Farmers' Market to bridge the gap in food security.
  • Local elementary and middle schools to set children up for future success.

One of the judges, Trevor Brand noted, “You all did something in less than 24 hours that some organizations would take 10-12 months to do.” This competition enacted change in the hearts of attendees, fueling inspiration as they travel back to their hometowns.

And the winner is…

Team Triangles First Flight ultimately won the competition for their donation of kitchen kits to 15 families at Urban Ministries of Durham. Winners were selected based on the efforts that had the greatest impact and could be replicated. The group plans to use the $2,500 winnings to give gift cards to Food Lion for the 15 families.

The true winners though were all the bright young minds that were in attendance. In fact, 94% of attendees said that the people were the best part of the event. The event brought together young healthcare professionals from across the US, forming lifelong relationships and instilling a sense of inspiration in attendees as they brought back these lessons.

Alex Lipinski, a first-year attendee of YHLS, shared her experience with me. “This is my favorite conference of any kind. It is nice having something just for me as a young leader in health. I was able to learn and share from others like me. It was powerful being able to participate in the Community Impact Completion and have the opportunity to give back. And while I may not always have $1,500, the amount is not important. It is about leadership and how anyone can do it to make an impact.”

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About Author

Emily Johnson

Associate Marketing Specialist at SAS

Emily is an Associate Marketing Specialist at SAS as a part of the Marketing Rotational Program. Through this, she has been able to explore different passions in marketing and refine her skills in campaign strategy, market research, and communications. As an avid people person and innovative storyteller, Emily is excited to continue her journey here at SAS.

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