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Health Equity and Employee Mental Health: Paula Gonzalez Featured as Panelist at the Lehigh Valley Healthcare Summit

On Wednesday, December 6th at the Aster Event Center in Allentown, the Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce Healthcare Committee hosted the 2023 Healthcare Summit. The event was attended by local Health Care Professionals. Business Leaders, Human Resource Managers, Insurance Providers, Insurance Agents.

The Summit featured the panel discussion, "Navigating Mental Health Programs for Your Employees," moderated by Jack Stanbridge, HR & Benefits Consultant with Gallagher. The discussion also centered around Health Equity and the importance of quality care and accessibility for all. Paula Gonzalez, Executive Clinical Coordinator for The Preventive Measures Foundation, was a featured panelist, along with Eric Darling of Valhall a Veterans Services and Mitchell Lopez, Director of Outreach to Underserved Communities for NAMI LV.

Paula shared a few key insights employers can use to assist their employees:

  • The misconception between stressors and mental illness. So many things in our world have created additional stressors, including financial insecurities, fears concerning health and safety, and care for their families' well-being. These are things that contribute to mental distress but are not mental illness. Sensitivity to what their employees may be experiencing can promote compassion and empathy in the workplace.

  • Employers should take care to check in with their employees and understand that some may shy away from EAP programs due to confidentiality concerns or the inability to continue treatment once the complimentary sessions are complete.

  • Employers may want to rebrand the way they are presenting Employee Assistance Programs and therapy. It may be more appealing to offer the service as a form of life coaching to help employees navigate problem solving and develop tools for coping.

The panelists also spoke of the need for support for veterans and cultural sensitivity in the mental health space.

Anne Baum, President of Lehigh Valley Children's Hospital, was the keynote speaker for the event, and spoke on the deep need for mental health support and advocacy for children and teens.

The event wrapped with a discussion on "Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare," led by Nick Lukow of Capitol Blue Cross and Brendan Walsh, Director of Business Development for Curai Health.



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