For-hunger-blog-300x208By Mike Beier, ContXt CEO – U.S. healthcare costs related to hunger are estimated to be $130.5 billion a year. And with one in six Americans facing hunger, no age group is immune from this health crisis.

That is just a sampling of information we compiled when ProMedica’s Advocacy Division asked ContXt Corporation to provide materials for other healthcare providers nationwide to use to address hunger as a health issue. ProMedica’s collaborative Come to the Table advocacy initiative is making strides to end U.S. hunger, and we’re proud to play a role in the Toledo-based health system’s valiant effort.

ProMedica and two of its national partners, the Alliance to End Hunger and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, are holding summits nationwide for healthcare providers, government officials, anti-hunger advocates and other leaders. Summit participants receive the Meeting-in-a-Box we designed for ProMedica so they can help find ways to end hunger and improve health by working with various partners in their communities.

Summit Participants

Typically, people who attend conferences leave with a folder of information about a topic to review later. ProMedica wanted to give summit participants additional takeaway materials that they can use to share information about how hunger is a health issue in the United States. We worked with ProMedica’s advocacy leaders to determine how best to relay information about hunger and health – as well as some suggested ways people could fight hunger in their communities – and then tested the resulting materials with the healthcare organization’s executives.

hunger-box-300x86

ProMedica’s Meeting-in-a-Box leads healthcare providers and other community members through a discussion on the relationship between hunger and health. The meeting materials are designed for a group of six people, and they include:

A dialogue guide that serves as a script for the group’s leader. The guide gives the leader instructions on what materials and subjects to focus on as the discussion progresses.
A fold-down brochure, which each person in the group keeps, that provides a visual overview of the content to be discussed. This helps get participants on the same page and understand complex concepts.
Card exercises with data and information to supply details for discussion.
Promoting Discussion

I have given presentations at Come to the Table summits about how to use ProMedica’s Meeting-in-a-Box materials, starting with the national hunger summit on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., in February 2014. More recently, I walked participants through ProMedica Meeting-in-a-Box materials at a regional summit in Atlanta.

Summit participants have been enthusiastic about taking home a kit with materials they can use to promote discussion about hunger and health among their co-workers and community members. ProMedica, too, has been pleased with both the Meeting-in-a-Box materials and the feedback from participants.

Providing conference attendees with a tailored Meeting-in-a-Box to continue discussions on a topic is just another way ContXt employs our mainstay visual learning tool. A Meeting-in-a-Box helps sum up and even expand on information from a conference so it can be taught to others.

What do you think of using visual and written materials to discuss a topic after a conference? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Mike Beier is the founder and chief executive officer of ContXt Corporation, a management consulting firm based in suburban Toledo, Ohio. ContXt helps organizations achieve strategic objectives by translating big concepts — including strategic plans, culture shifts and process changes — with simple, effective communications tools. For more information about ContXt, please visit contxtcorp.com.