FRI AM News: Keynote speech at health policy forum to highlight equity agenda; WisBusiness: The Podcast with Jennifer Rathburn, partner with Foley & Lardner

— Mia Keeys, director of health equity policy and advocacy with the American Medical Association, is promising a fun and interactive keynote for next week’s La Follette School’s Health Policy Forum. 

Keeys’ experiences and knowledge of health policy will set the stage for a message on the national narrative of health policy and equity, how it affects people locally and how it applies globally. 

“I’ll also be speaking specifically to the students who are on the public affairs track,” Keeys told “Whatever choice they make in terms of their path in life with respect to public affairs will have an impact on their families. But they need to be thinking about how their service will impact other communities.”

The health forum will take place Monday at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center in Madison. The opening keynote will be given by Drew Altman, president and CEO of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Participants will attend panel discussions on a variety of policy challenges and solutions in Wisconsin. 

Keeys said driving an equity agenda starts with reaching young people.

Along with national policies that affect health equity such as redlining and voting rights, Keeys also highlighted topics specific to Wisconsin. Some points she’ll speak to Monday will relate to the opioid crisis and maternity care. 

She noted former Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle will also take part in the event. 

“I’m sure that there’ll be things he’ll be uplifting that I’ll be echoing,” she said. 

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— This week’s episode of “WisBusiness: The Podcast” features Jennifer Rathburn, a partner with Foley & Lardner in Milwaukee and founder of the Midwest Cybersecurity Alliance. 

She discusses a recent California law change that could impact Wisconsin companies doing business there. The new law aims to give consumers more control over personal information that’s collected and used by companies. 

It applies to businesses with California-based customers, so many for-profit companies in Wisconsin that sell to residents of the state will need to follow the new law, according to Rathburn. The California Consumer Privacy Act technically took effect at the start of the year but won’t be enforced until July. 

“How we see most companies come under that law is if they have over $25 million of annual gross revenues,” she said. “Other ways which are not as typical, is if you derive 50 percent or more of your assets from essentially selling data… or if you are buying or selling more than 50,000 California residents’ consumer data.” 

Rathburn explains steps that Wisconsin businesses can take to ensure compliance with the new California law, including disclosing how consumer information plays a role in their operations. 

Listen to the podcast here: 

See a full list of podcasts, sponsored by UW-Madison: 

— A public health official in Milwaukee says the novel coronavirus has become a larger part of the planning process for the upcoming Democratic National Convention. 

“From our plan meetings to the exercises we’re conducting around preparedness for the event, this is a valuable conversation that’s entering into things,” said Dr. Nick Totaro, city preparedness coordinator in charge of DNC preparations. “It’s already entered into the planning process, but now it’s a big focus.” 

More than 50,000 visitors are expected for this summer’s event, taking place in mid-July. 

At a panel discussion hosted this week in Milwaukee, Totaro said a dozen city health and medical workers are working with the various subcommittees in charge of planning the event. Conversations are also ongoing between state and local health officials, he noted. 

In response to an audience question about the virus’ potential impact on the event, he was hesitant to make a firm prediction but acknowledged the situation could worsen. 

“Obviously, there’s not a way to describe to you how the COVID-19 virus could affect the Democratic National Convention at this point,” he said. “We could be in a situation where if there was a significant outbreak, that it could alter the convention significantly.” 

Still, he said “to speculate on that, I don’t think is a really good practice right now.” 

Another panelist was hopeful that seasonal changes could help reduce potential impacts during the summer.

“This is a respiratory virus, and traditionally our respiratory season is between October and April. So it’s a winter virus,” said Sanjib Bhattacharyya, laboratory director and special deputy health commissioner for Milwaukee’s health department. “Not that I’m trying to minimize the risk associated with that — it could go up disproportionately.” 

The number of coronavirus cases has continued to increase around the globe, though most of the 80,000 cases are still in China. Over 2,800 people have died from the new virus, but panelists noted that pales in comparison to the number of influenza deaths this flu season in the United States alone, which was over 16,000 at last count. 

At least 60 U.S. cases of the novel coronavirus have been confirmed, but Bhattacharyya expects the warming weather will help keep that number low. 

“I think there’s a good chance that this limited incident and spread of the virus, that we can contain it in the United States,” he said. 

Jennifer Miller, a spokesperson for the state Department of Health Services, says Wisconsin officials are actively monitoring the coronavirus outbreak ahead of the convention. One patient in the state has the virus, and 16 others have tested negative. 

“We don’t know exactly what the trend will be for this disease by the DNC in July, but we will continue to follow the guidance of the CDC and support national coordinated efforts to keep Wisconsinites and our visitors safe and healthy,” she said in an email. 

See more from DHS on the virus: 

— The CEO of Oshkosh Corporation says a “people-first culture” can give companies an edge in recruiting employees. 

Wilson Jones, president and CEO of Oshkosh, told WMC’s Business Day in Madison attendees that this focus on culture boosted the defense contractor’s revenue. 

According to a survey done by WMC, three-fourths of Wisconsin companies are struggling to find workers. To compete for the working population — 50 percent of which are millennials, according to Jones — Oshkosh had to be “the best game in town.”

Oshkosh, a Fortune 500 company with over 15,000 employees and about $7.7 billion in revenue, is the largest manufacturer in Wisconsin. 

“If your work environment, if your leadership is not known to be the upper end of ‘destination workplace’ then you’re going to be third or fourth choice for people,” he said. “The number one determinant of happiness is doing meaningful work with people who care.” 

In recent years, Oshkosh leadership determined workers wanted a culture that develops and trains employees, gives them a seat at the table and connects them to each other and their communities.  

Frequent, meaningful conversations were at the core of the change, said Jones. He’s seen a return on this culture investment despite Oshkosh’s market remaining relatively flat. 

Since 2016, Oshkosh has seen 10 percent compound growth in top line growth, 26 percent in operational performance, 38 percent in earnings per share and 120 percent in total shareholder return. 

According to Jones, the company’s culture incorporates internal upscaling and apprenticeships, school-to-work programs, sharing team member stories and a new headquarters building. 

“To attract talent and keep talent, we knew our work environment didn’t look like a Fortune-500 that was doing as well as we were,” Jones said. “If we could get our work environment at the right place, [we’d have] what the millennials and gen-zs want in a work environment.”

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