New Des Moines Health Conference Will Focus On Underserved Populations

“My City My Health: Des Moines” organizer Corey Dion Lewis/Photo submitted

Corey Dion Lewis’ family background is one of the things that inspired him to get into the health and wellness industry.

“When I was growing up, chronic disease was common,” he said. “I see my family suffering from diabetes [and] Didn’t really understand at the time that it was killing them.

“As I got older, I realized, ‘Wait, this is not the lifestyle I want to live.’ It really inspired me to help people in that way, and health coaching has been that vehicle for me. “

Lewis, who is black, said part of the problem was his family’s diet, which consisted of fried foods. When he enrolled at the University of Iowa in East Moline, Illinois, the native found his calling as a clinical health coach, though initially a psychology major.

“I’ve always done something in health. I always talked about health, I always liked health and realized that psychology was not for me,” Lewis said.

After a professor’s suggestion, Lewis set out to become a clinical health coach. His career took him to Des Moines, where he eventually began serving the community at Broadlawns Medical Center, a non-profit hospital owned by Polk County residents.

Now, Lewis is taking his passion for health and wellness a step further.

He hosts a first-of-its-kind health equity conference in “My City My Health: Des Moines.” The event will be held on Friday, November 11 at 1:00 am. Held at Mainframe Studios in Des Moines from 9am to 3pm.

Lewis sponsors it through “The Healthy Project,” Apple’s top 200 health podcast, which he started in 2020 as a way to visit his patients when he can’t physically be with them. Since then, it has evolved widely and discusses everything from racial discrimination in health care to ways to reduce health inequities.

“We’re still talking about prevention—because that’s where my passion started—but breaking down through a black and brown lens into a more public health perspective and what’s going on,” Lewis said.

The Health Equity Conference is the next step after those conversations.

“My City My Health: Des Moines” is supported by Broadlawns, Des Moines University, UnityPoint Health, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and more.

The event will feature four panels and speakers will include medical professionals, media personalities, fitness and wellness experts, and social justice advocates from Central Iowa and the surrounding area.

Some speakers include:

  • Anthony Coleman, CEO of Broadloans
  • Jacquie Easley McGee of the Des Moines NAACP and Mercy Medical Center
  • Urban Dream Executive Director Izaah Knox
  • Former Des Moines TV anchor Rheya Springer
  • Dana James of Black Iowa News

Lewis noted that he has attended many conferences in Des Moines that have featured speakers with no connection to the city and region. He has nothing against those events, but Lewis wanted his conference to have a more local feel.

“What I wanted to do differently is that everyone speaking in this ‘My City My Health: Des Moines’ is from Des Moines or doing some kind of sweat equity or something to improve the health of the most underserved employers. The most vulnerable population here,” he said.

Lewis wants to make this inaugural event a success in hopes of expanding “My City My Health” to other communities so he and others can share tips on health and wellness and addressing and addressing systemic issues in the health care system.

“It’s not your typical event either,” Lewis said. “I would say we bring a lot of culture to this event. It’s just going to be hype. It will be fun and educational at the same time. “

Event details

What: My City My Health Des Moines, presented by The Healthy Project

Who: Des Moines’ most influential health and community advocates will talk about what they’re doing to improve the health of our most vulnerable and underserved populations.

When: 9 am-3 pm, Friday, November 11

Where: Mainframe Studios in Des Moines

Admission: $45


By Ty Rushing

To contact Senior Editor Ty Rushing for tips or story ideas, email him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter @Rushthewriter

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