Wounded warrior to headline National Health IT Week
While serving as the platoon leader to the 3rd Infantry Division during his deployment in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Army Capt. Nathan Wayne Waldon sustained burns and lost his leg to an improvised explosive device.
During the 18 months of recovery, Waldon was determined not to succumb to the additional loss of his life-long identity as an athlete. He became active in a variety of adaptive sports programs.
During the process, he said he went from saying "I can't do that," to "how can I do that."
Today, Waldon is CEO of Reveille Group, LLC, is an avid snowboarder and has competed in the French, New Zealand and U.S. World Cups for snowboarding. He was also invited to try out for the 2014 Para-Olympics in Sochi.
Waldon currently serves as a peer mentor for other Wounded Warriors and has testified before the House on the benefits of sports during rehabilitation. And he'll be telling his story inside the beltway during National Health IT Week, at Healthcare IT News' parent company HIMSS Policy Summit, Oct. 7-8.
The other keynote is Chip Kahn, president and CEO of the Federation of American Hospitals (FAH), who kicks things off on Wednesday afternoon with his opening keynote.
Kahn has taught health policy at Johns Hopkins, George Washington and Tulane, and writes extensively about healthcare financing.
He plans to describe the healthcare policy and political environment in Washington, DC; discuss the main healthcare policy areas of focus including coverage, payment and delivery reform; and explain how health IT fits into the broader healthcare policy landscape.
Waldon, naturally, will focus on the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs continue to improve interoperability, work he said is building bright things for the future in caring for vets. For many of them, the trauma they have faced while deployed, the recovery from serious loss of limb and the emotional difficulties of learning to become independent again is challenging enough, without the obstacles posed by information glitches. The smooth exchange of information can have a critical impact on recovery.
Waldon hopes his story can help remind health IT stakeholders of the value and importance of their work, and maybe help them to remember what drew them to the work in the first place.
"Everyone can make a difference and have a huge impact on someone else's life," Waldon said, "whether they know it or not."