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May 22, 1996

Visionary Medical and Other Leaders Meet to Plan Healthier Communities

JAMA. 1996;275(20):1529-1531. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530440007002

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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.—Margaret Mead

IT WAS A soaring vision of transforming the nation's health care system: creating healthier communities by empowering citizens, developing a new civic infrastructure at the grassroots level, harnessing systems thinking and high technology, and changing to a new collaborative model of health care.

Optimism, enthusiasm, and idealism mixed with pragmatism prevailed at the fourth annual Healthier Communities Summit, sponsored by The Healthcare Forum, a San Francisco, Calif—based, action-oriented think tank. At session after session, speakers invoked the cando attitude reflected in anthropologist Margaret Mead's quoted remark.

There was the hum of high energy in the air and the sound of music, from Afro-rock to American spirituals, as some 2500 representatives of the health care system, education, local government, business, and industry gathered for inspiration, ideas, and