Register now for the Verdant Healthier Community Conference on Feb. 27

Set aside a day this year to spend with the Verdant Health Commission and other community members learning from experts about ways we can live our healthiest and happiest lives. View the agenda below, or jump to detailed descriptions of sessions and presenters.


Register now on the Eventbrite registration website. Contact us at (425) 582-8600 with questions.


Date: Monday, February 27, 2017

Time: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Location: Lynnwood Convention Center, 3711 196th Street SW, Lynnwood — free parking available

Cost: $49 Early Bird registration through Jan. 31. $69 Regular registration starts Feb. 1. Registration includes healthy breakfast and lunch buffets. Scholarships are available. Download the conference scholarship form for details or to apply for a scholarship.

Master of Ceremonies: 

  • Bob Drewel, WSU North Puget Sound at Everett


  • Anthony B. Iton, M.D., J.D., MPH, Senior Vice President of Healthy Communities, The California Endowment. Dr. Iton will present on health equity.
  • Kevin Breel, writer, comedian, and activist for mental health. Breel will speak about mental health.
  • Remarks from Verdant Superintendent Dr. Robin Fenn and the presentation of Verdant’s community awards.

Breakout Sessions:

Choose sessions to attend from these topics:

  • Healthier Body
  • Healthier Mind
  • Making Health Happen

To register, visit the Eventbrite registration website or
contact us at (425) 582-8600 with questions.

Thanks to our sponsors for their support!




8-8:30 a.m.

Arrival & Check In
Help Yourself to Healthy Breakfast Options

8:30-9:30 a.m.

Breakfast Keynote
Anthony Iton, M.D., J.D., MPH, Senior Vice President for Healthy Communities at The California Endowment, speaking on health equity

Interest Tracks

Healthier Body

Healthier Mind

Making Health Happen

9:45-10:35 a.m.

Healthy & Delicious: How the Mediterranean Diet Works

Coping With Anxiety & Depression

Advocacy Training: How Do You Tell Your Story?

10:50-11:40 a.m.

Local Views on Health Disparities

What Do We Do About Substance Abuse?

Hidden in Plain Sight: Practical Solutions for Small- to Medium-sized Employers

11:55 a.m. –
1:10 p.m.

Lunch Keynote
Kevin Breel, Writer, Comedian, and Activist for Mental Health, speaking on mental health

1:25-2:15 p.m.

Effective Prevention

Do Race and Ethnicity Matter in Mental Health?

How Do You Successfully Engage Your Community?

2:30-3:20 p.m.

Nutrition as Medicine

Yoga: Mind, Movement & Meditation

Improving Our Environment for Everyday Health

3:35-4:15 p.m.

Closing Presentation
-Remarks from Verdant Superintendent
Robin Fenn, Ph.D., LICSW
-Presentation of Verdant’s Community Awards
-Network Opportunity
Please enjoy refreshments, information booths, and networking to close out the event at the conclusion of the presentation.

Presenters and Session Details

8:00-8:30 a.m.  Arrival & Check In

Attendees are welcome to arrive any time after 8:00 a.m. to check in and get breakfast from the buffet.

8:30-9:30 a.m.  Breakfast Keynote by Anthony Iton, M.D., J.D., MPH on health equity

Anthony Iton, M.D., J.D., MPH is Senior Vice President for Healthy Communities at The California Endowment, a private, statewide health foundation whose mission is to expand access to affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities, and to promote fundamental improvements in the health status of all Californians. Prior to joining The California Endowment, Dr. Iton served as the Alameda County Public Health Department Director and Health Officer. He has experience practicing both medicine and law independently, which has enabled him to blend both disciplines in the day-to-day practice of public health. Dr. Iton’s primary interest is the health of disadvantaged populations and the contributions of race, class, wealth, education, geography, and employment to health status. He will explain why your zip code is more important than your genetics for your health, provide examples of how this is evident, and share success stories from communities around the nation where they are directly addressing health disparities.

9:45-10:35 a.m.  — Healthier Body — Healthy & Delicious: How the Mediterranean Diet Works

Learn and taste the secrets of the Mediterranean Diet. This diet and lifestyle pattern has been associated with promoting better health and lowering the risk of many diseases such as heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. Come to this session and learn why, year after year, health care professionals vote the Mediterranean Diet as the healthiest diet. Enjoy a taste of the food as well!

9:45-10:35 a.m.  — Healthier Mind — Coping With Anxiety & Depression

Life can be difficult at times, and many find themselves struggling with depression, anxiety, stress, and more. But we know that those struggles do not define that individual, and there is always hope for a balanced, healthy, and happy future. During this session, hear from Edmonds-based behavioral health expert Gregory Jantz, Ph.D., on what he sees trending in these areas and how we – as society and individuals – can help.

9:45-10:35 a.m.  — Making Health Happen — Advocacy Training: How Do You Tell Your Story?

Stories communicate our values through the language of the heart, and it is what we feel — not simply what we know — that can inspire others with the courage to act. This interactive session, led by Luis Ortega of Storytellers for Change, will help you to learn a 3-step storyteller framework to craft a story to get your message across.

10:50-11:40 a.m.  — Healthier Body — Local Views on Health Disparities

This session will build on the discussion from the morning keynote with local examples and data. Panelists will share data from our community on health disparities and they will discuss how they are addressing these challenges by serving high-need communities and populations.  They will also explore opportunities for how, as a community, we can better address health disparities.
– Anne Farrell-Sheffer, MPH, Health Access Department Director, YWCA Seattle King Snohomish
– David Jefferson, Community Health Analyst, Skagit County Public Health
– George Kosovich, Assistant Superintendent, Verdant Health Commission

10:50-11:40 a.m.  — Healthier Mind — What Do We Do About Substance Abuse?

Snohomish County has the highest rate of heroin overdoses in Washington State. In this session, a speaker from Snohomish County Human Services and the leader of Evergreen Recovery Centers will discuss the most pressing aspects of substance abuse in Snohomish County. Learn how the substance abuse epidemic has grown, the prevention efforts underway and what you can do to help.

10:50-11:40 a.m. — Making Health Happen — Hidden in Plain Sight: Practical Solutions for Small- to Medium-sized Employers

The Economic Alliance of Snohomish County, (EASC), and the WORKWELL Center for Workforce Health at Providence Institute for a Healthier Community have partnered to launch the Snohomish County Workplace Health & Productivity Initiative. With skyrocketing health insurance costs, better workplace health can make for more attractive employers, improve business performance and increase revenues and profits. Hear from the WorkWell Center, EASC and four local organizations — all signatories to the countywide LiveHealthy2020 initiative — in this interactive session. They will share programs, tools and resources used to increase employee health and wellness, without spending a great deal of money.

11:55-1:10 p.m.  Lunch Keynote by Kevin Breel on mental health

Kevin Breel’s gift of speaking honestly about his depression, mixed with his ability to make anyone laugh as a stand-up comic, makes for a unique and inspirational story that disrupts how we engage with mental health. Kevin reflects on his own upbringing, what finally lead him to opening up and speaking with a counselor and the overwhelming support he received from his TED Talk, which now has over 4 million views. In his real approach, Kevin does not hold back on his own struggle in hopes to relate to those who are suffering and provides insight into how we can all help one another.
Kevin discusses why he does what he does:
“Because I’m a stand-up comic, people ask me a lot why I talk about this stuff. Most people ask because they think it’s an ugly thing to talk about. Depression, addiction and suicide are topics that people tend not to talk about. Unfortunately, they are also topics that hit home for me, my family and some of my closest friends in the entire world. I’ve seen the way addiction can break apart a family. I’ve seen how suicide shatters communities. And in my own personal life, I’ve wrestled with some of these issues myself. The unfortunate reality of this situation is this: we are waking up in a world where there are more than a million suicides each year. In North America, more people die because of suicide than because of car crashes. I think these things are worth talking about. I know that they are. For whatever reason, sharing my story as a teenager on the stage at TED was something people connected to. Now, I’ve been put in a position to be a person to do some of that talking; to maybe spark a new conversation and a chance at creating change.”

1:25-2:15 p.m. — Healthier Body — Effective Prevention

In today’s fast-paced society, how can you make healthy lifestyle choices that keep you feeling your best and prevent sickness and disease?  Hear from two local experts and learn about efforts to keep fit, stay healthy and have fun.  They will also share strategies to ensure that healthy choices become the easier choices where you live, work, and play.

1:25-2:15 p.m. — Healthier Mind — Do Race and Ethnicity Matter in Mental Health?

This presentation will explore the cultural barriers, challenges and tips when working with diverse communities around mental health issues. Leaders and advocates from the Russian/Ukrainian, Latino/Hispanic and Native American and Korean community will share their powerful voices about traditions, outreach approaches and concrete tips for providers involved with these communities. They will share their experiences and lessons learned to promote good mental health practices that are culturally appropriate and relevant.
– Sandra Huber, Outreach Specialist, Verdant Health Commission

1:25-2:15 p.m. — Making Health Happen — How Do You Successfully Engage Your Community?

Many of us struggle with authentically engaging community residents in our work.  Sparsely attended community meetings, angry “not in my backyard” responses, and endless focus groups that tell us information we already knew tend to be the norm rather than the exception.  In this interactive session, we’ll explore how we can better engage community voice in major projects and initiatives. You will have the opportunity to think through how your organization engages the community. What would it look like if you could build trust and strong relationships with the communities you serve? What if in the process you got valuable, actionable information that made your work easier? And, what if the outcomes were better?
– Ted Lord, Senior Partner, The Giving Practice at Philanthropy Northwest

2:30-3:20 p.m. — Healthier Body — Nutrition as Medicine

Whether you have chronic health issues or want to prevent them, food choices can be a strategy for better health. Hear from a local physician who integrates culinary medicine into patient care and a registered dietitian who provides nutritional guidance in a clinical setting and through community classes about healthful strategies and approaches that could work for you or the community you serve.

2:30-3:20 p.m. — Healthier Mind — Yoga: Mind, Movement & Meditation

Yoga can offer more than flexibility and fitness. Join this session to explore how yoga movements and meditation practices can create a state of mind that offers alternatives for reducing stress and augmenting health. Learn basic concepts and try a few simple exercises to see if yoga is something you might benefit from.
– Will Doran, Certified Yoga Instructor and Life Coach, The Yoga Coach

2:30-3:20 p.m. — Making Health Happen — Improving Our Environment for Everyday Health

Research shows that the physical environment we live in has more of an impact on our long-term health than the clinical care we receive in our doctor’s office. This interactive session will focus on how communities can create environments that encourage walking, biking, and other healthy activities. Participants will have the chance to discuss real-life examples in our community and discuss policy and environmental improvements.


3:35-4:15 p.m. – Closing Presentation

– Remarks from Verdant Superintendent Robin Fenn, Ph.D., LICSW
– Presentation of Verdant Community Awards
– Networking Opportunity

Please enjoy refreshments, information booths, and networking to close out the event at the conclusion of the presentation.

  • Sponsors:
  • Premera Blue Cross

  • Swedish Edmonds

  • Everett Clinic

  • Harbor Square Athletic Club

  • Community Transit

  • Edmonds Community College

  • Foster Pepper

  • The Herald

  • Molina Healthcare

  • Pacific Art Press

  • Puget Sound Kidney Centers