Letter from the CEO: Remaining Teachable

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Frederick J. Ferrer, M.S.In my mind, one of the things we do well at The Health Trust is learn. As an organization, we are constantly in a state of discovery to improve and better serve our community and clients by creating new programs and initiatives.

Recently, Dr. Robert H. Lustig has taught us to take a hard look at sugar, to look at how we eat, the foods we choose, and how they affect our health. He shared his research findings on the dangers of sugar and processed foods and the diseases associated with them. He partnered with us to produce a one-hour PBS show Sweet Revenge: Turning the Tables on Processed Food. The program is now being used to help people in our communities learn and make better informed decisions when it comes to the food they eat. It has reached over a million PBS viewers across the nation.

The Health Trust staff has also done a fair bit of learning recently, transitioning our office technology systems to the new and cutting edge Google Apps. Over the course of a few months, members of The Health Trust have been training with Google to learn these new systems. Our training group, then returned to The Health Trust to train our staff to become proficient in these apps, which has improved our overall efficiency. Our commitment to learning is also evident by our decision to develop Motivational Interview competency at the The Health Trust. Our master trainers have recently completed their Motivational Interview training and will train the entire HealthTrust staff this year.


The Health Trust employees after onsite training at Google headquarters, went on to train the rest of The Health Trust employees for the transition of office software and apps to Google products.

Learning is a lifelong endeavor, and what better reminder than those seniors participating in the Digital Aging Mastery Program. The year-long program creates an opportunity for seniors to receive a free tablet and get trained in how to use them. Learning has enhanced their lives by connecting them with family and friends while also providing access to a wealth of information.

Sometimes trying a different approach is the best way to stimulate learning. Our latest Disruptive Innovation grant methodology was the catalyst for a new project by Santa Clara County, vitalizing Pay for Success. The project seeks to help end chronic homelessness in Silicon Valley. It serves as a vehicle for innovative approaches to long-standing problems and does not commit government to pay for the intervention when it is not successful and will help to improve the services provided to homeless residents. As the first government Pay for Success project in California, what we learn could change the way government and organizations fund their projects.

The Health Trust was added as a beneficiary by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group Foundation to last year’s Applied Materials Turkey Trot. The result created learning opportunities for participants in our Better Choices, Better Health program which will be adding 700 participants to manage their chronic illness.

The health of our organization is based on its ability to remain teachable and remain abreast of new cutting edge technology here in Silicon Valley. Each day, if we can remain open to new ideas and learn from our experiences, not only might we learn something new, we might uncover the next great idea that will elevate our health and the health of our community.