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October 16, 2017
Gamma Mu • Phoenix AZ
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New Pacific Regional Officers

At the end of a fabulous Regional Boule put on by Seattle's Alpha Omicron, Grand Sire Archon Coleman announced the Pacific Region officers for the next biennium. G. Bernard Brown from Xi boule is the Regional Sire, George Strait from Alpha Gamma is the new Regional Sire-Elect, Kevin Robinson from Gamma Mu continues as the Regional Grammateus, Christian Gonzalez from Gamma Zeta is the new  Regional Graptor, Landon Taylor from Epsilon Epsilon is the new Regional Rhetoricus, George Mallory from Xi is the new Regional Agogos and John Harris from Gamma Mu continues as the Regional Thesaristis. 

Archon Lipscomb to Dedicate the Center of Hope Classroom in Haiti

James Lipscomb

Archon Lipscomb will be going to Hinche, Haiti this week to dedicate the Center of Hope (Haiti)’s second classroom building on Saturday, October 7th. We expect local officials  to be on hand for the event. The building will be dedicated in honor and memory of our first teacher, Marie Cham Baro. She taught first grade from 2011 to 2013 before her untimely passing. Center of Hope (Haiti) has 2 more buildings yet to complete for its school and has an ongoing fundraising campaign. All contributions would be greatly appreciated by COHH, but most importantly by the children.

Archon Gentles Featured on KJZZ Friday News Cap

Karl E. Gentles

Goode Wright Gentles Communication’s Strategist, Karl Gentles gave his analysis on the KJZZ News Cap Show on 91.5 FM KJZZ radio. Gentles discussed the weeks political news with Steve Goldstein and Mark Brodie.

The Friday Newscap, discussed Kyrsten Sinema’s decision to run for U.S. Senate and Arizona’s Teachers Academy, among other stories.

Other guests were Chuck Coughlin, president of HighGround Public Affairs Consultants.

Listen to the entire interview by clicking here.



Race and Racism: Bill Lester (the son) speaks out boldly

It is a surprise to no one in Alpha Gamma that in the Bill Lester family, the acorn does not fall far from the tree. See this interview with Bill's son concerning his 'reception' in NASCAR

Click photo here to watch full interview.

This interview on CNN came as the controversy over NFL protests rages on, and many leading NASCAR figures have come out firmly against the idea of kneeling for the National Anthem.

The outcry from those in NASCAR against the protests has served to shine a light on the sport’s lack of diversity. Bill Lester — one of four African-American drivers ever to compete in NASCAR — spoke about his experience.

“When I came over to NASCAR, I was not really embraced. I have been booed and it was surprising to me, because, you know, I think that I did a great job behind the wheel. I think that I respected the sport. But for no reason that I can foresee, I was booed.”

Archon Gentles Elected to Morrison Institute for Public Policy Advisory Board

Karl E. Gentles

Goode Wright Gentles partner Karl Gentles is the newest elected board member of the Morrison Institute for Public Policy Advisory Board. The Institute is recognized as a one of the premiere thought leadership organizations in the state examining critical issues for Arizona and the region, and is a catalyst for public dialogue.  The Institute's main mission is to encourage public discussion; using high-quality, current research and historical understanding to create an informed Arizona citizenry.

The Institute’s most recent studies, The Past, Present and Future of the Arizona Initiatives; Preventing Families Drift Into the Future; and Finding and Keeping Educators for the Arizona Classroom  highlight the Institute’s important work on topics that span education reform, water resources, health care, human services, urban growth, government structure, arts and culture, technology, quality of life, public finance, environment, sustainability, and economic development.

The Morrison Institute Advisory Board is a non-partisan group of leading Arizona business people, scholars, public officials, and public policy experts.

Gentles also serves on the Maricopa Integrated Health Systems Audit and Finance Committee, and the Grand Canyon University Honors College Board. He currently serves as the Black Chamber of Arizona Public Policy Chair, Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits Governing Board and Public Policy Committee, and Gamma Mu Educational Services Board of Directors.

Local Businessman Ces Butner Donates $500,000 for Scholarships

Cestra E. Butner

Archon Cestra “Ces” Butner, first vice president of the Port of Oakland and former president, CEO and owner of Horizon Beverage Company, made a multi-year pledge of $500,000 through the Cestra Butner Family Foundation to help 20 Oakland students pay for college this year.

He donated the money this week at an event held by the East Bay College Fund and Oakland Promise which jointly awarded scholarships to 400 Oakland high school graduating seniors, totaling over $3 million.

Graduates received up to $16,000 to attend four-year and two-year colleges, marking this year as the record number of scholarships awarded by  the East Bay College Fund since it was established in 2002.

Full article can be read here posted courtesy Oakland Post.

Former Alpha Gamma Archon now CEO in Detroit

Archon Wright Lassiter has been named President and CEO of the Henry Ford Health System (HFHS) headquartered in Detroit,Michigan. HFHS is a six-hospital system and one of the nation's leading comprehensive, integrated health systems, recognized for clinical excellence and innovation. For almost 10 years Archon Lassiter was President and CEO of the Alameda Health System in Oakland, CA. where he led a dramatic service and financial turn around at that health care provider.

While in Alpha Gamma, Archon Lassiter became known for many great things: his Archosa Kathy, daughter Loren who is an accomplished collegiate basketball player, his culinary expertise, and his attempts to excel at Bid Whist

Below is an interview with Archon Lassiter.

JACKSON, MI - Wright Lassiter III has officially succeeded retiring Henry Ford Health System president and CEO Nancy Schlichting as head of the $5.5 billion healthcare company that partnered last year with Allegiance Health.

Lassiter came in 2014 to Michigan from Alameda Health System in Oakland, California, to begin the transition, serving as president, running the operations of the six-hospital system and learning the state's healthcare market.

Lassiter visited Henry Ford Allegiance Health this week as part of a "listening tour" planned for his first 100 days, and took some time on Friday to talk to a reporter.

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Here is his take on several topics:

What happened in Jackson?

He wanted to meet people where they were. He walked into meetings, including a gathering of physicians and nurses as they talked about preventing sepsis, a blood infection, and ate lunch in the hospital cafeteria with three employees who transport cancer patients, deliver supplies and pick up specimens.

He asks: "If you were me, what would you do?"

How is the partnership working?

"I think it is working exactly as we anticipated."

Projects already are underway. A new patient tower is to be built, allowing for more single-patient rooms, and an electronic records system is to be implemented by August.

Henry Ford Allegiance Health constructing $45 million, 66-room patient tower

Henry Ford Allegiance Health constructing $45 million, 66-room patient tower

"It is really what patients expect," President and CEO Georgia Fojtasek said Friday. "They rightfully want, if they have to be hospitalized, the best experience possible, and this will support that."

It is early in the venture, he noted. Major transformation takes years, not a few months. There remains work to do.

What we learned about the Allegiance Health-Henry Ford partnership

What we learned about the Allegiance Health-Henry Ford partnership

Allegiance Health finalized its agreement with Henry Ford Health System on April 1 and Tuesday, leaders gathered to address employees, answer questions and reveal a new name.

What are some goals?

"As a system we are starting down a path toward higher reliability."

What does that mean?

It is a concept often used in the nuclear, aeronautics or chemical industries. It is the idea that there is no room for error.

The goal is to have zero preventable errors in the healthcare system.

What changes will accomplish this?

It begins with activities such as "daily safety huddles" and involves training of leadership and staff and evaluating errors. "Understanding the whys."

Other goals?

Leaders are looking to bolster cancer care and take advantage of what they know of the human genome to offer healthcare based on patients' genetic makeup.

"We continue to look for partnerships that make sense for Henry Ford Health Systems"

In addition to Allegiance, the health system merged last year with HealthPLUS, an insurer based in Flint. 

Flint-based HealthPlus of Michigan to merge with Health Alliance Plan of Detroit

Flint-based HealthPlus of Michigan to merge with Health Alliance Plan of Detroit

A letter of intent was signed between the health insurers on "to merge operations and since then have been in an intense period of due diligence," according to a statement from HealthPlus.

"We are working hard to find ways to do things efficiently without reducing quality of care."

Is this why growth is a priority?

There are efficiencies of scale.

"The only way for us to deliver on the integrated care model is to have presence in more and more communities."

Henry Ford wants to be the payer through its subsidiary Health Alliance Plan and provide the doctors and the facilities.

"That is really the way it makes sense is to be in the business of doing it all."

What about Congress' intentions to alter or repeal President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act?

"The prevailing wisdom is there will be parts of the Affordable Care Act that are officially repealed, but many of the changes will not take effect immediately."

There has to be something to replace what is being taken, he said.

"I don't anticipate a lot of change in 2017. I just don't think it is possible."

Are there any frustrations?

There has been much done to accommodate the law.

"In my mind, it is not about politics," he said. Every business has regulatory environments.

"What you would like to do is set a path and be on it for a period of time."

To throw out all the changes in three or four years is "disruptive."

Thoughts on Michigan?

The Alabama native settled in Bloomfield Hills in March 2015.

"I am not a winter guy."

He has been living in California and Texas, where he worked in complex health systems in Fort Worth and Dallas, before he was convinced to move to Michigan.

"People here are great, friendly and open.

"I love the kind of tenacity of the folks I have met here, the perseverance... people who are used to and accustom to getting things done, not getting waylaid by a challenge."

At this point, the interview came to a close. He was traveling to an airport.

The destination?

Boston, where his daughter, Loren, is a junior on the Northeastern University basketball team. He and his wife were going to catch a game.

Interesting fact

A towering man, Lassiter too played basketball. He was inducted in 2014 into the Hall of Fame at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York. In the 1980s, he helped the Dolphins to a record 20 wins his junior year under coach John Beilein, now the men's basketball coach at the University of Michigan.