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Annual health policy forum to focus on preventing youth substance abuse, suicide and risky behaviors

The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky’s 20th annual Howard L. Bost Memorial Health Policy Forum will highlight policies and programs that reduce the chances of disease and unhealthy behaviors that often begin in childhood, including substance use, suicide and vaping. The forum, which typically draws 350 policymakers, health advocates and health care providers, will become a monthly webinar series this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The first webinar is September 21 at 2 p.m. (ET). Subsequent webinar dates in the series will be announced soon.

The Foundation is partnering with Kentucky Youth Advocates in offering this year’s forum, titled Moving Kids Toward Natural Highs: Kentucky Opportunities to Prevent Youth Substance Use, Suicide and Risky Behaviors. The series will feature panels of speakers on the topics of the State of Child Health in Kentucky (September), Intervening Early (October), Promoting Healthy Lifestyles through Nutrition and Physical Activity (November), Understanding Youth and Building Good Mental Health (December), and Stopping Vaping and Substance Use (January). A Kentucky youth will offer comments regarding peer interventions in each of the webinars except the one regarding early interventions.

“Prevention is always more effective and less costly than treating health issues that we could have headed off in childhood,” said Ben Chandler, president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. “The tradition of the Bost Forum is to highlight policies and programs that are working well, and our speakers this year will be exploring school-based, community-wide and national efforts that are improving the psychological and physical well-being of all children and youth. We’ll also discuss policies and programs that reduce the impact of economic and social conditions that often contribute to unhealthy conditions for children.”

“Kentucky Youth Advocates advocates for policies and investments that give all children the best possible opportunities for a brighter future, and a focus on prevention is a key part of that work,” said Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director, Kentucky Youth Advocates. “The unique format of this year’s Bost Forum offers advocates and decision makers a way to convene on a monthly basis to learn about and discuss data, youth experience, and the role we each can play in prevention-focused solutions related to critical issues impacting Kentucky kids, including health care access, mental health, obesity, and vaping.”

The first virtual conference in the 2020 Bost Forum Webinar Series, State of Child Health in Kentucky, will lay a foundation for the remainder of the programs, and is scheduled for Monday, September 21, 2020, from 2 to 3 p.m. ET. As always, the Foundation makes the Bost Forum free to attend, but registration is required.

Register for the first webinar here.

Speakers are:


• Dr. Henrietta Bada, Director, Maternal and Child Health Division, Department for Public Health
• Dr. Hatim Omar, Founder of the Stop Youth Suicide Campaign
• Dr. Terry Brooks, Executive Director, Kentucky Youth Advocates
• Ben Robinson, Daviess County student


• Vivian Lasley-Bibbs, Director, Office of Health Equity, Kentucky Department for Public Health

From Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky

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