Brian Castrucci, DrPH, MA is President and Chief Executive Officer at de Beaumont Foundation.
Check out his LinkedIn profile HERE.
Which segment of the industry are you currently involved?
I currently work in health philanthropy. As President and CEO of the de Beaumont Foundation, I am fortunate to touch many different areas, including the government public health workforce, partnership development with multisector collaboratives, and policy work. Previously, I spent a decade working in state and local health departments.
How many years have you been in the Medicaid industry?
I actually have never been in Medicaid, but public health and Medicaid are intimately related. In my past roles as a public health leader, several programs that I oversaw had direct links to Medicaid.
What is your focus/passion? (Industry related or not)
Besides my family, Patriots football, and NC State Wolfpack football, I am super passionate about changing communities so that everyone has their best chance at achieving their optimal health. When we say that your zip code has more impact on your health than your genetic code, we are essentially pointing out that we are playing a rigged game – a game that benefits those with and in power at the expense of the poor and vulnerable. That’s not the world I want to leave to my kids.
What is the top item on your “bucket list?”
Personally, I would like to spend some time whale watching in the waters off Seattle. Professionally, the top item is helping transition our national conversation from a focus on healthcare and insurance to one that considers health more holistically.
What do you enjoy doing most with your personal time?
Of course, spending time with my kids (Evan, 10, and Chloe, 8). As nerdy as this may sound, I also love to write – blogs, books, journal articles, tweets. Sharing ideas is so important, and the Internet and social media have made sharing our ideas so much more egalitarian. Using these tactics effectively is especially important in public health settings: social media gives our field the chance to counter misinformation, engage people and communities directly, and share new findings.
Who is your favorite historical figure and why?
Jimmy Valvano, head basketball coach at NC State from 1980 to 1990. Jimmy V was the consummate underdog – winning the 1983 NCAA basketball championship against all odds. His subsequent battle with cancer led to the creation of the V Foundation. At his last public appearance before his death at the 1993 ESPY Awards, he said something that I have thought about almost every day since: “If you laugh, you think, and you cry [every day], that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.”
What is your favorite junk food?
Pepperidge Farm coconut cake. My wife hates it, but it was something special that I would get at my maternal grandmother’s house when I would visit as a child. So, it may be the memories that are satisfying more so than the cake. But if the Pepperidge Farm people read this and want to send one over, I wouldn’t object.
Of what accomplishment are you most proud?
I am most proud of the opportunity I was given to lead the de Beaumont Foundation. Our founding CEO (retired) and Board Chair, James Sprague, was personally entrusted with Pete de Beaumont’s estate upon his passing. Jim has had a role with the Foundation since before it even began, more than 25 years. It was truly an honor to assume the role of President and CEO of de Beaumont and have a role in this amazing Foundation.
For what one thing do you wish you could get a mulligan?
Nothing. Always hit the ball where it lies. You never know what will happen next. I’ve had success. I’ve had failures. I’ve made good decisions and bad. Each and every one got me to where I am now, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
What are the top 1-3 issues that you think will be important in Medicaid during the next 6 months?
Medicaid will need to expand its allowable costs and broaden its investments. Bugs and bacteria aren’t driving costs anymore. Today, the major contributor of ill health is the lack of strong foundations for community health – housing, food, income equality, education access. Medicaid will need to consider how to address patients’ social needs as part of restoring their health. Related, Medicaid continues to be the largest single line item in most state budgets. Legislators who are concerned about the growing cost burden of Medicaid need to focus on policies that create the environment where everyone can be healthy. Focusing simply on why Medicaid recipients are unhealthy and paying for their healthcare is like feeding the fish but not cleaning the tank. Cost-effective programs that set people up for a lifetime of health, like high-quality, affordable early childhood education, are a key part of this.
Brian is also speaking at Insight Exchange Network’s 2nd annual Social Determinants of Health Action Forum in Miami, FL November 14-15, 2019.
For more information about the conference, or how to sign up, click HERE.
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