New Des Moines Health Conference Will Focus On Underserved Populations

“My City My Health: Des Moines” Organizer Corey Dion Lewis/Photo submitted

Corey Dion Lewis’ familial background is one of the things that inspired him to get involved in the health and wellness field.

“Chronic disease was normal for me growing up,” he said. “Seeing my family struggle with diabetes [and] at the time not really understanding that that was killing them.

“As I got older, I started to understand, ‘Wait, this is not a lifestyle that I want to lead.’ That really motivated me to want to help people in that way and health coaching has been that vehicle for me.”

Lewis, who is Black, said part of the problem was his family’s diet, which consisted of lots of fried foods. When he attended the University of Iowa in Iowa City, the East Moline, Illinois, native found his calling as a clinical health coach although he was initially a psychology major.

“I was always doing something within health. I was always talking about health, I always liked health and realized that psychology was not for me,” Lewis said.

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After a suggestion from a professor, Lewis pivoted toward becoming a clinical health coach. His career led him to Des Moines where he eventually started to serve the community at Broadlawns Medical Center, a nonprofit hospital owned by Polk County residents.

Now, Lewis is taking his passion for health and wellness a step further.

He is hosting “My City My Health: Des Moines,” a first-of-its-kind health equity summit. The event will take place from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 11, at Mainframe Studios in Des Moines.

Lewis is sponsoring it through his podcast “The Healthy Project,” a top 200 health podcast on Apple, which he started in 2020 as a way to see his patients during a time when he couldn’t physically be with them. It has since broadly evolved and discussions range from racial discrimination in health care to ways to reduce health inequities.

“We’re still talking about prevention—because that’s where my passion started—but branching out to more public health perspective through a Black and brown lens and what is going on,” Lewis said.

 The health equity conference is just the next step following those conversations.

“My City My Health: Des Moines” has support from Broadlawns, Des Moines University, UnityPoint Health, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and more.

The event will consist of four panels and speakers include medical professionals, media personalities, fitness and wellness experts, and social justice advocates in and from around Central Iowa. 

Some speakers include:

  • Broadlawns CEO Anthony Coleman
  • Jacquie Easley McGee of the Des Moines NAACP and Mercy Medical Center
  • Urban Dream Executive Director Izaah Knox
  • Former Des Moines TV Anchor Rheya Springer
  • Dana James of Black Iowa News

Lewis noted he has attended a lot of conferences in Des Moines that feature speakers with absolutely no connection to the city and region. He doesn’t have anything against those events, but Lewis wanted his conference to feel more local.

“What I wanted to do differently is have everybody who is speaking in this ‘My City My Health: Des Moines’ to be from Des Moines or to have some kind of sweat equity or something to do with improving the health of the most underserved and most vulnerable population here,” he said.

Lewis wants this initial event to be a success in hopes of spreading “My City My Health”  to other communities so he and others can share tips on health and wellness and address and find solutions to systemic issues in the healthcare system.

“It’s not your average event either,” Lewis said. “I’ll say we are bringing a lot of culture to this event. It’s just going to be hype. It’s going to be fun and educational at the same time.”

Event Details

What: My City My Health Des Moines, presented by The Healthy Project

Who: Des Moines’ most influential health and community advocates will talk about what they are doing to improve the health of our most vulnerable and underserved population.

When:  9 a.m.-3 p.m., Friday, Nov. 11

Where: Mainframe Studios in Des Moines

Admission: $45



by Ty Rushing

To contact Senior Editor Ty Rushing for tips or story ideas, email him at or find him on Twitter @Rushthewriter 

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