In early 2015 Con Hogan shared a PowerPoint from his years spent in Vermont's Agency of Human Services. The PowerPoint contains two decades of population-level trendlines about the well-being of Vermonters over time. In this interview, Executive Director Scott Johnson of the Lamoille Family Center talks about the discovery of the data and the implications it has for Vermont.
Benchmarks for a Better Vermont: Give us a little background on Con Hogan. What role has he played in the state of Vermont?
Scott Johnson: Cornelius “Con” Hogan of Plainfield, Vermont, was Secretary of Vermont’s Agency of Human Services from 1991 through 1999 and, prior to serving as AHS Secretary, he had a 15-year career in corrections, including serving as Vermont’s Corrections Commissioner. He was also president and CEO of a successful mid-sized corporation for a decade in the 1980s.
Con has served as a Senior Fellow with the Center for the Study of Social Policy, a Senior Consultant for the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a faculty member of the National Governor’s Association Center for Best Practice, a Director of Fletcher Allen Health Care, Chair of the National Advisory Committee for the Robert Wood Johnson initiative for Strengthening Families through health care access, a member of the Advisory Committee for the National Center for Children in Poverty and as a consultant to the Children’s Defense Fund in the fashioning of a program to cover all children for health insurance.
BBVT: What is the Con Hogan Award?
SJ: The 2015 Con Hogan Award is a new annual award that will be presented to an individual to recognize Con’s life’s work and commitment by encouraging and rewarding a mid-career leader who shares his vision of a better Vermont—one that places the highest value on the public good—and who seize the responsibility for making that vision real.
BBVT: How did you come across these indicators?
SJ: Con shared his collection of PowerPoint slides (286 slides) with me that he used as a consultant and trainer both nationally and internationally with governments, public agencies and communities. Embedded in the collection were 33 data slides he used to show two or more decades of trendlines depicting the well-being of Vermont children, families and communities.
BBVT: What kind of data is included in this group of indicators?
SJ: This is a sampling of some of the indicators Con used:
Low birth weight
Smoking during pregnancy
Adult binge drinkers
Kindergarteners fully immunized
New families at risk
Young teen pregnancy (15-17 years)
Young teen births (15-17 years and 15-19 years)
Teen Drinking (9th-12th grades who drank in the last 30 days)
Substantiated victims of child abuse and neglect
High school completion
Single parent families with children
All people in poverty
People over 65 years of age in poverty
BBVT: How does this data contribute to current efforts in Vermont?
SJ: We are in the process of working with staff and contractors from Vermont Insights-Building Bright Futures, the Center for the Study of Social Policy, Child Trends and the Agency of Human Services to extend the trend line data to 2015, wherever that is possible.
We hope that showing up to 3 decades of trend line data will inspire partners to “take the long view” to best understand where we stand in Vermont on some of the critical issues facing the well-being of Vermonters.
BBVT: When will the Hogan Indicators be made public?
SJ: The “Hogan Indicators” will be embedded within Vermont Insights http://vermontinsights.org for public display and will be shared for the first time on October 8th at the Con Hogan Award ceremony.