The local health care industry was among the earliest boosters of the NCAA First Four in Dayton.

Their strong foundation of support has helped the Local Organizing Committee grow events surrounding the games, such as the Hoopla STEM Challenge and the Hoopla Ticket Program. As a result, the First Four continues to make a bigger impact on the community and drive a higher national profile.

Leaders of some of the top health care sponsors spoke with the DBJ about their support for the First Four. They include Bryan Bucklew, president and CEO of the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association; Pam Morris, president and CEO of CareSource; and Jim Pancoast, president and CEO of Premier Health.

Q: What does GDAHA get out of the involvement with the First Four?

Bucklew: It is a signature event that our hospitals members look forward to every year. Not only do our hospitals enjoy bring their board members and key staff to the games, they also have the opportunity to socialize with our hospitals. These conversations have lead to specific collaborative projects that include population health strategies, consolidated community health assessments and working together with our partners at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to research and develop technology that improve health outcomes for the region. Additionally, the GDAHA hospitals are also very proud of in assisting our local Air Force personnel and their families to enjoy the games.

Q: What does Premier get out of the involvement with the First Four?

Pancoast: Our mission is to build healthier communities and this event fits well in achieving our mission. We recognize that part of a healthy community is a healthy economy and the First Four brings significant resources into our region, along with many visitors who can experience our warm Dayton welcome. We get a great deal of satisfaction from working closely with so many other community organizations, all working together to enhance and grow this event each year. Premier Health has a long tradition of involvement with sports in our region through the sports medicine services we offer to many educational institutions at the university and high school level. We consider University of Dayton to be one of our “home” arenas and are so pleased to support these efforts.

Q: Tell me how you first became involved with the NCAA First Four effort locally?

Morris: Dayton has a long history of hosting memorable, sporting events. I can remember the excitement in the region when the NCAA announced Dayton as the location for the First Four in 2011. That next year CareSource was approached about partnering with the Big Hoopla efforts and we knew this would be a great investment for Dayton and the entire region. Since that time, we have been active supporters and sponsors of the First Four.



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