Health care conference to present a variety of speakers on campus

By Diana Trasatti
February 21, 2008

Imagine being on the brink of death. Sick. In pain. Scared.

Luckily, your saving medicine is securely placed right behind your local pharmacy’s counter. But, wait, no health care? Sorry, no medicine.

This is an issue that thousands of Americans are confronting.

On Friday, Feb. 29 the conference, “Health Care, Human Rights, and Social Work Practice,” will be held at Cabrini. The conference will include panels, discussions and workshops. The topics of health care, the human right and the economy will all be covered.

“It is a crisis in this country,” Kristin Smith Nicely, assistant professor of the social work department, said.

The United States is ranked No. 1 in health care technology, but it is 37th in health care provision and the worst country in treatment of preventable disease, according to Smith Nicely. There are nearly 47 million Americans without health insurance, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and 18,000 people die each year, because they do not have health insurance, according to a 2004 Institute of Medicine report.

Health care is gaining increasing coverage with programs like “Health Care Now” and popular documentaries like “Sicko”. “It is important for students to be aware of health care and their human rights,” Leah Hannan, a junior social work major, said.

The event will feature a variety of significant speakers. They include Bob Mason, a clinical social worker from Pennsylvania; Dr. Nadine Bean, an associate professor of social work at West Chester University; and State Representative Barbara Mcllvaine. People are coming from as far as New York, Pittsburgh and the Lehigh Valley to attend the lecture.

The conference last year sparked an increased interest in the subject matter, autism.

“They incorporated people’s stories and their struggles. It was very interesting to watch instead of reading from a text book,” Hannan said.

Health care is often an issue that college students face but of which they have little knowledge. Once students graduate they can not be on their parents’ health insurance plan.

“When I have to pay for my own health insurance it’s going to be difficult for me. I know it’s going to be a rude awakening. We’re all going to have to deal with it someday,” Kristie Bergin, sophomore social work major, said.

The event lasts all day, and breakfast and lunch will be provided.. The event is free for all Cabrini students and faculty.

The main goal of the conference is to better inform the community and spark interest and conversation. Continued discussion can help combat the problem, according to Smith Nicely.

“The number of people without health care is growing everyday. You have to earn the right to live. That’s scary to me,” Smith Nicely said.

Diana Trasatti

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