Student Groups Plan Series Examining Health Care Issues

OGDEN, Utah – Undaunted by the political quagmire in Washington, D.C., members of Weber State University’s pre-med and sociology clubs have organized a three-part series to examine the current health care system and proposed reforms to it.

Over the course of three consecutive Thursday evenings, representatives from the medical community, a local advocacy group and various WSU academic disciplines will offer insights into the existing health care system and current political climate, along with economic, medical and sociological perspectives on both the current health care system and proposed changes to it.

The idea for the series originated with pre-med student Ryan Adams who asked associate zoology professor and Dr. Ezekiel R. Dumke Family Premedical Program adviser Barbara Trask about holding an information session. Finding one source who could address all facets of the subject without any bias proved as elusive as health care reform legislation in Congress. So the group decided to team with the sociology club, and opted for a panel of presenters offering information from a variety of perspectives, rather than a debate format.

“It is important that our future health care providers become educated on these issues as they will one day be greatly impacted by them,” Trask said. “Not being an expert in these areas myself, I felt ill-equipped to provide my pre-medical students with all of the information necessary for them to understand this complex topic. Our goal is that each pre-medical student can use this information to formulate an understanding of efficient and appropriate provision of health care.”

The first presentation, held Oct. 15, featured Tim Pehrson, regional vice president of Intermountain Healthcare: Urban North Region and CEO of McKay-Dee Hospital and associate political science professor Gary Johnson. Pehrson examined the health care issues from a medical perspective and Johnson discussed current policies and the political climate.

This week sociology instructor Carla Trentelman and local health care advocate Judi Hilman, executive director and co-founder of Utah Health Policy Project, will be presenting. Trentelman will discuss the sociological environment with regards to health care while Hilman will address the fiscal implications of reforms, as well as how much the current system costs the average consumer. She also will provide a Utah perspective on the national debate. The community is invited to attend the free session, scheduled for Oct. 22 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Shepherd Union Building.

The final installment of the series will be reserved for sociology and pre-med club students, and students from related disciplines, taking part in a facilitated discussion led by Trask and Trentelman.

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John Kowalewski, director of Media Relations
801-626-7212 •

Barbara Trask, assistant zoology professor and pre-med advisor
801-626-6165 ·

Carla Trentelman, sociology instructor
801-626-6575 ·