This was a really fun event to attend! It was interesting to hear the opinions of former politicians about their political duties. The theme that kept coming back to me was what Dr. Elders kept saying: “We don’t have a health care system in this country, we have a sick care system!” As someone who studies public health, I have learned the many reasons to act preventively, from the financial to the overall health of society. Dr. Elders also mentioned that many politicians have already made up their minds about the political ramifications of their votes, and their mentality tends to be “Don’t confuse me with facts – I’ve already made up my mind!”
Dr. Edelman was the first speaker, and she kept talking about getting out of our “silos” and working with people who work in many academic fields. Having gone to U-M for undergrad, I heard about this frequently. There are many opportunities on campus to work across departments, as well as multi-disciplinary degrees. The U-M SPH has many dual-degree options for those of us interested in interdisciplinary work. I just submitted my application to do the dual-degree program with the School of Social Work, so I’m naturally a little biased 😉
I found it very interesting that Dr. Carmona’s desire to do some obesity prevention programs met many walls until he framed it as a national secruity issue. He said that once he started talking about the fitness of firepeople and other first responders and how so many people fail the physical fitness tests for the armed forces, he started getting money to try to create physical fitness programs. He also talked about a “Medical Reserve Corps”, similar to the PeaceCorps and AmeriCorps, that would have members serving at clinics and other medical facilities across the country to forgive a part of their loans. As a current AmeriCorps member, I fully support this idea (and maybe they can have a path for recent public health grads?).