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SMC symposium to examine health care justice

| Wednesday, December 2, 2015

In an effort to raise awareness about underrepresented societal issues at the College, the Justice Education Program will host a symposium on health care justice featuring speeches from advocates and practitioners this Thursday at Rice Commons.

The Justice Education Program’s student advisory committee organized this event to inform students about health care disparities in the United States, committee member and junior Maranda Pennington said.

Health Symposium_WEBLauren Weldon

Pennington said she encourages people to attend Thursday’s talks to gain valuable and applicable information about a pertinent topic.

“If more people are aware of the injustices that occur in our society, more can be done to fix them,” Pennington said. “Health care injustices are even more important because a lot of times it can lead to life-or-death situations. Also, it is so important for individuals to know resources and preventive measures so they can lead healthy lives.”

Sophomore Morgan Matthews, a member of the advisory committee, said the symposium will provide people with the opportunity to hear from skilled presenters with various experiences.

“Students need to take advantage of the chance to hear this information from professionals,” Matthews said. “These people know what they’re talking about. They can reassure us that there are answers to our questions.”

Students can take away relevant advice from each talk as they increase their understanding of a universal issue, Matthews said.

“Everybody deals with health care,” Matthews said. “It’s a topic that pertains to all citizens, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or background. It’s good to know about, especially as college students, who will need to use this information as we grow older.”

Matthews said students should consider planning for their futures as they absorb this new information.

“Right now, we can hear from primary sources about this important topic,” Matthews said. “One day, you’ll have to worry about yourself and your family. People should recognize that it’s not something that you can keep putting off or delaying. A discussion of health care is necessary not only as we grow older but also now, at this age.”

The symposium will demonstrate that connections exist between justice and health, two topics that people may not normally associate, Matthews said.

“When you look at the inequalities in health, you realize that you want to do something about [it],” Matthews said. “You want to make that change. You want to work toward improving those conditions.”

The symposium contributes to the community aspect of Saint Mary’s, Matthews said, because knowledgeable students can unite as they work on this issue.

“Students should realize what exactly they are getting themselves into,” Matthews said. “Health care is often debated, and we want students to be informed when they approach this topic.”

The Justice Education Program’s student advisory committee centered this year’s symposium around health care because it finds value in informing students of problems they may encounter in real life, Matthews said.

“Through giving people this convenient way to learn more about health, we can lay out the facts and prepare them,” Matthews said. “Experts are ready to talk, and students should be ready to listen. Things are changing, and we need to be prepared.”

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About Martha Reilly

Martha is a senior majoring in English literature and political science. She currently serves as Saint Mary's editor but still values the Oxford comma in everyday use.

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