Students at the Keck School of Medicine of USC are taking an active role in the debate over health care reform.
California Student Physicians for Healthcare Reform, a group of 30 Keck School students who advocate for universal coverage, is urging fellow students to register for Student Lobby Day for Single Payer, to be held in Sacramento on Jan. 10-11.
“As health care professionals, we have a strong voice in the state capitol, and we want legislators to know what we stand for,” said the group’s president Kristen Gregory, a second-year medical student. “The goals for the event are to become more confident in discussing health care reform, articulate what it would mean to have a single-payer system in California, gain the ability to make future legislative visits, meet new students, become active in health care reform on our local campus and of course, have fun.”
The Lobby Day event is sponsored by the California Health Professional Student Alliance, a statewide group. The two-day event includes a training day with discussions from student leaders, public officials and health policy experts, followed by a day of pre-arranged legislative visits.
California Student Physicians for Healthcare Reform was founded in 2006 by Cindy Xi, now a fourth-year Keck student. The group holds different activities year-round, including monthly “Policy and Pint” nights, when group members meet at a local faculty member’s home to discuss current health care issues over food and drink.
Faculty adviser Michael Cousineau, associate professor of research in the Department of Family Medicine and Preventive Medicine, said he believes that student members help advance the health care debate on campus and in the community.
“They help get people better informed about the complexities of the health care reform debate,” he said. “The students empower themselves and others to get involved in health policy and stay involved throughout their career as physicians.”
The group is open to new members interested in discussing reform in a logical, evidence-based manner.
“We believe it’s important for students to be informed and engaged in health care reform because it will play such an integral role in our future profession,” Gregory said. “As the medical providers for the Los Angeles County hospital, we see firsthand the detrimental effects of our current system. We are in a unique position as students to become involved in reform that may benefit our own patients once we are practicing physicians.”
For more information about the California Student Physicians for Healthcare Reform, visit www.csphr.com
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