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Former Governor, Experts Will Discuss Crisis and Solutions to Help Uninsured Patients

   Portland, Ore.

As part of the national Cover The Uninsured Week, Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine students will host a panel of experts, which will include former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, M.D., director of the OHSU Center for Evidence-based Policy. The panel will discuss the current situation and address some of the solutions to help uninsured people get access to health care and health insurance.

Cover the Uninsured Week 2004, May 10-16, will focus the nation's attention on the plight of the nearly 44 million Americans who go without health care coverage.

The OHSU event is scheduled for Wednesday, May 12, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the OHSU Auditorium in the Old Library Building on Marquam Hill Campus. The one-hour panel discussion will begin at noon. This is an opportunity for OHSU employees and others to learn what is available to uninsured patients and how they can help. This event is free and open to the public.

Panelists will include the following:

  • Mariah Taylor, M.S.N., R.N., C.P.N.P., founder and primary provider of the North Portland Nurse Practitioner Community Health Clinic, will provide the perspective she has gained from operating a frontline, safety-net clinic serving a growing population of desperate, uninsured Portland-area residents.
  • Leandra Alanis, Oregon Health Plan screener and Spanish interpreter at the North Portland Nurse Practitioner Community Health Clinic, will speak about Latino community issues.
  • Damian Flowers, OHSU School of Medicine second-year medical student, will speak about growing up uninsured.
  • Bruce Goldberg, M.D., administrator of the Office for Oregon Health Policy and Research will speak about the legislative issues contributing to the crisis in health care for the uninsured in Oregon.
  • Emily Borod, OHSU School of Medicine second-year medical student, and one of the main organizers of the event, will be the moderator.

Informational booths from community agencies will be in the lobby of the OHSU Auditorium from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Several community events are being planned throughout the Portland area.

One of the events will be a press conference Thursday, May 13, from 10 to 10:40 a.m. at Legacy Emanuel Hospital, Lorenzen Conference Center, featuring the results of an American College of Emergency Physicians survey that is expected to detail the impact of the uninsured on emergency departments. Robert Lowe, M.D., M.P.H., director, Center for Policy and Research in Emergency Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University, will talk about the survey results and the impacts on local emergency departments.

The Cover The Uninsured Week is a national event organized by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and an ideologically diverse group of national and local organizations. The week promises to be the largest mobilization ever to promote the goal of health coverage for all Americans.

According to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau estimates, nearly 44 million Americans, including 8.5 million children, have no health insurance coverage. The number of people without public or private health coverage increased by more than 2 million last year, the largest one-year increase in a decade. With health care costs climbing rapidly, employers and working Americans are finding it harder to afford health care coverage. Government statistics show that eight out of 10 people who are uninsured are in working families.

For more information about other local events visit:

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