To the far right, Urban Health Watch editor, Reza Corinne Clifton, joins the new US Surgeon General, Dr. Regina Benjamin (center), and fellow blogger-attendee, Amy Stretten of NativeJournalist.com (left). It was on Saturday, January 30, 2010 – the third and final day of the Families USA annual conference.
WASHINGTON, DC – The third and final day of Health Action 2010 may have fallen on a weekend day, Saturday, January 30, but business was still at-hand. The conference, which is organized annually by Families USA, was especially significant to some this year due to delays and ongoing debates about the health reform bills being discussed in the two congressional halls. This led to frank discussions and analysis, including by a panel of reporters who asked the audience to consider “What’s going to happen if [a health reform] bill isn’t passed?”
Others in attendance included representatives discussing shortcomings and opportunities in the context of American Indian Health Policy and the new Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Regina Benjamin, who talked about addressing illiteracy in former patients of hers as a strategy for improving their health outcomes.
See photos of the additional experts, advocates and community members who informed and inspired conference attendees, and left us with tools for the health reform debate and the movement for health equity.
Pictured here is one of the presentation slides displayed during a workshop called “American Indian Health Policy: Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going.”
Dr. Donald Warne of the Aberdeen Area Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board presents information including his findings of trends showing a three-point cycle around chronic disease, depression, and alcoholism suffered by many American Indians/Native Americans he’s serviced.
To the left, Cara Thunder of the American Indian Community House in New York talks about the differences in health access and services for American Indians who live in urban communities as opposed to in rural areas or reservations. For one, many have to use the same overcrowded community clinics that a city’s other low-income and impoverished residents have to use instead of having a location or tribe-specific destination.
Dr. Regina Benjamin, the newly-appointed Surgeon General of the United States, meets attendees and accepts hugs and pictures after being part of the Health Action 2010 closing plenary and address. During her presentation, she discussed the problems of declining rates of students of color in academic medical programs and the country’s many working families being too poor for private insurance while having too much income for public assistance.
The staff of Families USA pose for a final picture and deep exhalation after a job well-done at the conference. The founders of the organization, board members, the executive director, Ron Pollack, and countless staff members, were on-hand during the conference, as were advocates, journalists and bloggers, congressional representatives, national leaders, and everyday community members.
Jennifer Cooper of the National Indian Health Board talks about how policies are moved and set in the context of Indian Health Services, the US Department of Health and Human Services, and individual tribes and clinics. One strategy she noted as helpful in recent reforms was when tribes and tribal organizations wrote position papers describing the needs.