DAYTON, Ohio-Access to affordable, high-quality health care is a pressing concern for many Ohioans, but they may not be sure how to express their views at the ballot box this November. Students of the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine hope to change that fact with a special public event.
On Friday, August 28, at 5 p.m., the local chapter of the American Medical Students Association (AMSA) will host a reception and forum in the newly renovated Medical Education Center in White Hall on the Wright State campus. The event will give people an opportunity to meet and talk with candidates for local and statewide offices, and to learn their views and proposals on health care.
Students will also be distributing non-partisan information on health care issues in the national elections, including a comparative analysis of the plans and philosophies promoted by presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama.
The event is part of a national "Bandwagon Tour" organized by the Atlanta-based non-partisan, nonprofit organization VoteHealthcare.org. The tour began in July and will include dozens of events in 13 states before concluding in October at a presidential debate in Nashville.
At the Wright State event, participants can also register to vote, take a personal pledge to vote with health care in mind this November, and film brief video statements about their views on health care in the U.S. VoteHealthcare.org will collect these statements throughout the tour and plans to share them with the presidential candidates in October.
Shanthi Ramesh, a second-year medical student at Wright State and president of the local AMSA chapter, hopes the event will help raise awareness of health care issues among voters and candidates alike and enable more people to make informed, confident decisions when they cast their ballots.
"As a community, if we unite around an issue, we are more likely to achieve real results," Ramesh said. "Health care is something that affects all of us, from individuals worried about increasing costs, to business owners struggling to provide insurance benefits, to parents concerned about quality care for their children."
Ramesh believes that as future physicians, she and her classmates have a unique opportunity-and obligation-to address this important issue.
"One of the really exciting things about being a medical student is you can rally people around the cause," she said. "To go into medical school now you have to really believe there is hope for improvement."
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