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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

‘Future of U.S. Health Care’ topic of next URI Honors Colloquium lecture, Sept. 18

Media Contact: Todd McLeish, 401-874-7892

KINGSTON, R.I.- September 10, 2012- Mary Wakefield, who was appointed health care administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration by President Barack Obama in 2009, is the next speaker in the University of Rhode Island’s Honors Colloquium, which examines the politics and money influencing health care around the world.

All of the lectures in the semester-long series, called “Health Care Change? Health, Politics and Money,” begin at 7:30 p.m. in Edwards Auditorium on the URI Kingston campus. They are free and open to the public.

In her lecture, entitled “The Affordable Care Act and the Future of U.S. Health Care,” Wakefield will discuss gaps in the U.S. health care system and efforts to expand and improve care.

The Health Resources and Services Administration is a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Each year, the program, under the leadership of Wakefield, uses its $9.6 billion annual budget to improve nationwide access to health care for the uninsured, isolated and medically vulnerable.

Wakefield earned degrees in nursing from the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Mary in Bismarck, Ark. Before her current position, she served as chief of staff for North Dakota senators Quentin Burdick and Kent Conrad in the 1990s. She was also a member of President Clinton’s Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Health Care Industry. Other experience in the health care field includes working as a site consultant to the World Health Organization’s Global Programme on AIDS in Geneva, Switzerland, and directing the Center for Health Policy, Research and Ethics at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.

Other speakers in the colloquium series are Robert Tosatto, director of the Office of the Civilian Volunteer Medical Reserve Corps (Sept. 25); Joia Mukherjee, medical director of Partners in Health (Oct. 2); Gregory Poland, director of the vaccine research group at the Mayo Clinic (Oct. 9); Roberta Friedman, director of public policy at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University (Oct. 23); Jonathan Gruber, director of the health care program at the National Bureau of Economic Research (Oct. 30); Stephanie Chafee, co-founder of the Rhode Island Free Clinic (Nov. 13); Michael Fine, director of the Rhode Island Department of Health (Nov. 27); and Unni Karanukara, international president of Doctors Without Borders (Dec. 10).

Other colloquium events include the URI Theatre presentation of the play Marvin’s Room, a dark comedy that deals with family care and end of life issues, on Oct. 11-14 and 18-21, and the medical musical comedy, Damaged Care, on Dec. 4.

All remaining lectures will be streamed live at www.uri.edu/hc, where the complete schedule of events is also listed. For additional information about the URI Honors Colloquium, contact Deborah Gardiner at debg@uri.edu or 401-874-2381.

The major sponsor of the Honors Colloquium is the URI Honors Program, with sustaining sponsors including the URI Office of the President, Office of the Provost, the Mark and Donna Ross Honors Colloquium Humanities Endowment, and the Thomas Silvia and Shannon Chandley Honors Colloquium Endowment. Leadership sponsors include the College of the Environment and Life Sciences, the College of Pharmacy, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Multicultural Center, and the Department of Communications and Marketing. Also sponsoring the Honors Colloquium are Cox Communications, the College of Business Administration, Department of Publications and Creative Services, College of Engineering, College of Nursing, College of Human Sciences and Services, Division of Administration and Finance, Division of Student Life, and Department of Communications Studies of the Harrington School of Communication & Media.