Student-organized summit targets education, health care

by Elizabeth Smith | 5/4/14 7:02pm

Health care and education leaders gathered on Saturday to discuss the role today’s youth can play in both fields at the Millennial Action Summit.

The 11-hour summit included a keynote address, panels on education and health care policy and reform, a panel on millennial activism and breakout discussions.

Keynote speaker and Georgetown University public policy professor Sam Potolicchio spoke about the qualities of effective leaders, which he said were curiosity, creative problem solving, making personal connections and courage.

The summit’s first panel, on education, discussed “Redefining Teacher Quality and Effective Training,” and was moderated by public policy professor Ronald Shaiko.

The speakers discussed the challenges and steps to reforming teacher effectiveness and training.

Panelist Page Tompkins, executive director of the Upper Valley Educators Institute, which certifies regional teachers, noted that despite the challenges of the job, a good teacher can have an incredible impact on students’ lives.

“I would just remind people we know that teachers have a tremendous impact on young people,” Tompkins said. “Great teachers are the most important thing of anything in the school system, any part of it, any policy.”

The second panel, “Transforming Value-Based, Patient-Centered Care,” focused on health care.

The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice director Elliot Fisher, Albert Mulley ’70, who leads the Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science, and Janet Marchibroda, who directs the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Health Innovation Initiative spoke in the panel. Ellen Meara, of The Dartmouth Institute, moderated the discussion.

Fisher discussed the need to improve health care delivery and payment models. Mulley said patients should be better engaged in making decisions about their health care, and Marchibroda elaborated on the constant need for technological innovations to keep up with the changing pace of medicine.

Marchibroda also said millennials must advocate for improved health care and health care policy. Health care accounts for a huge amount of the nation’s debt, which will affect its younger citizens, she said.

During the third panel, titled “Passing Down the Yoke: Lessons from Three Activists,” public policy professor Charles Wheelan and Nick Troiano discussed their work, including advocacy and campaign trail experience.

Troiano co-founded The Can Kicks Back, an organization that educates individuals about national debt, and is currently running for a Pennsylvania congressional seat. Wheelan founded The Centrist Project, and ran for Congress in Illinois in 2009.

Attendees could adapt their schedules to their interests during two break-out discussion sessions, with three talks offered during each.

Morgan Matthews ’15 said she felt the education panel was particularly inspiring.

“I felt this was really powerful because people were telling a lot of personal stories about their experiences with the new testing and common core and what they thought it was,” Matthews said. “It was interesting to hear how everyone’s stories added up to a bigger idea about what we need to do to reform education.”

State representative Susan Ticehurst said she enjoyed the discussion about health care, particularly the student involvement it elicited.

“People were really well informed, but more than that they were thinking beyond what they had been taught and were looking for implications and looking for what the impact would be on the future,” Ticehurst said.

James Harvard, a student at Keene State University, said he was inspired by Potolicchio’s discussion of using personal characteristics to become a better leader.

Event coordinator Gabby Bozarth ’17 said she appreciated that the health care discussion was able to show her how the field is changing, she said.

The summit was organized by a student group called the Millennial Action Coalition, which focuses on bipartisan health and education reform, recognizing that the millennial generation can help make that happen, said Matthew Mirliani ’16, one of the group’s leaders.

“Part of our model is to empower millennials, locals and New Hampshire residents, to have this reform be state-based,” Mirliani said.

Mirliani said an event highlight was its concluding dinner, which brought together students, legislators, senators and experts.

Over 130 people registered for the event, according to a campus-wide email sent Thursday by Students for Education Reform.

Event organizer Thomas Wang ’16, who initially had the idea for the event, did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

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