Navigation Links
WesternU’s Pumerantz Lectureship Focuses on Health Equity

Pomona, CA (PRWEB) October 25, 2013

Attaining equity in health care requires improved access to care, a more diverse health care workforce and more responsible citizens doing their part to address the protection and enhancement of their own health.

That was the message from Louis W. Sullivan, MD, keynote speaker for the fifth annual Dr. Philip Pumerantz Distinguished Lectureship at Western University of Health Sciences, held Oct. 24, 2013 in Pomona, Calif. The lectureship was established in 2009 in honor of WesternU President Philip Pumerantz, PhD, through a donation from Drs. Elaine and Daljit Sarkaria of Orange.

Sullivan is the former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He is President Emeritus of the Morehouse School of Medicine, and is chairman of the Sullivan Alliance to Transform the Health Professions.

“All of us are in a very drastic situation in our country right now,” Pumerantz said. “This country needs wisdom and compassion. With his background and his experiences, Secretary Sullivan is the perfect spokesman for compassion and wisdom.”

Sullivan began his talk, “The American Journey to Health Equity,” by giving a history of medical education in the U.S.

The report, “Medical Education in the United States and Canada,” released in 1910 by Abraham Flexner, evaluated every medical school in those two countries at the time. It was critical of many of the medical schools, resulting in several schools closing and others adopting curriculum and practices that continue today, including medical students studying two years of sciences basic to medicine such as anatomy and physiology, followed by two years of training in clinical sciences.

“We now can say without question in the U.S. that we have the strongest program for health professions training of any country in the world,” Sullivan said. “We have a strong scientific base for health professions education, reinforced by the scientific discoveries from our nation’s laboratories.”

As a result, the health of Americans has improved tremendously, Sullivan said. But although the U.S. spends more money on its health care system than any other nation, it’s not the healthiest nation in the world because of a distribution problem, he said.

“That strong science, those well-educated individuals, that system that we’ve developed, doesn’t reach all of our citizens in an effective way,” he said.

Studies show that health care quality and access are sub-optimal, especially for minorities and low-income groups, Sullivan said. Ethnic and racial minorities that present acute cardiac symptoms are less likely to receive catheterization, less likely to have angioplasty or bypass surgery or receive beta blockers, and less likely to receive implantable cardioverter-defibrillators.

There is also a disparity in the percentages of minorities practicing in the health professions compared to the overall population. Native Americans, Native Hawaiians, African Americans and Hispanics make up 30 percent of the U.S. population, but comprise only 12.3 percent of medical doctors, 11 percent of RNs and 10 percent of pharmacists.

“The health professions are science-based professions, but they’re practiced in a social setting,” Sullivan said. “We need and we want and we demand that our health professionals are well trained to have the knowledge base to carry out the procedures that they do, to see that the lives that are entrusted them are taken care of. But to be effective in using that science, they have to be effective communicators.”

Health care providers must engender trust in their patients, so their patients will share intimate, sometimes sensitive information necessary to provide effective diagnoses and treatment.

“That’s why we need to have more diversity in the health professions,” Sullivan said. “It doesn’t mean that any one specific health professional needs to be limited to one person of their own race, but it does mean that in the barrio or the ghetto, if we are to address the needs in those communities, we need have more diversity.”

A 1996 UC San Francisco study showed that Latino and African American physicians are three to five times more likely to establish their practices in the barrio or ghetto, Sullivan said. Their practices had a higher percentage of patients on Medicaid, or patients who had no payment mechanism whatsoever. A higher percentage of Latino and African American graduates also enter primary care.

“So all those reasons argue for having a more diverse health workforce,” Sullivan said. “Having the scientific knowledge and base, but not being able to communicate with patients, not being able to establish that therapeutic relationship, means that scientific knowledge goes to waste. If you can’t develop trust with a patient, if the patient doesn’t understand your recommendations, or the patient has an unpleasant experience and decides not to come back or follow through with therapy, then that indeed is a visit that is wasted.”

The U.S. spent 11 percent of its gross national product (GNP) in 1989 on health care. Health care spending is now approaching 18 to 19 percent of the GNP, and in another 10 to 15 years, it could climb to more than 30 percent if changes aren’t made, Sullivan said.

“We have to find ways to provide care to more people but at less cost,” he said. “The 21st century will bring an increased focus on prevention. That requires having a health-literate population.”

The individual actions of each person are important -- getting a flu shot, having a child immunized, eating a proper diet to guard against obesity.

“We have to have a more responsible citizenry to really do their part in addressing the protection and enhancement of their own health,” Sullivan said. “We clearly have a bureaucratic system. We need to do it with the finesse of a surgeon’s scalpel, not with a sledgehammer, which is what some legislative measures would do.

“We need to remember that as health professionals, we are entrusted with the lives of people. We are expected to be sure that the interest of the patient and that patient’s life and health and family are first, not the payment for services. We need to be sure that we continue to earn the respect and trust of the community by behaving as caring professionals rather than as cold business people who focus on the bottom line.”

In addition to treating patients, health-care providers have a broader responsibility to advocate for things needed in the community, Sullivan said, such as advocating for reducing air pollution.

“As health professionals I say you have a dual responsibility to individual patients who come to you for service, but broader service to the community as well,” he said.

The lecture concluded with Sullivan receiving a gift from WesternU and the addition of his name to the lectureship plaque, presented by Dr. Pumerantz, WesternU Provost and COO Gary M. Gugelchuk, PhD, and WesternU Senior Vice President Thomas G. Fox, PhD.

Sullivan joins Dr. John Kitzhaber, governor of Oregon, who spoke at the inaugural Pumerantz Lecture in 2009; Kimberly Belshe, former secretary of health and human services for the state of California, who was the 2010 speaker; Robert Margolis, MD, former managing partner and CEO of HealthCare Partners, who made the keynote address in 2011; and Cliff Holland, Corporate Vice President for Worldwide Government Affairs and Policy for Johnson & Johnson, who spoke in 2012.


About Western University of Health Sciences

Western University of Health Sciences (, located in Pomona, Calif. and Lebanon, Ore., is an independent nonprofit health professions university, conferring degrees in biomedical sciences, dental medicine, health sciences, medical sciences, nursing, optometry, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant studies, podiatric medicine and veterinary medicine. The Chronicle of Higher Education named WesternU a Great College to Work For in 2012 and 2013.

Read the full story at

Source: PRWeb
Copyright©2012 Vocus, Inc.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. WesternU’s A Tribute to Caring Gala to Honor Health Care Pioneers
2. Pumerantz Lectureship to Be Held Oct. 24, 2013
3. Healthcare Georgia Foundation to Fund Lectureship on Disparities at Georgia State in Honor of Marshall Kreuter and Martha Katz
4. LSUHSCs Hollier one of few ever awarded coveted national lectureship
5. Guillermina Gigi Lozano, Ph.D., awarded AACR Charlotte Friend Memorial Lectureship
6. Event on Capitol Hill Focuses on the Growing Need for Oral Health for Older Adults
7. Face Whisperer Line Focuses on Anti-Aging - Reduction of Wrinkles, Boosting of Collagen and Hydration: Products on Sale and Highlighted in a Music Video
8. Mesothelioma Victims Center Now Focuses On Ensuring Industrial Workers Diagnosed With Mesothelioma Have Instant Access To The Nations Most Skilled Mesothelioima Attorneys
9. Focuses on Assisted Living and Senior Care Placement
10. New Approach to ADHD Managment Focuses On Parents, Not Kids
11. New Healthcare Network Now Focuses on Helping Businesses Share Content Online and Be Discovered
Post Your Comments:
(Date:1/20/2017)... ... January 20, 2017 , ... Spectrum Aquatics Launches New ADA Portable Motion Trek BP 300 ... the lift is mounted on wheels, it can be wheeled out of the way and ... fasten to the deck. "We have transformed the feedback from customers into specific enhancements and ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... ... 20, 2017 , ... Source Vitál Apothecary, a skin and body care company ... the company had a successful visit to the 2017 ECRM Diet, Vitamin & Sports ... work in the nutritional, sports and health industries a chance to meet in private ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... Florida (PRWEB) , ... January 20, 2017 , ... Lice ... head lice cases in families with school-aged children since the holiday season. , ... the holidays with their families, sharing hugs and taking photos, which is the head-to-head ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... ... January 20, 2017 , ... Michael and Betsy Brauser celebrated 5 years of ... the clinical trial has been life-saving as she has been on the trial ... Brauser was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009. She underwent standard chemotherapy but a ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... ... 20, 2017 , ... “Mary Magdalene: Grace is Greater than Sin”: a ... witnessed Jesus Christ firsthand. “Mary Magdalene: Grace is Greater than Sin” is the creation ... educator interacting with countless women who had little knowledge of the female characters portrayed ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:1/19/2017)... -- Accuray Incorporated (Nasdaq: ARAY ) announced ... set the bar for excellence in customer satisfaction. The ... rating among radiation treatment delivery systems in the U.S., ... Briefing™. The most recent ratings trend also shows Accuray ... for 11 of the past 12 quarters. ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... CLEVELAND , Jan. 19, 2017 ViewRay, ... (DFG), a federal institution supporting research in ... installation and patient treatments at the University Clinic Heidelberg ... The MRIdian Linac program will be headed ... who also heads radiation oncology at the German Cancer ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... , January 19, 2017 ... Option to Address Motor Symptoms and Motor Complications ... ...      (Logo: ... , European Neurological Review,2016;11(Suppl. 2): 2-15, ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: