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Zeppos, Balser meet with congressional leaders

Jun. 27, 2011, 3:09 PM

Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos (right) greeted Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn. (4th District), at the Vanderbilt-hosted congressional reception June 22. (Vanderbilt University)

Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos and Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs Jeff Balser traveled to the nation’s capital June 22 and 23 to meet with Tennessee congressional leaders, Vanderbilt alumni and others to discuss Vanderbilt’s health care, research and educational priorities and their role in the federal agenda.

In his first trip to meet with Tennessee members of Congress since the convening of the 112th Congress in January, Zeppos paid visits to Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker; freshman Reps. Diane Black, Scott DesJarlais, Stephen Fincher and Chuck Fleischmann; and veteran Reps. Jim Cooper and Marsha Blackburn. He also met with Rep. Ben Quayle, R-Ariz., a Vanderbilt Law School alumnus and former student of the chancellor’s, and officials with the Association of American Universities.

In all of his meetings, Zeppos emphasized Vanderbilt’s role as a health care provider, employer, research institution and educator in urging members to set our national fiscal house in order and identify national priorities – such as scientific research and education – that deserve federal support. He also discussed the significant economic impact role the university plays in Tennessee.

(L-r) Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Beth Fortune; Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos; Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; Matt Sonnesyn, chief of staff to Sen. Alexander; and Christina West, assistant vice chancellor for federal relations, attended the June 22 congressional reception. (Vanderbilt University)

Balser had the opportunity to meet with John O’Shea, senior health policy adviser on the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Keith Flanagan, health counsel on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, as well as a key health care policy adviser on the White House’s Domestic Policy Council. All expressed interest in the innovative and unique work that takes place at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and offered to make additional contacts on behalf of VUMC – relationships that will become increasingly important as the implementation of health care reform moves forward.

On the evening of June 22, Zeppos and Vanderbilt’s Office of Federal Relations hosted a reception for members of Congress and their staffs; Vanderbilt alumni working on Capitol Hill; students participating in the Vanderbilt Internship Experience in Washington and their program coordinators; key Vanderbilt alumni working in federal relations in other capacities in Washington; and other colleagues from industry and professional associations, including the Association of American Universities and the Association of American Medical Colleges. In total, more than 100 people attended the event, including eight members of Congress.


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