February 24, 2006

‘Day on the Hill’ to give voice to VU voters

Featured Image

LaDonna Reyka, R.N., worked as a recovery room nurse during the Guatemala surgery trip. One of the patients she cared for was 16-month-old Christofer Davila, who is being held by his mother. He needed surgery to correct undescended testicles.
Photo by Susan Kohari

‘Day on the Hill’ to give voice to VU voters

Vanderbilt's Third Annual Day on the Hill, an opportunity for individual members of Middle Tennessee's largest private employer to meet with their state elected officials, is set for Tuesday, Feb. 28, from 7 a.m. to noon.

The Vanderbilt community includes 18,000 staff and their families and more than 11,000 students.

Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs Harry Jacobson, M.D., said the Medical Center works closely with Gov. Phil Bredesen and members of the Tennessee General Assembly to fashion state health policies that keep the health care system strong while addressing the needs of patients.

“Vanderbilt serves more TennCare patients, adults and children than any other single facility. In addition, Vanderbilt is the largest provider of charity care in Davidson County. We care about these patients and their families," Jacobson said.

"We are very pleased about Gov. Bredesen's announcement in his State of the State message (Feb. 7) that he will propose extending health coverage to all Tennessee children, and look forward to his upcoming announcement of other health care initiatives."

Agenda items of interest to Vanderbilt during the 2006 legislative session include developing a safety net for persons who have lost TennCare coverage, state funding for trauma centers in Tennessee, and increased funding for lottery scholarships and pre-K education.

"Protecting the health and health care of children and pregnant women has always been at the heart of Governor Bredesen's policy for children and youth. The Children's Hospital Alliance and we at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt applaud him for recognizing the need to protect our most vulnerable populations, " said Jim Shmerling, CEO of Children's Hospital.

"Still, too many children have been uninsured for too long in Tennessee and this call to expand coverage is a bold step that we trust will be embraced by the General Assembly and others. No better investment to improve our state's overall health can be made than to invest in our children and we appreciate the Governor's commitment to this vulnerable population."

Sponsored by the Office of Community, Neighborhood and Government Relations (CNGR), the annual event at the State Capitol allows members of the Vanderbilt community to learn more about the legislative process and interact with lawmakers face-to-face.

“It puts a human face on the university and the Medical Center as opposed to being viewed just as an institution,” said Mary Pat Teague, associate director of community, neighborhood and government relations.

“Day on the Hill” begins at 7 a.m. with a breakfast at the Legislative Plaza cafeteria and continues 9 a.m. with Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Director Pat Levitt, Ph.D., testifying before the Joint House/Senate Education Committee.

Vanderbilt representatives will have an opportunity to tour the State Capitol, meet their legislators and sit in on the Joint House/Senate Education Committee session.

Six VU alumni are currently serving as state legislators House of Representatives members Rob Briley, Kent Coleman, Beth Harwell and Senate members Steve Cohen, Douglas Henry and Roy Herron.

Shuttle transportation to and from Legislative Plaza will be available from the CNGR office on Terrace Place. Staff and faculty who wish to participate should contact their supervisors prior to Day on the Hill to make arrangements for being away from work.

To participate in “Day on the Hill,” send an e-mail to dayonthehill@vanderbilt.edu. For additional information and answers to frequently asked questions, go to www.vanderbilt.edu/cngr/ and click on “Day on the Hill” details at the top of the page.