August 14, 1998

Nursing School leader named to national Medicare Commission

Nursing School leader named to national Medicare Commission

Colleen Conway-Welch, Ph.D., dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, has been appointed to the National Bipartisan Commission on Medicare.

The 17-member commission is made up of 10 members of the Senate and the House of Representatives, as well as seven leaders in the health care community. Conway-Welch is the only nurse on the commission.

The federal commission was formed to recommend ways of preserving Medicare for 76 million baby-boomers. It is mandated to submit a report to Congress by March 1, 1999.

"I am very honored to have been selected for the commission. I believe my background and experience as a nurse will allow me to listen with an open mind to all the proposals and testimonials that will come to our attention," said Conway-Welch.

Conway-Welch will be the third Tennessean and the first nurse to serve on the panel, joining U.S. Sen. Bill Frist, a former heart surgeon at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and Samuel Howard, chief executive officer of Nashville-based Phoenix Healthcare Corp.

"The issues before the Medicare Commission are critically important to the long-term solvency of the program, to its ability to function in our changing health care delivery system, and, most importantly, to future generations of Medicare beneficiaries," said Dr. Harry R. Jacobson, vice chancellor for Health Affairs.

"I am not surprised that the health care expertise of Middle Tennessee is well recognized on the commission and could not be more pleased that Colleen has been asked to participate. Her expertise as a nurse, educator, and administrator will serve the commission well as they deliberate in the weeks ahead."

Conway-Welch holds a bachelor's degree in nursing from Georgetown University, a master's degree in nursing from Catholic University, and a Ph.D. in nursing from New York University.

She is a certified nurse-midwife, a member of the Institute of Medicine, and has served on numerous national councils, including President Ronald Reagan's commission on HIV.