May 8, 1998

Vanderbilt to again host Vice President, Family Re-Union

Vice President Al Gore and his wife, Tipper, will be at Vanderbilt next month to moderate Family Re-Union, the second couple's annual policy conference dedicated to supporting the nation's families.

This year's conference, scheduled for June 22-23, will explore the effects of a rapidly evolving health care environment on the complex and changing needs of families and children.

Family Re-Union VII is being sponsored by the Child and Family Policy Center at the Vanderbilt Institute for Public Policy Studies and the Children, Youth and Family Consortium at the University of Minnesota.

"This is a great honor for the university, and we're delighted that the Vice President has asked Vanderbilt to once again host Family Re-Union," said Chancellor Joe B. Wyatt. "It will be a great opportunity to illustrate the university's interdisciplinary accomplishments in family health."

Since 1991, the Gores have moderated Family Re-Union and led policy discussions as part of their ongoing effort to support and strengthen families. The first five years the conference was held at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center downtown, but was moved to Vanderbilt last year.

"The focus on families and health care is certainly a topic on which we can offer experience and expertise," said Dr. Harry R. Jacobson, Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs. "I believe the conference will serve as a resource for us throughout the medical center as we continue to seek better ways to serve patients and their families.

"Also, the timing could not be better as we proceed with plans to build the most family-friendly children's hospital in the nation."

A major goal of the conference is to provide a useful intersection between the practice, research and policy development on issues of critical concern to families and children. As in previous years, the conference may result in public as well as private initiatives.

"Our initial planning discussions have shown a real need to create a clearinghouse and website for medical schools that are changing the protocols for medical training and education for family practice," said Bill Purcell, director of the Child and Family Policy Center. "There is also a need to share effective strategies for providing quality care to children and families in a managed care environment."

More than 1,000 people are expected to attend the two-day conference, including representatives of state and local health care administrations; senior federal officials; academic researchers, health care workers and executives; administrators from national health care organizations representing hospitals, consumers, managed care organizations and purchasers of managed care; and representatives of foundations and other agencies including human services, medical education and training, wellness and prevention programs.

The Family Re-Union plenary sessions will be at Vanderbilt University Medical Center's Langford Auditorium, with the breakout sessions and receptions at various locations on the central campus. There also will be hundreds of satellite downlink sites around the country as well as a few selected interactive sites.