As health care and medical education increasingly become part of the national conversation, The University of Toledo is doing its part to inform elected representatives about the nature of medical education and the needs of medical students.Last Friday, 13 legislative staffers from Ohio’s General Assembly and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown’s office spent the day on Health Science Campus to attend Project Medical Education at UT.
The daylong seminar was designed to educate the staffers about medical education in particular, and about the importance of government funding for it. Individual invitations were sent to all of the staffers attached to the General Assembly as well as those working with federal offices concerned with the northwest Ohio area.
“Health care is a very complex and overarching aspect of the human condition as well as the economy, and medical education is at the core of the complexity,” said Kathy Vasquez, UT associate vice president for government relations. “UT is helping our elected representatives better understand this and how significant government funding for medical education really is.”
The staffers learned about the process of undergraduate and graduate medical education, its broad and diverse benefits, as well as the complex funding and support mechanisms for it, and the necessity of government financial support — all of which will help better inform state and federal legislation that impacts medical education.
While on Health Science Campus, the staffers toured the Gross Anatomy Lab in the Block Health Science Building and the Interprofessional Immersive Simulation Center in the Collier Building.
A few medical students also attended the event to offer their perspectives as students and talk to the staffers about the competitive application process for medical schools, the schools’ curricula, residency matching, and the high cost of medical education for students.
Joe Russell, a 2009 UT alumnus majoring in political science, worked with Vasquez and legislative aides from northwest Ohio to coordinate the event and help bring attention to the University.
“I’m excited for the opportunity for aides to come to UT and experience what the University has to offer. And I think it’s a great opportunity to not only learn about the medical portion of the University and what its students have to offer, but also what they need from their elected representatives,” he said.
While this was the first organized group program held at UT designed to educate legislative staffers on the topic, the University routinely reaches out to them in their Columbus and Washington, D.C., offices or by hosting campus visits, said Vasquez, who also serves as the director of the UT and Ohio Area Health Education Centers.
The Association of American Medical Colleges coined the event’s name, and other member institutions have hosted similar Project Medical Education days to educate legislative staffers.