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Lehigh’s Health Care Initiative core group formed, ready to begin setting goals and priorities

Lehigh President Alice P. Gast has announced the formation of a core group of faculty members representing a cross-section of the university to begin to set the goals and priorities to address the “grand challenge” of the provision of health care.

Members of the Health Care Initiative core group include:

• Linda J. Lowe-Krentz, Biological Sciences, convener
• Lynne U. Cassimeris, Biological Sciences
• Shin-Yi Chou, Economics
• Elizabeth A. Dolan, English
• George J. DuPaul, Education and Human Services
• Sharon M. Friedman, Journalism and Communication
• Samir Ghadiali, Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics
• Diane T. Hyland, Psychology
• Anand Jagota, Chemical Engineering
• Bruce E. Koel, Interim Vice Provost for Research
• Judith N. Lasker, Sociology and Anthropology
• Arnold R. Spokane, Education and Human Services

“Lehigh University is uniquely positioned to address one of society’s most pressing challenges: providing health care to growing and diverging populations in the face of chronic illness and emerging infectious diseases,” Gast says.

Gast has charged the group to define how Lehigh can best combine its strengths across college boundaries to foster the most effective research and teaching program so as to make a visible impact on the health care challenges of the nation and the world.

“The interest in health care is very strong at Lehigh,” Gast says. “In my discussions with faculty, senior leaders, students, and staff across campus, it became clear to me that there are many people in all of our colleges who are motivated to contribute to such an important effort.”

Lowe-Krentz, who helped develop Lehigh’s newly established Health, Medicine, and Society (HMS) minor, and is convening this group, emphasizes the breadth of experience the group brings to this task.

“Some of the members work at the level of direct interactions with patients, others are removed in the direction of medical device development or basic biomedical science, and others are involved in patient education or health policy issues,” Lowe-Krentz says. “With the range of scholarly interests, disciplinary backgrounds, and departmental affiliations, the committee is well poised to reach all members of the Lehigh community as we assess needs and develop plans for the initiative.”

As part of the Health Care Initiative, Gast says Lehigh will look for opportunities to collaborate with other institutions, including universities, hospitals, and corporations.

“We strive to have a program where students will be able to take advantage of Lehigh’s interactions with our local hospitals and other community outreach efforts. We need to engage those who can show us what it takes to have new discoveries widely adopted and affordable to those in need.”

Gast stressed the importance of open dialogue with the campus community in this process.

“There are many people on campus, in addition to the core group, who are interested in this area and have valuable contributions to make. The core group will recruit others to serve on sub-committees or working groups and to be generally involved in the planning process.”

The Health Care Initiative is taking place in parallel with Lehigh’s longer-range, strategic goal-setting efforts. The core group’s immediate task for the summer is to develop a timeline and strategy for next steps in planning for fall 2008, including visitors and speakers coming to campus, visits to other institutions, and a plan for campus-wide discussion of needs.

--David J. Caruso

Posted on Tuesday, May 27, 2008

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