TU faculty address history, future of U.S. healthcare

Four faculty members from across The University of Tulsa came together Monday night, Sept. 28, to discuss the history and future of America’s health care before a crowd of about 100 at the Helmerich Center for American Research. They also examined how preventive medicine and treatment of acute and chronic ailments can reduce health disparities in Tulsa and across the country.

The panelists were Matt Lamkin, Professor of Law; Travis Lowe, Assistant Professor of Sociology; Kristen Oertel, Mary Francis Barnard Associate Professor of 19th Century American History; and Peter Stromberg, Professor of Anthropology. Dr. Gerard Clancy, dean of the College of Health Sciences and TU’s vice president for health affairs, facilitated the conversation.

The discussion included information on historical and social trends in areas with poor health records, including southern states like Oklahoma and Texas, and the Appalachian region, like West Virginia.

Clancy told KTUL-TV that schooling and poverty are factors. “If you look at the same areas, you see that the high school graduation rates are far less than the rest of the country,” he said. “We know poverty rates there are significant, as well.”

Panelists said health disparities continue across different generations, adding that it’s increasingly important to look closer at access to health care, improving health literacy and talking about family health.