Symposium aims to educate students on future of health care

By: Erin Stride – Staff Writer

The University of Dayton and Miami Valley Hospital are hosting the sixth annual Healthcare Symposium for UD students, faculty and health care professionals around the Dayton area. Each year the symposium has a unique theme; this year, the event is titled  “Patient-Centered Community Approach to Advance Care Planning.” The symposium focuses on what truly matters toward the end of life and what the medical world can do to improve the care for these patients.

Kathleen Scheltens, Ph.D., director of premedical programs and co-chair of the symposium, explained, “The purpose of the symposium is to allow UD students that are interested in health care to spend time with health care professionals in the community, expanding the knowledge base.”

According to Scheltens, “there are currently more and more people dying in hospitals and in the intensive care unit; however, that is not where people want to spend their final days.”

“In the latest copy of the  New England Journal of Medicine, there were four articles focused on end of life care. End of life care has been receiving a lot of attention recently because people are beginning to recognize there is a difference between physicians being able to keep people alive and patients’ values and preferences in terms of how they want to spend their last days,” Scheltens explained.

“Presentations during the symposium will focus on organizations and committees that have implemented community-based, advance care planning programs to improve end of life care,”  Scheltens said. The morning presentations discuss different ways to develop plans respecting and following the wishes of patients as they near end of life.

The morning session is available for health care professionals and juniors and seniors to attend.

“Three speakers, Dr. Joseph Scherger, Dr. Bernard Hammes and Dr. Barbara Greene will be discussing the way to help patients and their health care providers work together to develop plans respecting and following the wishes of patients as they near end of life,” Scheltens said. Also, there will be a poster session where the UD students will highlight co-curricular projects they are involved in, including biomedical research and community health initiatives.

State Senator Peggy B. Lehner, a Republican representing Ohio’s sixth district, will be discussing the legislation she proposed in the Ohio senate explaining that health care organizations need to have a more specific survey focused on patients desires at the end of life.

The afternoon session is specifically geared towards undergraduate students interested in health care. Five panels will take place involving health care professionals discussing various experiences and knowledge of their own health professional education, physicians and alumni discussing the process of applying to school and where they attended school, and ways students could spend the gap year between earning their undergraduate degree and beginning medical school.

Kristen Schemine, a junior pre-dentistry major, who has been on the planning committee for the symposium for the past two years shared her thoughts on the symposium and its theme. “The focus on the patient’s wants and needs is especially important towards the end of life when complicated decisions and situations arise,” Schemine said. “The symposium addresses how the community can improve that care and the ethics behind it.”

“The Healthcare Symposium is a good chance for students to explore many different options in the healthcare field, as well as to gain a better understanding of some issues and challenges facing healthcare today and in the future,” explained Scheltens.

The Healthcare Symposium is on March 28 in Kennedy Union. For more information regarding registration visit go.udayton.edu/udmvhsymposium.