The University Record, January 10, 1994

Blum, Cartwright to address Medstart conference Jan.22

By Deborah Gilbert
News and Information Services

Barbara Blum, president of the Foundation for Child Development in New York City, and Madeline Cartwright, nationally renowned educator and author of For the Children, top the agenda for the second annual Medstart conference to be held 8 a.m.–5:15 p.m. Jan. 22 at the Towsley Center.

In her keynote speech at 8:45 a.m., Blum will discuss the importance of creating “A Whole New World for Our Children, Our Future, Ourselves,” which is this year’s Medstart theme. Cartwright will offer an afternoon workshop on “Making Public Schools Work.”

Medstart is an interdisciplinary event organized by U-M students in medicine, public health, nursing, law, social work and education. The conference attracts national experts who speak on the complex, interrelated problems of children at risk. Medstart’s goal is to educate and sensitize students to these problems so they can tackle them once they are practicing professionals.

According to Althea Hunte, this year’s theme responds to a comment by Marian Wright Edelman, head of the Children’s Defense Fund. Hunte is conference chair and a medical student.

“The future of our children,” Edelman said, “is too important to leave to just politicians, just advocates, just the public sector, or to just the feel good, no cost, no sacrifices wrapped up in slick slogans.”

“In effect, she is saying that we are all responsible for the future of our children,” explains public health student Sean Haley, who is Medstart spokesperson. “The multidisciplinary, collaborative structure of Medstart reflects that position.”

Haley says Medstart also is inspired by the African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.”

“If we are going to improve the lives of children at risk, we need to adopt a holistic approach that simultaneously meshes the efforts of the ‘village of professionals’ who deal with children’s health, education and their social condition,” Haley says.

Large group sessions will follow Blum’s address. Creigs Beverly, professor of social work at Wayne State University, will discuss “Our Children”; Helen Rodriquez-Triaz, past president of the American Public Health Association, will discuss “Our Future”; and Woodrow Meyer, former commissioner of health in New York City and in Indiana, will speak on “Our Selves.”

Afternoon workshops, which begin at 1 p.m., will explore new models for beating substance abuse, talking with kids about sex, and the special needs of disabled children. Other workshops will address the complexities of adoption and foster care, children and the law, health care reform, AIDS in children, and the impact of poverty and violence on children.

The conference fee, $10 for students and $25 for others, includes a lunch and reception. The registration deadline is Thursday (Jan. 14).

To register, send checks, payable to the U-M to Medstart Conference, Office of Continuing Education, Towsley Center, P.O. Box 1157, Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1157. Include your name, address and phone number to receive confirmation.

For information, call Medstart, 662-9245, or the Towsley Center, 936-9800.