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April 30, 2013

Polonsky meets with SG, talks UCMC

Executive Vice President of Medical Affairs Kenneth Polonsky held a closed-door meeting with SG members to talk about health-care disparities on the South Side and the issue of the trauma center yesterday afternoon.

The meeting came about in response to a resolution drawn up by members of Students for Health Equity (SHE) and passed by SG last quarter. Among several other demands, the resolution called for SG to facilitate a meeting between Polonsky and other medical center executives with activist groups like SHE and Fearless Leading by the Youth. This meeting was not open to those groups.

According to fourth-year SG Vice President of Administration Douglas Everson, Assistant Vice President for Student Life and Associate Dean of the College Eleanor Daugherty proposed a meeting with Polonsky a few weeks ago in response to the resolution passed by SG.

During the meeting, Polonsky said that he did not see a trauma center coming to the University in the foreseeable future, according to Graduate Council Chair Michelle Mbekeani. He also explained the financial considerations that led to that conclusion.

Third-year SHE member Patrick Dexter attempted to enter the meeting, but was escorted out of the room. With him was a timeline of SHE’s attempts to communicate with hospital administration since the January 27 trauma center protest. According to Dexter, UCMC executives have been unresponsive to SHE’s calls for a meeting. In response, SHE members drafted an e-mail asking SG representatives for details on how they plan to fulfill the resolution’s promise for a meeting between hospital executives and concerned student and community organizations.

SHE is planning on having students fill out appointment cards to meet with Polonsky. Dexter said that SHE plans on giving those to Provost Thomas Rosenbaum next week as a follow-up to Rosenbaum’s e-mail sent out after the UCMC incidents, which said such a dialogue would happen.

During last night’s Graduate Council meeting, Everson said he hoped this meeting was the beginning of a wider conversation, which, in its next iteration, would include groups invested in health-care issues, like SHE. Everson said he plans to release a summary of the information Polonsky shared during the meeting sometime in the next two weeks.

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