Medical Student James Besante: Is Health Care a Human Right? A Community Discussion

Please Read The Flyer And The Narrative From Mr. Besante And Plan To Attend This Event This Saturday (6/15/13)


Is Health Care a Human Right? A Community Discussion

James Besante

Edgewood, New Mexico

The Town of Edgewood stretches out over a 16 mile area in the southwestern portion of Santa Fe County. It is home to approximately 4000 residents many of whom encounter barriers in accessing needed medical care. Unequal access to health care resources in Edgewood leads to different health outcomes for town residents. The purpose of my community project is to create a space where community members can discuss their own experiences with the health care system. This interactive discussion will take place at the Edgewood Town Hall during the second week of June and will be open to the public. I am coordinating this event with town councilor, Charles Ring, who has allocated the space and is helping me advertise the event around town. I am also working on this project with my classmate Monica Miller (MSII) who is co-hosting the event in Edgewood as her community project.

I believe this public discussion is a novel approach to addressing health inequality in Edgewood. The talk will take place in three parts. First, the attendees and hosts will voluntarily offer their own experiences with the health care system with close attention paid to creating a safe and comfortable space to discuss intense personal experiences. Second, the question “Is health care a human right?” will be posed to all in attendance. Community members will be asked to expand on their views and/or clarify their positions to other attendees. Third, possible solutions or actions will be discussed. Hosts, Monica Miller and Myself, will facilitate all sections of this event. The final output of this project will be a paper on the ‘right to health care’ supported by commentary elicited from the Edgewood community. This project also hopes to produce an editorial in the The Independent, a locally owned and managed newspaper distributed in the East Mountains and Estancia Valley. A press release for the event has been created for members of the local press and will hopefully bolster interest.

This project is an interactive discussion lead by community members, who bring with them the content of the event through their experiences and insights. It is not a class or lecture. It is not a good or service to be dispensed. Monica and Myself, while active in the organization and coördination of this event, will take on the roles of facilitators during the discussion. In summary, our community project belongs to the members of the community. It is our sincerest hope that this discussion stirs a desire for change by those affected and invested in the Town of Edgewood. I believe true, lasting, and fundamental change to ameliorate the current health inequality in Edgewood will be the product of relevant shareholder action. This proposed human rights based discussion may unveil a moral imperative in some, while in others it may elucidate commonality or shared hardship. Regardless, I believe this conversation is overdue and stands to advance the health and well-being of the population I currently serve.


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