First Reunion Symposium a Success – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

First Reunion Symposium a Success

An inquisitive and lively audience packed the Geneva Room for the symposium on the U.S. Health Care System during Reunion 2010. The event, spearheaded by Will Weinstein ’60, L.H.D. ’04, featured two nationally-renowned experts on health care: Dr. Judy Feder, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and a professor of public policy at Georgetown University, and Trustee Dr. Richard Wasserman ’70, president of DallasAllergyImmunology and a specialist in treating allergies and asthma.

As individuals who are deeply committed to service and advocacy, it was fitting for Wasserman and Weinstein to engage returning alums in a pertinent and timely talk on the important issue of U.S. health care. Serving as the moderator of the symposium, Weinstein posed questions to the panelists and kept the discussion balanced.

Though Feder and Wasserman sometimes had differing views of American health case, both concurred that education is integral to interpreting the effects of health care reform. “It’s important to raise awareness about health care laws in order to develop efficient ways to both improve care and reduce costs,” Wasserman explained.

“When you think about all the drama surrounding health care reform, it’s no wonder so many people are left skeptical about how a new law will affect them,” added Feder. “It is the responsibility of physicians to help patients understand how much health care laws pertain to them.”

After laying out the conflicts, costs, benefits, and social implications of health care reform, Feder and Wasserman fielded questions from the audience. Alums brought to light a number of varied topics including hospice care, the public option, differences in foreign health care systems, and even parallels between U.S. health care reform and changes made to the aviation industry.

Whether liberal or conservative, in favor of President Obama’s reform or not, the HWS alums in attendance left the discussion more informed, still discussing health care and politics with their former classmates on their way to their next event. Many of them work in the health care industry and still treasure their undergraduate experiences. Wasserman, who celebrated his 40th Reunion, still fondly calls his alma mater his “home away from home.”

“I learned valuable skills in my undergraduate courses that I bring to my work as a physician. The global experience I received here at HWS prepared me for the rest of my life,” he said.  

“I hope this will set a precedent today for more Reunion symposiums,” said Weinstein.

Wasserman is regular speaker on the topic of bioethics and the future of health care, a prolific author or co-author of more than 50 publications, and principle investigator on more than 75 FDA-approved research studies. He specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of antibody deficiency syndromes.

Weinstein is an adjunct professor of ethics at San Francisco State University and the University of Hawaii. His dedication to health issues and business ethics has made him a sought-after speaker at conferences and colleges and universities nationally and internationally. He is the recipient of Hobart Alumni Association’s 2010 Lifetime Service Award.

Feder’s three decades of policy research began at the Brookings Institution, continued at the Urban Institute, and, since 1984, flourished at Georgetown University. Her expertise on health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, and long-term care is regularly drawn upon by members of Congress, executive officials, and the national media.