UM health care forum on tap-Event touted as precursor to future regional meeting

To help keep Montanans working in Montana, the University of Montana will be hosting a health care forum at the end of the month.

The first-ever event intends to bring together educators, health-care providers and university administrators to discuss the rapidly changing world of healthcare.

By Betsy Cohen- Missoulian

"It really serves two primary reasons," said Paul Williamson, dean of UM’s College of Technology. "First, it gives a venue for health-care providers to talk about needs and concerns. And second, it gives us educators a first-hand opportunity to see what we can do to train people to meet the demands and objectives."

The event also will help develop a communication tree among all the professionals, and help identify who is doing what and ho to contact them, Williamson said.

Organizers hope the event will lay the ground work for an annual Regional Health Care Consortium, which will include educators and health care professionals from western and central Montana, northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

"It is important for all of us to begin a dialogue, because in our state there is no sense of developing like programs or have conflicting services and therefore, have conflicting expenses," Williamson said. "We need collaboration, and if there are demands that need to be met, then our learning institutions can help."

In Missoula, the university system currently helps to train many of Montana ‘s health care professionals such as nurses, and surgical and radiology technicians.

"From a hospital standpoint, they really need these technology people to support their operation," Williamson said.

"From an education standpoint, we are concerned about supporting community growth and development, and training people for quality jobs so Montanans can stay in Montana."

The event is sponsored by UM’s School of Pharmacy and Allied Health, University Continuing Education and the College of Technology.

If you’re interested- The health care forum will be held at the UM College of Technology on Friday, May 31 and Saturday, June 1. For more information, call 243-7884.

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