Meeting Notes February 7, 2024

President Foster

President Mark Foster rang the opening bell and Tom Strode played American the Beautiful.

Tom Strode

Greg Stejskal read several portions of Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address, reminding us that as a nation we have had difficult and painful times before and that the bonds of friendship and brotherhood can strengthen ‘the better angels of our nature.’

Greg Stejskal
Marlena Studer

Marlena Studer updated Old MacDonald with lyrics celebrating our Rotary Club. President Mark thanked the people who make the meeting run smoothly and introduced guests. Anna Byberg announced birthdays and anniversaries. President Mark gave us a sneak preview of a Super Bowl ad – two toddlers instructing their parents on whiffle tennis. He suggested we include that sport in the next GTO.

On behalf of the Membership Committee, Barbara Eichmuller called on sponsors to introduce new members. We greeted Greta Spivey, Tucker Rossmaesler and Edith Too. Brandon Black has rejoined the Club. These four very interesting and young members will bring more life to our Club.

Barbara Eichmuller

The Environmental Action Committee dispatched Paul Webb, Don Duquette and Dennis Burke to conduct an eight question quiz to get us thinking about how important water is to our planet, challenges to the supply, and how we can conserve this precious resource.

Notes from the Program

Norman Herbert introduced our speaker, Marianne Udow-Phillips. She holds a master’s degree in health services administration from the University of Michigan School of Health and serves as a lecturer for both the University of Michigan Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and School of Public Health. She came to the Michigan Department of Human Services after a 20 year career at Blue Cros Blue Shield of Michigan. and is now at the University. Her topic was Rebuilding Trust in Public Health, which is imperative given the increasing distrust in public health in the population. Here is a link to the presentation.

Marianne Udow-Phillips

The covid pandemic brought into focus the lack of public understanding of the role of public health. Professionals in public health and in messaging were not prepared for the role they were called upon to play.   She contrasted public health with medical care. Only 3% of the money spent of health is spent on public health, which is how we care for and protect each other. Public health focuses on prevention, not cure.

That public health authorities have police powers is a critical distinction between public health and other public services. Sacrifice or inconvenience for the public good  runs contrary to our cultural values of freedom and libertarianism to run our own lives.  Authority in public health is incredibly dispersed across local and county agencies, state and federal agencies. These all work independently and have no reporting imperative to a central data bank. It runs in silos, and there is very little shared data or information.

When covid hit, the uncertainly of the science, the poor communication about what was known about the virus and what to do about prevention or treatment, led to much confusion and uncertainly. Public health leaders are not visible to the public so there was no trusted source for information or encouragement. And of course, the politics played a very big role in the misery.

Vaccine hesitancy has been growing for the last decades and is a serious problem not, both for covid and the diseases we have had under control for generations. The health disparities observed in all parts of medical care are glaring the public health setting.

President Mark regained the podium and announced that the speaker next week will be Tracy Bennet, the New York Times’ first editor of Wordle. He then led us in the recitation of the Four Way Test and rang the closing bell.