In the continuing debate over health care reform, key issues that need to be considered are being pushed to the side by the partisan fight and struggle to compromise on a bill that might make it through Congress. But, issues currently affecting health care in America that are systemic, such as racial and ethnic disparities, still need to be addressed.

Dayna Bowen Matthew, associate dean for Academic Affairs and professor of law of the University of Colorado Law School, has given much thought to these issues. She not only brings a voice to the dilemma that these disparities exist but proposes a model for resolving these deficiencies in her talk titled, “Fiduciary Solutions to Health Care Disparities in America,” that she will present Thursday, Feb. 25at 12 p.m. in the Marlyn E. Lugar Courtroom in the West Virginia University Law Center.

Matthew appears as the second speaker in the three-part Donley Lecture Series titled “Beyond Politics: A Discussion of Health Care in America” that attempts to look beyond the political struggle and focus instead on the social disparities in access and outcomes that are engrained in the current health care system. The series is presented by the West Virginia Law Review, the student run legal journal produced at the WVU College of Law.

Matthew will describe racial and ethnic disparities that are prevalent and persistent in the American health care delivery system in her lecture, “Fiduciary Solutions to Health Care Disparities in America.” Racial and ethnic disparities in the delivery of health care come at three different levels: the treatment level, the patient level and the health systems level. While these disparities have been identified in academic research, effective solutions to address these disparities have been elusive.

“Proposed health care reform that does not deal with the failure to provide basic medical care to large segments of the population, especially where bias to racial and ethnic communities is perceived, will not be a workable outcome. Ignoring these issues dooms us to the same fate caused by the current system that is destined to collapse under its own weight due to spiraling costs and the negative impact to public health caused by lack of access causing inadequate preventive care and neglect,” said Brandon Smith, editor-in-chief of the West Virginia Law Review.

In her lecture, Matthew will explain that traditional legal approaches neither reach nor regulate the behavior that is the true source of health care disparities for racial and ethnic minorities. Additionally, Matthew will advocate a new model called the “fiduciary medicine model” to replace current law and to better address treatment, patient and systems level disparities.

The third and final speaker in the Donley Lecture Series will be Sidney D. Watson, professor of law at Saint Louis University School of Law who will present, “Mending the Fabric of Small Town America: Health Reform as Social and Economic Development,” on Thursday, March 18 at 12 p.m. in the Marlyn E. Lugar Courtroom at the WVU Law Center.

These events are open to the public and will be webcast at .



CONTACT: Brian Caudill, WVU College of Law