May 22, 2009

Goldstein discusses U of C’s effort to improve presence in Hyde Park

[img id="77742" align="alignleft"] University trustee Rodney Goldstein spoke with students about the University’s community programs and heard suggestions on expanding the Alumni Career Network at a luncheon Tuesday at 5710 Woodlawn.

A member of the Medical Center Board of Trustees and longtime community volunteer, Goldstein expressed his personal dedication to South Side health care and said the Medical Center was seeking to construct a “broader definition of partnership between community clinics and the University Medical Center.” He encouraged students to join the University’s efforts by volunteering in various programs that strive to construct a better education and health care system in the community.

The first question came from Student Government President-elect and third-year Jarrod Wolf. “Do you foresee the University community expanding past 61st Street into the larger Woodlawn area?” Wolf asked.

Although Goldstein could not say whether there were plans to physically expand the University in that direction, he did outline certain programs that have extended the University’s presence throughout the larger community. Goldstein pointed to the Urban Education Initiative, which creates charter schools to improve the local public school system, and the Urban Health Initiative (UHI), the Medical Center’s effort to work with local community clinics and doctors in improving health care in the South Side area.

While the University Web site describes UHI as a means to help non-urgent ER patients find a primary care physician to better meet their needs, some have criticized the plan as restricting Medical Center access to lower-income, Medicaid patients.

Students not only posed questions, but also offered their own proposals for action. Suggestions included expanding the Alumni Career Network beyond business, law, and medicine into the less developed alumni networks like the Humanities and Social Sciences; providing financial aid for international students; and minimizing the negative impact of the Olympics on the South Side by exerting University influence in the planning stages.

Goldstein was open to the concerns and suggestions of the students, taking notes throughout the discussion, and said he intended to keep them in mind for future meetings with other colleagues.

Fourth-year Aliza Levine, liaison to the Board of Trustees, said the goal of these luncheons is to foster connections between trustees and students. “These luncheons are one way to make that connection interpersonal,” Levine said.