Vail Symposium event looks into the past, present and future of women’s health care | VailDaily.com

Vail Symposium event looks into the past, present and future of women’s health care

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VAIL — Living in what is arguably the finest resort community in the nation can be a struggle for the people who labor, often invisibly, to help keep us on top. Health care, both its cost and accessibility, for low-income families is a large part of this struggle and meeting the special requirements of women's health care can be a particular challenge.

In the midst of our obvious prosperity rests a thorny question: How do we make health care both accessible and affordable for our most vulnerable and, at the same time, important residents? On Wednesday, Feb. 7, at 6 p.m., a panel of experts will tackle this question during a special Vail Symposium presentation at Colorado Mountain College in Edwards.

"Health care is a hot topic, both politically and practically," said Kris Sabel, executive director of the Vail Symposium. "There is so much uncertainty surrounding the future of health care on a national level. This program explores real issues facing our own community and is likely the precursor to a more extensive future discussion on the subject."

The Vail Symposium program will examine the past, present and future of the pressing needs in women's health care with a panel of experts from around the state and country.

"Our panelists represent the major players at work both defining and addressing this problem," Sabel said. "We hope that this program informs and creates a productive dialogue."

About the panel

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Carol Conger has been a champion for women's health, pregnant women and babies in the Vail Valley for more than 25 years. As a certified nurse midwife, she delivers culturally sensitive prenatal care to the uninsured and underinsured women in Eagle County and neighboring counties as well. She has received numerous awards yet her greatest joy is being an advocate for women, a mother, a stepmother, sister, wife and grandmother.

She developed and led "Baby 'n Me," a postpartum support group for families after birth, for more than 20 years, a program that Vail Health continues to support to this day. Her passion is health equity and reproductive justice.

Vicki Cowart, the CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains approaches this challenge from the perspective of the organization at the forefront of the issue of women's health care.

Dr. Kent Petrie has been a family physician in the Vail Valley since 1979. In 1980, he attended the first birth in the Vail Hospital's newly opened maternity ward. Since then he has been devoted to women's health services in our community and has attended more than 2,500 births, including many "second generation" births (delivering babies of babies).

Along the way he was awarded the Colorado Family Physician of the Year. He has taken his passion for the care of women and children to the mission field, serving and teaching in Honduras and Tanzania. After many years in private practice, Kent now works at Mountain Family Health Center, our community health center serving the uninsured and at risk population in our valley. He is also the county health officer, supervising the Title X (Ten) women's health program at the Eagle County Public Health offices.

TR Reid is an author, lecturer, documentary filmmaker and reporter who has written books on diverse subjects including an examination of how five industrialized democracies provide high quality of health care for all. Reid is chairman of the Colorado Foundation for Universal Health Care, the state-wide citizens' campaign working for universal health care coverage. He has served on the boards of Princeton University and several other community and national organizations.

For more information or to purchase tickets for one or both of the evenings, visit http://www.vailsymposium.org or call 970-476-0954.

If you go …

What: Women’s Health Care in the Vail Valley: Where We Were, Where We Are and Where We Need to Be.

When: Wednesday, Feb. 7. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.; program begins at 6 p.m.

Where: Colorado Mountain College, Edwards.

Cost: $25 prior to 2 p.m. the day of the event; $35 after.

More information: Visit http://www.vailsymposium.org or call 970-476-0954.