News Release

October 11, 2006

Contact: Jane Shaskan, 860-679-4777

UConn Medical Students Focus on Health Disparities

Governor Rell Proclaims Oct. 15-21 National Primary Care Week in Conn.

FARMINGTON, CONN. – For the past 14 years, UConn medical students, along with students nationwide, have attended lectures and participated in community service activities during National Primary Care Week, this year October 15 through 22. The national theme is “Addressing Health Disparities: Healing the Nation.”

This year first- and second-year UConn medical and dental students in Farmington will be joined by pharmacy and nursing students from Storrs and physician assistant students from Quinnipiac College in Hamden. They will participate in a variety of seminars and activities that will introduce them to the role of medicine in the community and increase their awareness of the importance of primary care and community service. More than 65 students are expected to participate.

“This is an important learning experience for the students,” said Bruce Dr. Gould, M.D., associate dean for primary care at the UConn School of Medicine and the events’ student advisor. “They will hear from experts who champion universal health care and offer aid to Connecticut’s poorest citizens, and they will have the opportunity to work directly with the underserved.”

Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 18, students will be hosting health fairs and offering screenings at a number of locations in Hartford, New Britain and Hamden. Thursday evening, Oct. 19, is “Hands-on” at Asylum Hill Family Practice in Hartford, where students will have the opportunity to work with patients under a physician’s supervision.

“With the graying of America, there will be more people in need of medical care,” said Frank Santoro, UConn medical student and primary week events coordinator. “Currently there are about 45 million Americans who are uninsured, an aspect unique to the United States. We all need to be aware of this.”

Proclaimed 2006 National Primary Care Week in Connecticut by Governor M. Jodi Rell, activities begin with a retreat for the students in Peru, Mass., that features advocates for the uninsured including Jill Zorn from the Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut; Omar Antar, UConn MBA student; and Rhona Cohen from Health Care for All Coalition.

Monday evening, Oct. 16, a kick-off reception and dinner will be held at the Farmington Club with guest speaker Tanya Pagan Raggio, fiscal affairs and administrative policies senior advisor to the associate administrator for Health Professions, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Weekdays, Oct. 16 through 20, there will be events and presentations, from noon to 1 p.m. in the Health Center’s Patterson Auditorium as follows.

  • Monday – HartBeat Ensemble will perform a short play about primary care, managed care and cultural competency.
  • Tuesday – Debbie Humphreys and Grace Damio from the Hispanic Health Council will present “Nutrition and Health Education.”
  • Wednesday – National Primary Care Day Volunteer Send Off, Dr. Gould and Medical Dean Peter Deckers will speak.
  • Thursday – Pediatric dentist Joanna Douglass, UConn Health Center, will present “Early Childhood Oral Health Curriculum.”
  • Friday – There will be a presentation about health care for the disabled.

Editor’s note: Media interested in accompanying students; schedule and location details; interview opportunities; see contact information at the top of this page.

UConn Health includes the schools of medicine and dental medicine, the UConn Medical Group, University Dentists, and John Dempsey Hospital. Home to Bioscience Connecticut, UConn Health pursues a mission of providing outstanding health care education in an environment of exemplary patient care, research and public service. More information about UConn Health is available at

Note: News professionals are invited to visit the UConn Health Today news page ( for regularly updated news and feature stories, photos and media stories. News releases are archived at UConn Health news and information is also available on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.