The Temple University Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine marked their centennial celebration on April 3 with an appearance by Senator Arlen Specter, who the school hailed as a “long time supporter of health care within the United States.”
Specter praised Temple University for success in “turning a very, very difficult section into an educational and medical center.”
He was welcomed by Peter Doukas, the Dean of the School of Pharmacy, and presented with a souvenir glass Temple owl.
Specter serves as Chairman and Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee, which oversees the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education.
He spoke of his political involvement in the health care industry, along with concerns he has about certain issues affecting health care today.
Specter feels that, in the face of inadequate funding, America may be lacking the medical staff, equipment and methodology to deal with any possible bio-terrorism attacks. He said the government should provide the where-with-all for medical workers to tackle any severe issues.
“Should there be a problem, you professionals will be the very first line of defense,” he said.
Officials from the Pharmacy and Medicine schools called Specter “a major advocate in promoting the use of federal funds for embryonic stem cell research,” recognizing the critical role this scientific therapy plays in the treatment of many diseases.”
Specter pointed out that President Bush opposes stem cell research; adding that he spoke to Bush about his opinions of the matter riding with him recently on Air Force One.
During the 106th Congress, Specter sponsored the “Medical Error Reduction Act of 2000.” School officials said the act “helped prevent and reduce medical errors in hospitals and other health care facilities.”
Another issue mentioned was “therapeutic cloning,” a process by which DNA can be duplicated and used to treat diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. The controversial procedure is currently banned, and Specter remarked that this will “tie the hands of scientists.”
Issues of censorship of science also create concern for many people outside of the medical school community.
Ross Colby, a doctoral candidate at Temple, is currently researching such ethical matters.
“Stem cell research is going to be valuable because the potential for therapeutic youth is just open-ended,” Colby said. “But we don’t want to forget that human life has intrinsic value for us, so it would be a mistake, I think, to treat the embryos that are needed for stem cell research as just cells, or just disposable.”
Following Specter’s speech, Richard Koreza, Dean of the School of Medicine, conducted a question and answer session. Questions were raised concerning the lofty price of malpractice insurance, and a need of funding for young researchers. Specter acknowledged that these were important matters, and said he’d discuss them with his peers.
The Temple University Health Science Center contains numerous educational and clinical institutions, including the Temple University Hospital, Children’s Medical Center, and the Schools of Dentistry, Allied Health Professions, Podiatric Medicine and Schools of Pharmacy.
The School of Pharmacy and Medicine have educated over 20,000 students over the past 100 years.
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