Thomas C. Sorensen Seminar: Rural and Urban Health Policy (March)


To fully comprehend the machinery of contemporary health policymaking and to understand the broad political dynamics that have conditioned American health policy, policymakers must integrate information from multiple and varied sources. This seminar familiarized participants with the institutional and economic complexity of the American health care system through the study of the interaction between the key players in health care financing and organization—employers, private insurance carriers, government regulators, health care providers, and consumers. Participants also explored the cultural and ideological underpinnings of modern conceptions of health and the recurrent ethical dilemmas facing health care providers, patients, and policymakers.

Seminar leaders:
David Palm is the administrator of the Office of Public Health in the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. The Office of Public Health is responsible for managing the Nebraska Health Care Cash Fund grant program and the Turning Point implementation grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Dr. Palm has a Bachelor’s Degree in business administration from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota; a Master’s Degree in economics from the University of Wyoming; and a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Nebraska­–Lincoln. For the past 20 years, Dr. Palm has taught a class in health economics at the University of Nebraska­–Lincoln.

Magda Peck is professor and associate chairperson for Community Health and Chief, Section on Child Health Policy in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. She is the director of Health Policy and Planning at UNMC’s Munroe Meyer Institute for Genetics and Rehabilitation. Dr. Peck also is the CEO, executive director, and founder of CityMatCH. Dr. Peck received her Sc.M. and Sc.D. from the Harvard University School of Public Health. She is a graduate of Leadership Omaha, was the recipient of the 1997 Greater Omaha YWCA Outstanding Woman of Distinction Award, and received the 1999 Whitney Young Award of the Urban League of Nebraska. Also, in 1999, Dr. Peck was the first recipient of CDC’s new Maternal, Infant, and Child Health Epidemiology Award for “Building Data Capacity for MCH at the National Level.”

DiAnna R. Schimek is the Nebraska state senator for District #27, which encompasses most of West Lincoln. Senator Schimek was first elected to the Nebraska Legislature in 1988 and was reelected in 1992, 1996, and again in 2000. She serves as Government, Military & Veterans Affairs chair and is a member of the Business and Labor Committee, the Agriculture Committee, and the Committee on Committees. She is a former teacher and realtor. Senator Schimek is chair of the Midwest Legislative Conference of the Council of State Governments. She is past president and secretary of the Lincoln Senior Center Foundation Board and has been active in many community organizations. She has a B.A. in education from the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

Alice Schumaker is an assistant professor of Public Administration at the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s College of Public Affairs and Community Service. She received a B.S. and M.S. from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, an M.P.A. from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She serves as the director of the Nebraska Municipal Clerks’ School and Academy, a certification program for municipal clerks. Her research interests are community development and capacity building in rural communities and urban neighborhoods, and health care policy and delivery systems. She currently administers grants in the areas of youth violence reduction, neighborhood capacity building, and community development block grant administration training.