Centre College gets fourth Fulbright this year
DANVILLE, KY - Carree Coffee, a Louisville resident and recent graduate of Centre College, has been chosen to become a Fulbright Scholar, giving the college four Fulbrights in its class of 2000. This is a record number of Fulbright Scholars for Centre in a single year.
Coffee joins John Goodman of Mobile, Ala.; Kristel Clayville of Frankfort and Edmund Sauer of Bardstown as this year's honorees. The Fulbright program, which is funded by the United States and other countries, is designed to promote mutual understanding of people from countries around the world. Each scholar receives a stipend for a year of international study.
The four recipients this year extend a Centre tradition that has produced 15 Fulbright Scholars in the last ten years. The college also has a current Rhodes Scholar, as well as Truman and Goldwater scholarship winners.
Coffee, who majored in biology and microbiology, will use her Fulbright stipend to study the Canadian approach to socialized healthcare. She will spend the year at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, at the Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis. By looking at what does - and does not - work in Canada, she hopes to develop a plan to improve healthcare back home.
Coffee previously studied socialized medicine during a term in London in Centre's study abroad program. As a senior, she completed an independent study at the Danville hospital and studied healthcare in Kentucky.
Based on what she already knows about healthcare system in Canada, Coffee says it's ironic that the Canadian system is in such trouble today because even five years ago it was a model for other counties. "Our healthcare reforms in 1995 were originally modeled on Canada," Coffee notes.
Unfortunately, the cost of the Canadian approach is now bankrupting the country's healthcare system.
"I think you have to treat healthcare as either a commodity or a privilege," Coffee says. "It's kind of hard to draw the line, because it's something that everyone should be entitled to. But at the same time, we have a free-market economy, and you can't just force the government to do it all."
Coffee looks to her experience with a medical mission in Jamaica for a couple of possible solutions. For one, she believes that churches and other nonprofit organizations can play an important role in a national healthcare plan.
She also thinks the mission approach is efficient. "You don't have the time and money to treat problems as they arise," she says. "You have to teach people how to keep themselves from getting sick. I think emphasizing preventative care is an investment that could save billions of dollars."
This summer, as she has for the previous two, Coffee did spinal cord research at the University of Louisville. She will probably apply to medical school after her Fulbright year, but doesn't want to predict the future just yet. Regardless, she says, "I thought the more I know about healthcare policy the better. A lot of doctors don't know what's going on with all the politics, and that's part of the problem. It hurts the patients in the end."
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Public information coordinator: Patsi Barnes Trollinger