Speakers to lead health care
discussion at Holy Spirit

By Paul Crum

Pax Christi Memphis

Retired physician Arthur Sutherland, III, M.D., FACC and local health care advocate Emily Fulmer will lead a discussion on health care issues at Church of the Holy Spirit at 7:15 p.m. on Tuesday, June 2nd.

Dr. Sutherland is founder of the Sutherland Cardiology Clinic in Memphis. He is currently working with The Healthy Memphis Common Table as a Board member, and coordinator of its six work groups and thirty one current community projects. Improving health literacy and elimination of social and health disparities are high priority agenda issues for Dr. Sutherland. He is a member of the Memphis School of Servant Leadership, is currently serving as Chairman of the TN Chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program, and attends St. Patrick Church.

Emily Fulmer is the West Tennessee Regional Coordinator and Lead Organizer for the Tennessee Health Care Campaign (THCC).  THCC is the only state-wide, nonprofit, grassroots advocacy organization that is working for health care justice.  The group works for quality, affordable, and guaranteed health care for Tennesseans by organizing locally to strengthen the safety nets for medically fragile Tennesseans while also engaging in the national conversation over health care reform. In the past, Emily has worked as a grassroots and faith-based organizer on various social issues all across middle and west Tennessee. She is a graduate of Vanderbilt Divinity School with a Masters Degree in Theology. She and her husband, Burt, worship at Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

After a presentation from both speakers, ample time will be provided for questions and general discussion. Pax Christi Memphis, who is presenting the program, has been involved in a year-long study of Joseph Barndt’s book, Dismantling Racism. The health care topic is of particular interest since several studies, including a recent one at Dartmouth University have concluded that race and place of residence can have a staggering impact on the course and quality of the medical treatment a patient receives, showing that blacks with diabetes or vascular disease are nearly five times more likely than whites to have a leg amputated and that women in Mississippi are far less likely to have mammograms than those in Maine. The study examined Medicare claims for evidence of racial and geographic disparities and found that on a variety of quality indices, blacks typically were less likely to receive recommended care than whites within a given region.

Health Care reform is a very timely topic. Both houses of congress are expected to vote on legislation before they recess in August. The issue is of particular interest to many people of faith. In the conclusion to their Ethical and Religious Directives to for Catholic Health Care Services, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops noted, “Jesus not only taught his disciples to be compassionate, but he also told them who should be the special object of their compassion. The parable of the feast with its humble guests was preceded by the instruction: ‘When you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind’ (Luke 14:13). These were people whom Jesus healed and loved. Catholic health care is a response to the challenge of Jesus to go and do likewise.”

The public is invited to attend this discussion. Church of the Holy Spirit is located at 2300 Hickory Crest Drive in Memphis. Pax Christi meets the first Tuesday of every month.

Emily Fulmer                        Dr. Arthur Sutherland