Roundtable Discussions on Pressing Questions in Health Care

The Roundtable Discussions on Pressing Questions in Health Care is a series of collaborative conversations with faculty around the country.

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Past Discussions

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The Medicalization of Poverty

It is well documented that a number of diseases are strongly linked to poverty, and poverty is a strong predictor of health status. But a second aspect of poverty is less well-explored — that we have medicalized poverty. Through expert-led panel discussions, we will explore the connection between poverty, disease burden, and healthcare expenditures — and bring sustained energy and new voices to the challenge of developing creative approaches to improve the health and life chances of the most disadvantaged in our society.


  • Dr. Marissa Levine, Former State Health Commissioner, Virginia Department of Health

  • Professor Ruby Mendenhall, University of Illinois

  • Professor Robin Fretwell Wilson

A panel presentation will take place Thursday, April 4, 2019 at the University of Illinois College of Law, Champaign, IL. And a roundtable discussion with public health officials will take place Friday, April 5, 2019, at the Discovery Partners Institute in Chicago, IL.

Co-sponsored by College of Law, Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute, Discovery Partners Institute, and Health and Elder Law Society.


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The first roundtable was co-convened with Michele Bratcher Goodwin (Chancellor’s Professor of Law at University of California, Irvine and founder of The Institute for Global Child Advocacy) in January 2017 and discussed questions of religious conscience and access to healthcare.

View the livestream of the dialogue on how thorny the question of balancing access and conscience can be:

The second roundtable took place on April 4, 2017, at the Idaho State Capitol Building, examining the staggering rate of child deaths in certain faith communities in Idaho. Religion & Child Welfare: Do They Have to Be at Odds? was a discussion with then-Idaho Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, Professor of Law Shaakirrah Sanders from the University of Idaho College of Law, and Professor Robin Wilson of the University of Illinois College of Law. The discussion was moderated by Idaho Representative John McCrostie.