Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Congresswoman Donna M. Christensen meets with UIS students
Congresswoman Donna M. Christensen, delegate from the U.S. Virgin Islands, met with students at the University of Illinois Springfield before delivering a keynote address on issues of race, class and ethics in health care on March 28, 2011.
“It’s amazing that in 2011 we still have people of color and rural residents dying from preventable causes and high numbers,” said Christensen.
Christensen is the first female physician in the history of the U.S. Congress, the first woman to represent an offshore territory, and the first woman delegate from the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“It shows me there is no limits. I can become a physician (an anesthesiologist). I can also be in congress,” said Jinger Sanders, sophomore biology major.
Delegate Christensen is the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust, which oversees and advocates minority health issues nationally and internationally. She has been quoted as saying, “Health care is the civil rights issue of the 21st century.”
“I think it’s a big issue for all of us, because it affects everybody. Whether you are young, old, black, white. It doesn’t matter, everyone needs health care at some point,” said Ryan Roth, senior political science major.
Christensen says she enjoys traveling and meeting with college students. She takes the concerns and ideas expressed by the people she talks to back to Washington.
“It was awesome that she was able to come here. I don’t know where else I would have the opportunity to meet with a U.S. congressman from the Virgin Islands,” said Matt Van Vossen, senior political science major.
UIS, the SIU School of Medicine, and the Illinois Humanities Council sponsored the congresswoman’s visit.