Klay Kelley, Belmont University’s student body president, will address approximately 100 student government leaders, representing more than one million students from 50 universities nationwide, when they meet in Nashville Oct. 5-7 to discuss healthcare issues.
The student leaders are meeting under the banner of SHOUTAmerica, a new non-profit group created to engage young Americans in the debate over healthcare. The group will convene at the Scarritt-Bennett Center, just blocks from the Oct. 7 presidential debate in Belmont’s Curb Event Center.
“This year it will cost $2.4 trillion to fund our healthcare system, which is the world’s most expensive, yet this same system ranks 37th in terms of quality,” said Landon Gibbs, 26, executive director and co-founder of SHOUTAmerica. “It’s clear we need changes that address the rising cost of healthcare – and we believe young people have to lead that discussion, because it is our future that is at risk.”
Conference participants come from 50 different universities, including Harvard, NYU, Columbia, Vanderbilt, Texas and Missouri. At the event, they will meet with U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., and Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, chair of Clinical Bioethics at the Clinical Center of the National Institutes of Health, former member of President Clinton’s Health Care Task Force and author of Healthcare, Guaranteed: A Simple, Secure Solution for America.
They will also have a special viewing of the original Declaration of Independence before signing their own Declaration of Commitment to healthcare reform. The group will post the declaration on its website at www.shoutamerica.com in order to meet its goal of securing one million signatures.
“The country can’t ignore a million young voices,” said Gibbs.
SHOUTAmerica was funded with a donation from Clayton McWhorter, chairman of Clayton Associates, former Chairman and CEO of HealthTrust, Inc., former COO of Hospital Corp. of America and a veteran healthcare executive associated with more than 35 healthcare companies throughout his career. “I’ve had a wonderful career in healthcare, so it’s right for me to give back at this stage,” he said. “I’m excited about the energy and fresh ideas these young people bring to the challenge. I am personally committed to helping them find the resources so their voices can be heard.”
Gibbs noted, “With Clayton’s vision and experience, he has the ability to infect us with a passion to explore the issues and problems surrounding healthcare in our country.”
SHOUTAmerica is a non-profit, non-partisan organization committed to engaging a new generation of Americans in the debate over the future of healthcare. In an interactive campaign centered on awareness, education and promoting dialogue, SHOUTAmerica will enable the voices of young people to be heard in the search for sustainable solutions to the healthcare crisis.