Michelle Obama, David Axelrod and the University of Chicago Medical School
The Post's Joe Stephens reports today about the many ties between Barack and Michelle Obamaand the University of Chicago and its medical school. Michelle is currently taking a leave from her $317,000-a-year post as vice president of community and external relations to work on her husband's campaign.
At the medical center, one of her signature efforts has been working to relieve crowding in the emergency room, where visits have increased 14 percent in three years. Crowding of emergency rooms, particularly with the poor and uninsured, is an intractable and costly social problem that confronts many large urban hospitals. It also raises questions about how much care large, tax-exempt nonprofit hospitals like the University of Chicago should devote to the poor in the surrounding neighborhoods.
To deal with these issues, the medical center launched an Urban Health Initiative aimed at lessening overcrowding by directing people to nearby health clinics. To help promote the effort, the medical center in December 2006, on the recommendation of Michelle Obama and others at the center, hired ASK Public Strategies, a public relations firm co-owned by David Axelrod, who would soon become Barack Obama's chief campaign strategist.
Opinion research commissioned as part of the effort showed that primary care doctors opposed the Urban Health Initiative as a break with the medical center's commitment to the community. Some doctors dismissed the local health clinics as "wholly inadequate."
To sell the initiative to the public, Axelrod's firm recommended an aggressive effort modeled on a political campaign, with a campaign manager, focus groups, messages targeted to specific constituencies and third-party "validators" who could promote the project to the media.
Some of the recommendations appear to have been adopted and others were not. Medical center officials say it is too soon to evaluate the initiative's success. Neither Michelle Obama nor Axelrod agreed to speak to Stephens for the article.
By The Editors |
August 22, 2008; 10:52 AM ET
Previous: Report: Federal Helium Program Full of Hot Air | Next: Picks of the Week: Milwaukee Schools Spending, Border Tracking, and Child Hunting Deaths
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: dragonfly777 | August 22, 2008 12:59 PM
Posted by: longwalksinparis.blogspot.com | August 23, 2008 10:28 AM
Posted by: longwalksinparis.blogspot.com | August 23, 2008 10:34 AM
Posted by: Medical Student At University of Chicago. | August 23, 2008 4:42 PM
Posted by: a concerned citizen | August 24, 2008 2:10 AM
Posted by: reformthesystem | August 24, 2008 8:23 AM
Posted by: Tom LeClair | August 24, 2008 4:44 PM
Posted by: eve | August 25, 2008 9:39 AM
Posted by: pinkydink53 | August 25, 2008 10:38 AM
Posted by: whatthehay? | August 26, 2008 1:08 AM
Posted by: Chicago hack | August 27, 2008 11:04 AM
Posted by: jrzshor | August 27, 2008 1:12 PM