HALO wins Event of the Year

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Each year the Medical Student Council hosts a formal gala event where it hands out awards and superlatives. This year the MSC nominated four student organizations for Event of the Year. From those, the Health and Law Organization was chosen for its panel discussion on the Affordable Care Act.

Student organizations co-sponsoring the event included Business and Medicine (BAM) and the Surgery and Anesthesiology Interest Group (SAIG). HALO’s president, second-year student Joseph Babcock, served as moderator.

Professor Marshall Kapp, the organization’s faculty advisor, is director of the Center for Innovative Collaboration in Medicine and Law and served as a panelist.

“I brainstormed with Professor Kapp, and we came up with ideas for panelists among FSU faculty and community members who would be knowledgeable on the subject and represent both sides of the issue,” said Babcock.

Roughly 120 medical students, law students, undergraduates and faculty attended. The panel gave them a chance to discuss the ACA and its relevance to the changing medical-legal landscape.

“HALO did a phenomenal job in recruiting well-versed professionals for the panel who all had different opinions on the Affordable Care Act,” said first-year student and MSC President Hunter Renfro. “Joseph also did a great job in mediating the panel and fielding questions beforehand to accommodate all students and faculty attending.”

As he moderated the event, Babcock noticed that “from the opposed side, panelists gave ominous warnings of a future health care disaster, whereas the supporting side predicted healthcare efficiency, cost savings and increased access to care.”

Despite the divisiveness of such an issue, panelists agreed on one thing.

“I think, if anything, the consensus reached by panelists was that it is too soon to tell precisely how things will play out,” Babcock explained. “They all agreed that only over time will we truly see the impact of the ACA on the American health care system and economy.”

The event’s numerous attendees and the topic’s relevance led HALO to win the MSC Event of the Year Award which is presented each January during their gala. Three other student organization events were nominated among about 30 College of Medicine student organizations.

“The Affordable Care Act event stood out not only because of the large attendance but because of the pertinence of the issue at hand,” said Renfro. “We are taught in class about the basics of our health care system and its financial status, but seeing its effect on practicing physicians and those involved in the lawmaking process was very eye-opening and beneficial for both first- and second-years.”

Panelists were:

  • Andrew Borom, M.D., orthopedic surgeon, vice president of Florida Medical Association Political Action Committee.
  • Tamara Demko, J.D., M.P.H., executive director, The Florida Tax Watch Center for Health and Aging.
  • Marshall Kapp, J.D., M.P.H., director, FSU Center for Innovative Collaboration in Medicine and Law, and advisor, Health and Law Organization.
  • John Katopodis, M.D., cardiologist, president of Florida Medical Association Political Action Committee.
  • William Weissert, Ph.D., professor, FSU Department of Political Science.
  • Daniel Van Durme, M.D., professor and chair, FSU College of Medicine Department of Medicine and Rural Health.

The Health and Law Organization (HALO) encourages interdisciplinary engagement between students interested in the fields of medicine and law. The organization aims to create fellowship amongst students in both the FSU medical and law schools to enhance understanding and nurture a commitment to lifelong interdisciplinary education. Representing the College of Medicine, HALO strives to engage participants with guest speakers on selected topics, service projects and networking events.