Kettering College students, faculty, alumni, and staff worked behind the scenes to support federal legislation that would protect funding for nursing schools nationwide.
Kettering College Mobilizes to Support Legislation
Kettering College students, faculty, alumni, and staff worked behind the scenes to support federal legislation that would protect funding for nursing schools nationwide. Their grassroots efforts paid off. Legislators from both sides of the aisle have introduced related bills in the United States Congress.
At issue is funding for hospital-based nursing education programs like the one at Kettering College. In order to receive funding from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), such programs must be part of a hospital. However, new standards issued by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC)—the largest accrediting body for higher education—require hospital-based programs to become separately incorporated in order to retain accreditation.
Because of these conflicting standards, more than 100 nursing education programs are at risk of losing crucial funding, a problem that could result in significant tuition increases and program cuts. In mid-2014 Kettering Health Network’s Jarrod McNaughton, vice president of missions and development, and P. J. Brafford, manager of government relations, began working with others in the network to make lawmakers aware of this problem.
A first step was for Kettering College president Nate Brandstater to call and visit numerous congressional offices in Washington, D.C. Brandstater wasn’t the only one: people affiliated with other nursing schools and health-related organizations also voiced their support of legislative action. In July 2014 the Making the Education of Nurses Dependable for Schools (MEND) Act was introduced in the House of Representatives, which would revise CMS requirements so that the agency could continue to support hospital-based nursing schools that reincorporate independently to maintain HLC accreditation.
The next step was to encourage the Kettering College family to speak out through two “call campaigns.” “Students were the first group that came to mind because they are impacted in the most direct and immediate way,” Brafford said. “Bringing Kettering College faculty and staff into the mix, along with network executives and employees, was a natural next step. Everyone at Kettering Health Network recognizes the importance of affordable, high-quality medical education to ensure that we have enough professionals to meet the long-term needs of a changing population.”
School officials set up a communications area on campus, and invited students, faculty, staff, alumni, and network employees to stop by and make phone calls to legislators’ offices and tweet their support of legislative action.
“Students were nervous, but once they realized how easy this was, they quickly became comfortable with the idea,” says Brandstater. “It was empowering for them to play a role in influencing our elected officials to address this important issue.”
Hundreds of calls and tweets later, significant progress had been made. Many new cosponsors have added their names to the House of Representatives bill. That bill is awaiting a hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee. On March 3, 2015, Ohio senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown introduced the MEND Act in the U.S. Senate. They are gathering support for the bill, which mirrors the House bill and has six cosponsors.
Brandstater says he is optimistic that lawmakers will enact legislation to preserve the vital funding. “This experience has highlighted to me how important it is to nurture relationships with our elected officials, who can be extremely helpful when critical needs arise,” he said. “The fact that the issue we’re trying to address is well understood, broadly supported, and not controversial makes it easy for elected officials to get behind it. We are extremely grateful for their support of affordable education for our nation’s future health-care providers.”
—Jessica Beans, Kettering College
Tour de Youth: Ride for the Future
The Tour de France bicycle race is one of the most challenging endurance events in the world. It consists of cyclists riding for two weeks, more than 2,200 grueling miles, with brutal mountain ascents and unpredictable weather. Cyclists brave these conditions for a chance to wear the coveted maillot jaune (yellow jersey). Many who start the race are unable to complete it, because it is truly a “suffer fest.”
On June 28, 2015, cyclists from around the United States—pastors and lay members—will join members of the Southwest Region Conference in a Tour de Youth (TDY) cycling event. Team Southwest will ride from Dallas, Texas, to the sixtieth General Conference session in San Antonio. This ride is not for the maillot jaune, but for a far more precious prize: children and youth. TDY will be a five-day, 325-mile journey to raise awareness of youth and adult obesity, promote healthful lifestyles, and raise funds for Adventist education.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during the past 10 years obesity rates in children ages 6-11 have doubled, and for children ages 12-19 rates have tripled. Higher obesity rates are often found in minority communities. Elizabeth Landau, CNN.com Health, reported that adult and youth obesity rates have risen in 28 states during the past few years and are projected to continue. “Ten out of 11 states with the highest rates of obesity are located in the South,” she reported.
In addition to highlighting health challenges facing Adventist youth, TDY will raise money to help make Adventist education more affordable. Adventist schools play an important role in the health and lifestyle choices of children. Yet they also face significant challenges. Larry Blackmer, vice president of education for the North American Division, wrote: “Formal Adventist education . . . is serving fewer than 40 percent of the children in our churches.
“It’s obvious that we must find ways both to make Adventist education affordable and to provide Adventist educational services to those who can’t or choose not to utilize the formal Adventist school system.”*
The Tour de Youth Ride for the Future will be an expression of support, offering at-risk boys and girls an alternative environment in which to grow physically, spiritually, and academically while pursuing the American dream.
Visit http://www.mysouthwestregion.org/tourdeyouth2015 for more information.
—Kenn Dixon, Southwest Region Conference
More Than 300 Baptized in Edmonton
As spring emerged from the cold of a northern winter, hope sprang up in the hearts of many people in Alberta’s “Gateway to the North.”
A three-year-long citywide evangelistic project reached its crescendo as It Is Written speaker/director John Bradshaw presented Revelation Today, a monthlong study of many of the major themes of the Bible. Conducted in partnership with more than 20 local churches and companies, the city of Edmonton experienced an exciting harvest, the result of several years of careful sowing and cultivation. Four new church plants have been established, two of which worked directly with the series.
“While Edmonton is known as a difficult city to reach with the gospel, we’ve seen here an openness, a strong response to the invitation to know and accept Jesus,” Bradshaw said. “The churches have been working for some time, and the seeds that have been sown are starting to grow for the Lord.”
Yves Monnier, director of evangelism at It Is Written, was encouraged by the strong emphasis on planting new churches in Edmonton. “Many of those attending Revelation Today will become involved with the new church plants,” he reported. “We hope each church will have more than 100 members.”
During the first week of the Revelation Today meetings, Fountainview Academy Orchestra and singers from the British Columbia Conference entertained seminar guests with music performances. During the day, students visited Edmonton’s Light Rail Transit stations and invited people to attend the series: others were invited through street ministries in Edmonton. Several people attended Revelation Today on the strength of these invitations alone.
Keith LaRoy, outreach coordinator in Edmonton, managed a team of seven full-time Bible workers and assisting pastors and churches during this three-year project. He feels that the Revelation Today series came at the perfect time in Edmonton.
“This city is young and affluent compared to the national average. As a result, the vast majority of folks are just not interested in spiritual things,” LaRoy said. “Politically, economically, socially, religiously, this series could not have been better timed. We sense that God is trying to get people’s attention in this city.”
Bible study enrollment cards were distributed throughout Edmonton, and more than 300 people have been baptized.
Many of the Bible workers reported providential, positive experiences. Many encouraging testimonies about the activity of the Holy Spirit were heard throughout the series.
A Bible worker responding to a request for Bible studies was immediately buzzed into an apartment building when he stopped to visit. He was confused when a woman handed him a $20 bill. The woman he met was confused because he didn’t have the Chinese food she had ordered! When the misunderstanding was corrected, she began Bible studies and started preparing to for baptism.
A woman who received a Bible study enrollment card began taking Bible studies and attended the meetings, the first time she has ever attended anything related to the Bible. Her husband, a self-proclaimed nonbeliever, also attended.
A man who mailed in an It Is Written Bible study request card decided against pursuing the studies, and told the Bible worker he wasn’t interested in attending Revelation Today. However, he showed up on opening night with his whole family and attended the meetings every night.
One Bible worker struck up a conversation with a man he was sitting next to in a public library. Eventually they started studying the Bible together. The young man not only attended the series, but also helped with registration as a volunteer.
As spring heralds new life, so new life is being experienced by many who responded to the invitation to know Jesus personally.
—Annalyse Hasty, It Is Written