MV Adult Community Education tackles healthcare reform

Martha's Vineyard High School is a busy place in the evening when ACE MV students arrive. — File photo by Susan Safford

It is unlikely that the controversies over health care reform will be settled by the outcome of next week’s elections. In fact many people think the issue is too important to be left solely to the politicians. ACE MV (Adult Community Education of Martha’s Vineyard) is offering a series of classes designed to provide information on the issues surrounding health care reform.

On three successive Tuesday evenings starting October 30, ACE is offering a two-hour seminar on the subject entitled “Health Care Reform: An Update.” Vineyarder Grace Sullivan, D.N.Sc., a nurse practitioner with more than 30 years of teaching and nursing experience, will lead the course.

“Health care in the future will look very different from health care today,” Dr. Sullivan said. “Sweeping changes will be made in the way it is delivered and financed. This class is an opportunity for Vineyarders to engage with Island health care providers to determine what kind of services we want in the future.”

The idea for the seminar began with the screening of a provocative documentary, “Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare,” shown at last summer’s Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival. The film will be shown at the ACE seminar. In addition, readings and discussions will foster a better understanding of the whys and hows of the current crisis and will consider what models of transformation suggested in the film might be pertinent to the Vineyard’s unique situation and needs.

Specific Island dilemmas include problems with accessibility to specialists, the fact that some primary care doctors do not have admitting privileges at the hospital, and the reality that ordinary procedures can cost many times the amount they do on themainland.

A panel discussion featuring Island health care providers and representatives of Island agencies is slated for the final evening. The panelists will include Dr. Peter Pil, a surgeon and Chief of Staff for the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital; Sarah Kuh, Director of Vineyard Healthcare Access, and David Caron, director of the hospital pharmacy and chairman of the Dukes County Health Council.

The seminar provides the option of continuing education credits to psychologists, social workers, licensed mental health counselors, and nurses.

The seminars are open to all members of the public including health care professionals and ACE MV provides a discount for groups or two or more.

The healthy living component of ACE’s fall offerings also includes an on-Island three-credit Cape Cod Community College course, “Psychology 201” (“Psychology 101” prerequisite), which starts the first week of November. It is part of ACE’s commitment to prepare to provide credit courses for students on the Island, so that they can experience the spontaneity, feedback, and companionship of a real classroom not available with online courses.

Other healthy living classes offered this fall include “Stress Reduction” with Dr. Kristine Kopp; “Alexander Technique” with Margaret Knight; “Understanding Medicare” with Mary Leddy; “Warming the Heart Creative Spin” with OM of Motion’s Kimberly Cartwright and Triva Emery; and American Red Cross Training and Recovery Education sponsored by NAMI . Further descriptions and registration information is available at or call ACE/MV at 774-310-1131.

Susan Strane is a member of the ACE/MVboard of directors.