Tulane University President and Vice President to Testify Before Senate Committee

July 11, 2006

Mike Strecker
Phone: 504-865-5210

The U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hear testimony from Tulane University President Scott Cowen and Tulane Senior Vice President for Health Sciences Paul Whelton when it holds hearings July 14 at the Louisiana Supreme Court, 400 Royal Street in New Orleans.

Cowen will address the committee's Education and Early Childhood Development Subcommittee, which is chaired by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN). The subcommittee will convene from 9:30 to 11:45 a.m. Cowen, who chaired the Education Committee of Mayor Ray Nagin's Bring New Orleans Back Commission, will discuss the ongoing recovery of New Orleans K-12 public school system.

He will outline the challenges to the system brought on by Hurricane Katrina and years of neglect, including the need to rebuild school facilities, improve student performance, recruit qualified teachers, establish a universal pre-kindergarten program and find a single body to oversee schools whose governance is currently split between the Orleans Parish School Board, the Recovery School District, the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and various charter school boards and authorizers.

Whelton, who served on the Louisiana Recovery Authority Taskforce on Public Health and Health Care and co-chaired the Bring New Orleans Back Commission's Core Public Health Issues Subcommittee, will address the Bioterrorism and Public Health Preparedness Subcommittee on the public health recovery of New Orleans.

The subcommittee, chaired by Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), will convene from 12:45 to 1:45 p.m. Whelton will point out significant progress but note that the city still has a long way to go before its health care and public health preparedness are robust enough to serve the city's current population.

Whelton will seek the subcommittee's support in rebuilding the city's healthcare infrastructure, helping the uninsured, strengthening the city's healthcare workforce and reauthorizing the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act to assist in the recovery from Katrina and the planning for future disasters.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000