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Mission week panel tackles health care

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Photo by Rebecca Rebholz/ rebecca.rebholz@mu.edu

Photo by Rebecca Rebholz/ rebecca.rebholz@mu.edu

Eight panelists, including three Opus Prize recipients, discussed the state of health care around the world Wednesday in the Weasler Auditorium as part of Marquette’s Mission Week. Following the 2013 Mission Week theme of “The World is our Home,” the event was titled, “Caring for our neighbors locally and globally: addressing health care disparities and community health initiatives.”

Headlining the panel was Brother Stan Goetschalckx, who received the Opus Prize in 2007; the Rev. John Halligan, who was given the award in 2010; and the Rev. Richard Frechette, who received the accolade in 2012. The three people were honored by the Opus Prize Foundation for their exceptional faith-based humanitarian efforts.

Additionally, 2006 recipient Zilda Arns Neumann was represented on the panel by her son, Nelson Neumann, while 2010 Opus Prize winner Sister Beatrice Chipeta had Peter Daino, one of her staff members, stand in for her. Dr. Earnestine Willis of the Medical College of Wisconsin, Dr. John Bartkowski of the Sixteenth Street Clinic and Dr. Christopher Okunseri of the Marquette Dental School filled out the panel, as they were identified as health leaders in Milwaukee County.

After a series of five videos introducing the five Opus Prize winners, the panel fielded questions from moderator Meg Kissinger of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about the work they do all over the world. Many of the panelists’ most powerful answers came in response to Kissinger’s question on how Marquette students can “Be the Difference.”

The Rev. Rick Frechette, who serves more than 150,000 Haitians every year through his St. Luke Foundation for Haiti, said students can go a long way by simply taking a stand for what they believe in.

“If you’re tired of all the divisions, cross the dividing line,” Frechette said. “If you’re tired of all the wars, be a peaceful person. If you’re tired of a false world, be true. If you’re tired of deception in the world, be a good friend. If you’re tired of lawlessness, keep your principles firm. What you wish the world to be, start being it.”

During the audience question period, one woman asked the panelists about gender equality in the countries they serve. Daino said that in Malawi, the glass ceiling for women was broken when the country elected its first female president.

Girls in Malawi are now excited about education,” he said. “It’s important to have more educational opportunities for girls.”

The Mission Week festivities will continue through Friday, with the keynote event happening today in the Varsity Theater at 3:30 p.m. Students can get tickets with their MUIDs at the Brooks Lounge. 

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