68th Midwestern Legislative Conference
The 68th Midwestern Legislative Conference was hosted in St. Paul this month from July 14-17. Over 600 people were in attendance. Dr. Patricia Simmons was the lunch key note speaker for the first day of the conference, and spoke about the Mayo legacy, the Mayo model of healthcare delivery, innovations that have contributed to Mayo’s success, and what other states can learn from Mayo’s model. Other sessions included Jonathan Haidt, a Thomas Colley Professor of Ethical Leadership, on “The Righteous Mind: Why good people are divided by politics and religion”, Jon Meacham on “Leadership lessons from the past”, and Anne Bancroft, polar explorer and educator, on “Empowering and Inspiring Young People to Achieve Their Dreams.”
On Wednesday July 17, legislators and their families from across the Midwest (and some Canadian provinces), came to Rochester to tour the Mayo Clinic as part of a special event at the end of the conference. Senator Nelson was part of the host committee that planned the conference and the trip to Rochester. Visitors arrived in Rochester via coach bus and gathered in Annenberg Plaza where Dr. Simmons, the Medical Director for Health Policy, spoke about the history of Mayo and the buildings on the downtown campus. Visitors also had the opportunity to tour the new Proton Beam Facility and learn about Mayo’s Proton Beam Therapy Program. The facility will open in mid-2015 with the program serving 2,400 patients a year between the Scottsdale and Rochester centers. Proton Beam Therapy targets tumors more specifically than treatments administered now, using half as much radiation as traditional x-rays. This therapy pinpoints the tumor using a thin beam of protons that stops after hitting the tumor rather than continuing on through the body and damaging healthy tissue. Additionally, Dr. Brad Narr, Chair of both the Surgical Department and the Anesthesiology Department, spoke about Mayo’s care-giving model, and Scott Beck informed visitors about the Center for Individualized Medicine. The day was a success, as visitors had the opportunity to see some of the most advanced health technologies in the world and learn from experts about how Mayo provides quality and efficient healthcare through innovative scientific advancements.
Senator Nelson was also on the Billd Steering Committee. The Bowhay Institute encourages new legislators and helps them develop skills to be an effective leader. The steering committee provides training to new legislators, oversees development of the Billd curriculum, and awards Billd fellowships. Senator Nelson was a Billd fellow in 2003, which makes her a perfect fit for the steering committee.