By Tina Lee
The American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) is presenting the first-ever legislative day event on Friday, April 20, to increase UCSF student political involvement by exposing them to legislative issues pertaining to their profession.
Traditionally, the day has consisted of only a dinner during which issues ranging from Medicare Part D, ethics of legalized abortion, to pros and cons of imported drugs are discussed. This year, Lorie Rice, associate dean of external affairs and assistant professor of clinical pharmacy in the UCSF School of Pharmacy, invited guest speaker, California State Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) to address key issues relating to health care.
Leno will focus his talk on current initiatives in the state Capitol aimed at achieving universal health care in California as well as other legislation related to health care for Californians. A health fair will then be held at City Hall for elected officials and city employees, followed by a formal dinner to draft student opinion about issues addressed in the speech.
Leno started a business career in 1978 as the co-owner with his life partner of a small San Francisco business. After his partner died from complications of HIV/AIDS in 1990, Leno was inspired to increase his community service and became involved in the American Foundation for AIDS Research, receiving the Award of Courage from the foundation in 2004.
Leno began his political career by serving on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors from April 1998 to November 2002 before being elected to the Assembly in 2002. He currently serves as chair of the Assembly Appropriations Committee and is a member of several other committees. Last month, Leno announced his candidacy for state Senate in 2008 election to represent District 3, which includes the eastern portion of San Francisco.
Leno has authored the landmark Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, which was the first state bill recognizing gay and lesbian marriages to be passed by both houses of a state legislature. This landmark piece of legislation made California the frontrunner in supporting gay and lesbian rights and has been reintroduced in the current legislative session after being vetoed by the Governor last year.
"My style has always been one of inclusion, accessibility, collaboration and respect," Leno said. "I'm extremely excited about making government more responsive and making it work harder for more people."
Ledge Day Schedule of Events
* Student Leader and Assemblyman Meeting: 11 a.m., School of Pharmacy Dean's Conference Room, S 936: Ledge Day kicks off with Assemblyman Mark Leno meeting with student organization leaders in the schools of pharmacy, dentistry and medicine. Student leaders and Leno will describe the goals of Ledge Day to finalize topics in health care they would like Leno's speech to address.
* Assemblyman Mark Leno's Speech: Noon to 1 p.m., School of Nursing, room N 225: All UCSF students are invited to hear Leno give a speech advocating California to adopt universal health care. Lunch will be provided.
* City Hall Health Fair, 2 to 5 p.m., City Hall Basement Level: Pharmacy students will host a fair to inform the Board of Supervisors and City Hall employees about improving personal health management. Students will present posters on tobacco cessation, immunizations, diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol, women's and men's health, and over-the-counter and herbal products. In addition to educating the public about their disease management and prevention, they will be administering diagnostic health screenings. This is a novel effort to promote the profession of pharmacy to city officials and make a gesture symbolizing UCSF student commitment to the city.
* Ledge Day Dinner, 6 p.m., Faculty/Alumni House: Twenty-five lucky pharmacy students will be selected to attend a semiformal dinner with faculty members, other school organization leaders and California Pharmacists Association representatives. Faculty members will facilitate breakout sessions in which students draft their stances on behalf of the UCSF student body on three key issues addressed by Assemblyman Leno. These stances will be formalized and sent to Leno so that he can better represent UCSF in the Assembly.
California State Assemblyman Mark Leno