La Follette Outreach Director Terry Shelton helped brief a delegation of doctors and hospital administrators from Moldova on governmental affairs during their three-day visit to Madison in May.
The delegation of 10 visited the campus and the Capitol as part of a three-week professional exchange in Wisconsin focusing on hospital administration and health-care reform.
"Moldova is an emerging nation with many growing pains since they spun out of Russian rule 10 years ago," Shelton says. "They recognize they have a long way to go to update and modernize their systems and service."
The Moldovans showed a multimedia presentation about their country, its history and its health system to their campus hosts. In turn, Shelton explained La Follette's role in the Evidence-Based Health Program that provides non-partisan information for legislators on topical health issues. That four-year-old program is a partnership of the La Follette School, the Population Health Institute and the Wisconsin Legislative Council.
Shelton also explained the Wisconsin Idea and its tradition of the university helping to solve statewide problems.
"They had lots of questions about the relationship between the university and the state, and they were particularly interested in some of the international work done by our MIPA students in their capstone experience," Shelton says. "They could not believe we did such varied work for countries such as China, Bangladesh, India, Mexico and Canada."
They were also interested in how a bill becomes law, Shelton said. So he and Richard Sweet of the Legislative Council arranged for the delegation to attend a public hearing on a bill that would reduce the cost of prescription drugs. They were interested in seeing that both sides in a hearing got time to argue their points, Shelton says. Later, the group toured the Capitol.
The delegation's visit was sponsored by Community Connections, an agency of the U.S. Agency for International Development, which promotes public diplomacy through the exchange of cultural ideas and values among participants, U.S. families and local community host organizations. It seeks to establish and strengthen links between U.S. communities and communities in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan Republic, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
The Wisconsin portion of the visit was coordinated by World Services of La Crosse, with University of Wisconsin-Madison support from the La Follette School, the Center for Global Health, Center for Russia East Europe and Central Asia, and the Center for World Affairs and Global Economy.