Royal Palm Beach Mayor Fred Pinto recently spoke to the students in Professor M.J. Duthie’s community nursing class at the NRI Institute of Health Sciences, located in the Royal Plaza.
The class is studying health planning and policy, and Pinto gave the students a real-world look at how policy is implemented and developed at the local, state and national levels. Pinto also displayed his broad knowledge of healthcare policy by addressing a wide range of topics and answering student questions.
Pinto started his talk by addressing the current virus pandemic and its impact on the community and public health. He pointed out that even a major public health threat like the pandemic involves the political process and political biases. He noted protests by anti-mask people, even though the science and public health officials have recommended masking as one of the best possible community responses to stem the pandemic until society achieves herd immunity.
Pinto then addressed the issue of healthcare nationally and how health policy is greatly influenced by the party in power. He added that there has been constant debate for 120 years over the need for a national healthcare plan and policy, noting President Harry Truman’s efforts to adopt healthcare for all Americans in the aftermath of World War II. The effort failed, and healthcare remains a polarizing issue, even more so today than it was in the late 1940s. Pinto said that he personally favors healthcare for all Americans, explaining to the students that the United States is the only major democracy that has no form of universal health coverage.
Pinto encouraged the students to become involved in government and the policy-making process. He urged the students to use the knowledge they have acquired in nursing school and the experience they will acquire in patient care to become part of the solution by running for political office and serving on boards and committees that write healthcare policy. When he was done, the students gave Pinto a standing ovation.