UT Students March to Capitol in Support of a Global Health Strategy
By Michelle Tamayo
Reporting Texas TV
AUSTIN, Texas – About 20 students crowded in front of the Texas State Capitol this Saturday to spread awareness on healthcare access.
The students belong to an organization called Partners In Health Engage, also known as PIH Engage, a national nonprofit aimed at improving access to healthcare. They initially were at UT’s Tower and then marched to the Capitol, where they hoped to catch the attention of citizens and law makers with posters and testimonies.
PIH Engage advocacy coordinator Raiye Mathewos said that the grassroots work is done with UT students and the Austin community.
“The one thing we can do past posting flyers, past posting information, is actually coming out, coming out in front of the Capitol and catching the eye of our representatives,” Mathewos said.
Austin High Junior Summer Rose joined the march and shared her testimony at the Capitol. Her mother is chronically ill, so Rose grew up watching how the healthcare system helped and then failed her mother.
Almost every student shared a personal story of how they’ve watched their families struggle with the healthcare system, and even lose the people they love.
Many students held signs calling healthcare a human right. One sign said Support the Paul Farmer Memorial Resolution, a global health strategy first introduced last year and reintroduced in the U.S. House and Senate on March 7, 2023, in memory of an anthropologist and physician who passed away last year. He cofounded PIH Engage and dedicated much of his work to health and human rights.
“We didn’t mention it too much today because we wanted more to focus on the emotions of it and people sharing their stories” Mathewos said. “At the end of the day, this is the legislation we want representatives to be paying attention to.”
The resolution acts as a guide for future health policy by proposing an increase in U.S government global health policy to $125 billion per year, and supporting other countries in their finance health systems.