Newswise — Augustana University’s Center for Western Studies (CWS) has issued a call for paper and panel proposals on the topic of “Health Care and Health Policy in the Northern Plains" as part of the 51st Annual Dakota Conference, which will be held April 26-27, 2019. Presentations by the general public or the health care industry are welcome.

Americans consistently rank health care cost and access among their top concerns. Commemorating the end of the Influenza Pandemic (or Spanish Flu) of 1918-1919, the conference seeks to examine issues, concerns, and problems associated with health care and health policy in the region today and in the past. 

The deadline for proposals for papers and panels is February 15, 2019. Proposals should be emailed to [email protected]. The presentation title and brief summary, along with biographical sketch and full contact information should be included.

Residents of the Northern Plains deal the same health issues as other Americans, but in some instances more acutely because of geographical location. As populations throughout the region continue to shift to cities, adequate health care for rural and small-town communities declines—hospitals and clinics close. Rural by their very nature, reservations experience both the benefits and frustrations of federal health policy. 

The keynote speaker will be Dr. Mary Jo Kreitzer, Director of the Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota. She will also participate in a panel discussion of post-traumatic recovery.

The Influenza Pandemic infected 500 million people and killed more than World War I, as many as 40 million people. The flu was most deadly for people ages 20 to 40, rather than children and the elderly. Over 25% of Americans were infected, and an estimated 675,000 Americans died, according to the CDC. Possible topics to be addressed range from mental health to the opioid crisis, from insuring for pre-existing conditions, like diabetes, to escalating drug costs and the role of pharmaceutical benefit managers, from gambling addiction to the link between poverty and health. A list of other topics is posted on the CWS webpage. Entire sessions or panels related to the conference topic are especially encouraged. 

Papers about life in South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Montana during the years of the pandemic or about other topics related to the region are welcome.   


Center for Western Studies