Montana State University

Wheeler Family Seminar on the privatization of mental health care in Montana set May 22

May 1, 2009

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Diane Dorgan, a Bozeman-based advocate for mental health care, will lecture about the impact of privatization on Montana's mental health care system as part of the second Wheeler Family Seminar to be held at 2 p.m. Friday, May 22, in Classroom E -Meadowlark of the Bozeman Deaconess Hospital.

Admission to the lecture is free and refreshments will be served. Classroom E is located near the hospital cafeteria.

A Bozeman native, Dorgan received her bachelor's degree from Montana State University in 2004 and will complete her Master's in Public Administration next year while working in the MSU Office of Admission. She has become an advocate for mental health care in the past several years and has interacted frequently with a number of MSU students struggling with significant mental health conditions who have fallen through the care system's cracks.

Dorgan's research points out that from 1997 to 1999, the state of Montana privatized mental health care. She says the experiment failed, but there are important lessons to be learned from that failure. Her research, conducted in an MSU graduate seminar on public history, uncovered general problems encountered when private and public sectors intersect on health care issues.

Wheeler Family Seminars are given through the year in the Bozeman area to make current research available to the general public on topics of vital concern. They also recognize the continuing support of members of the Wheeler family for the Burton K. Wheeler Center for Public Policy at MSU. The center, named for Montana's long-time U.S. senator, holds two conferences each year, sponsors research and seminars, and acts as a catalyst in the discussion, analysis and eventual resolution of policy issues.

The center's next conference, which will be about energy, security and trade issues that reach across the Montana-Canada border, will be May 13-14 at the College of Technology in Great Falls.

For more information about the seminar or conference, contact Julie Hitchcock at 994-0336 or jhitch@montana.edu.

Julie Hitchcock (406) 994-0336, jhitch@montana.edu.