Health care and its associated costs represent a difficult challenge for our country. It’s a problem of both economics and lack of access to quality, preventive health care. It is our hope that future health care leaders can solve this problem through an emphasis on public health and prevention.
The current model of health care in America is not financially sustainable. While we have the technology and expertise to treat almost anything, the expense is prohibitive. And while the right for everyone to access health care is also extremely important, the cost is, again, unsustainable.
Through our experience in the health care industry with careers spanning hospital administration and nursing, we believe that the best way to create reasonable and equal access to health care for all Americans, regardless of their economic position, is by emphasizing prevention and personal responsibility. Preventing chronic disease is much less expensive than treating it later on.
We also believe the road to more accessible and less expensive health care starts with educating the next generation of leaders in public and preventive health, and that’s why we gave $50,000 to endow the new Jeffrey and Michelle Rivest-Dean’s Council Maryland Promise Scholarship. It will provide both financial and programmatic support to local undergraduates in financial need, with priority going to those seeking a degree in public health.
We are proud to see the University of Maryland investing in its first-class School of Public Health, and we hope our gift, which is fully matched through the Clark Challenge for the Maryland Promise Program, will fund the education of future public health leaders who can innovate and lead a new health care paradigm of public health and preventive care.
Jeffrey Rivest ’75 worked for 42 years in hospital administration, leading large hospitals and health care organizations and capping his career as president and CEO of the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore from 2004–15. He is a member of the Alumni Association Board of Governors and chairs the Campaign Cabinet for the School of Public Health.
Michelle Rivest earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Maryland School of Nursing and had a fulfilling career as a clinical specialist in critical care medicine, nursing faculty member and clinical educator.