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Press Release

Contact:
Jonathan Potts
412-268-6094

For immediate release:
October 25, 2005

Citizens Forum Will Address Healthcare Issues

The event is jointly sponsored by Carnegie Mellon and Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH—The Southwestern Pennsylvania Program for Deliberative Democracy, a joint initiative of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University, will host a Citizens Forum on healthcare issues beginning at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, October 29, at Carnegie Mellon.

A representative sample of about 100 Allegheny County residents will participate in the event, which will be moderated by Stacy Smith, a news anchor for KDKA-TV and a host of OnQ Magazine on WQED-TV. Participants will discuss the rising cost of healthcare nationwide, the impact of cuts in state Medicaid funding in Pennsylvania, and local initiatives to reduce hospital infections and improve the quality of care. Several other communities across the nation will hold similar events the week of October 22 as part of By the People: America in the World, a program sponsored nationally by MacNeil/Lehrer Productions (MLP) and in conjunction locally with WQED Multimedia.

The Citizens Forum will include a Deliberative Poll, in which a representative sample of the community comes together to discuss and respond to questions on pressing national and local issues. While traditional public opinion polls solicit reflexive responses from people who are not informed on the topic, a Deliberative Poll represents what people think about an issue if they have had time to consider and discuss it with a panel of experts and among themselves. Deliberative Polls give elected officials and policymakers a more accurate and dynamic picture of public opinion, and they give participants a sense that they have a stake and voice in their government. Research has shown that participants in Deliberative Polls continue to stay involved in community affairs.

More than 20 Citizen Forums have been held in the United States since the mid-1990s, and Carnegie Mellon and the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh hosted two in 2004, each to discuss globalization and the war in Iraq. The Southwestern Pennsylvania Program for Deliberative Democracy will host two Citizens Forums each year to allow residents of the Greater Pittsburgh community to learn about and express their opinions on issues that impact the region. For more information, go to http://caae.phil.cmu.edu/caae/dp/

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