MARSHALL — When she spoke to college students at Marshall Excessive Faculty final week, Lois Quam urged them to seek out methods to point out generosity and construct one another up.
It is a technique that might assist in many areas, from responding to a pandemic to addressing political divisions, he mentioned.
“The very first thing we’ve to do is speak to one another,” Quam mentioned. “It does not imply we’ll agree on every little thing, however we will nonetheless be form and beneficiant to one another.”
Quam spoke to The Unbiased final week throughout his go to to MHS. Quam is a Marshall alumnus and is presently the chief director of Pathfinder Worldwide, a nonprofit group that focuses on reproductive well being. Earlier than becoming a member of Pathfinder, she served as a senior adviser to Hillary Clinton’s presidential marketing campaign. Quam was chosen to steer President Barack Obama’s World Well being Initiative, which partnered with nations all over the world to enhance their well being methods. She was additionally the founding CEO of Ovations, a division of well being insurer UnitedHealth Group.
The previous few years have introduced quite a lot of well being challenges within the US and all over the world, one of many essential ones being the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We weren’t ready for the pandemic. The dearth of preparation led to many extra difficulties.” Quam mentioned.
Greater than one million Individuals have died from COVID, and the hardship is also felt in disruptions to every day life and training. Quam mentioned one of many issues MHS college students talked about was skipping college. In 2020 and 2021, Marshall Public Colleges switched to hybrid and distance studying fashions, and college actions had been additionally impacted by COVID.
Quam mentioned challenges just like the pandemic had been “an consideration name” for higher preparation.
“We’ve got to be higher ready, and we’ve to consider the sorts of issues that may go fallacious and construct some flexibility and preparedness into our system.” she mentioned.
Overcoming divisions round points like COVID would require a willingness to speak and discover widespread floor, Quam mentioned.
“It truly is that type of, initially, having a dedication that we wish to construct our communities collectively.” she mentioned. “You’ll be able to’t construct that if you happen to’re in two camps. It won’t work.
The response to COVID has additionally been factored into the work of Pathfinder Worldwide. In Pathfinder’s 2021 annual report, Quam mentioned the group was “in a state of speedy response” to assist forestall gaps in ladies’s entry to reproductive well being care in the course of the pandemic. Pathfinder Worldwide took a targeted method to strengthening well being care infrastructure all over the world. In accordance with the report, efforts ranged from assist for maternity care and entry to contraception to training on COVID-19 prevention.
Quam mentioned defending entry to reproductive well being care was essential to assist folks care for their households and communities. She mentioned she has seen that influence in her personal life, starting in her profession whereas she had three younger kids.
“And now, within the work that I do, I sit typically, and earlier than the pandemic I used to be touring with younger moms of 15 or 16 years outdated who do not have that type of alternative to care for their kids, to care for themselves. , to assist contribute to the neighborhood in the identical means. So I believe these are actually essential providers.” Quam mentioned.
Quam mentioned the significance of exhibiting generosity and assist for others was one thing he discovered rising up at Marshall. That stage of assist is on show in every little thing from town’s colleges to Southwestern Minnesota State College to the native enterprise neighborhood, he mentioned. It is usually one thing that future generations may work to proceed.
“I actually assume the way forward for this nation will probably be constructed if we will take the generosity that Marshall has expressed in his assist of his college and his assist of his younger folks, and share that. We’re at a time the place there are lots of people publicly attacking different folks, and I simply do not assume that is proper. I believe we must always discover methods to construct one another up, be beneficiant with one another.” Quam mentioned. “And I believe at Marshall we’ve a possibility to take a seat down collectively and speak about issues.”
“I simply wish to say it is good to be dwelling,” Quam advised of his go to to Marshall. She mentioned she hoped that she and her husband, Reuters journalist Arshad Mohammed, would be capable to return to MHS extra typically sooner or later.
“We would love to come back yearly and discover completely different ways in which we will contribute to the varsity.” she mentioned.