MU Health Care leaders to attend meeting to discuss closing of Health Connection

Saturday, April 4, 2009 | 4:01 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The vice chancellor of MU Health Care and the dean of the MU School of Health Professions are to be among those present at a town hall meeting Monday to discuss closing the Health Connection, an MU-run health facility that is located at Stephens College.

Members of the health facility invited MU School of Health Professions Dean Richard Oliver, MU Health Care Vice Chancellor Harold Williamson Jr. and MU Chancellor Brady Deaton to the meeting. As of noon Friday, Deaton had not replied to the invitation. The discussion will take place at 10 a.m. Monday at the Health Connection, 1507 E. Broadway, and is free and open to the public.

The health facility, operated by MU for 19 years, is scheduled to close June 30 because of the lack of grant money. Patrons have participated in a letter-writing campaign and have signed petitions in hopes of keeping the fitness center open. Their request for the meeting is the latest effort in the fight to continue supporting the Health Connection.

At the meeting Monday, members will be able to present ideas to "keep our doors open," health facility manager Irene Sackreiter said.

At the facility on Wednesday, a white board for members' suggestions was placed next to a table near the fitness center's entrance. The table already supported a box of month-old form letters for members to pick up and send as part of the massive letter-writing campaign to help their cause. Over the box was a sign encouraging members to help save the Health Connection.

Sackreiter told a group of patrons socializing at the health facility one idea a member thought of to raise money: create a "Health Connection Studs calendar."

The gym-goers laughed, then continued brainstorming ideas for how to keep the fitness center from closing. They plan to present their best ideas to Oliver and Williamson at Monday's meeting.

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