FOR RELEASE: April 20, 2006

GALVESTON, Texas — State Rep. Garnett Coleman of Harris County will be the keynote speaker at the second annual Cover the Uninsured Week Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, May 4.

The Center to Eliminate Health Disparities at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and the UTMB Office of Community Outreach are hosting the event, which will be held from 8:30 to10:30 a.m. at Moody Memorial First United Methodist Church, 2803 53rd St., in Galveston.

A member of the House Committee on Public Health and the House Committee on County Affairs, Coleman helped author legislation that simplified access to children's Medicaid. At the time, more than 600,000 children in Texas who were eligible for the program were not enrolled because of bureaucratic barriers. He also helped secure an increase of $161.5 million for at-risk child care services and jointly authored legislation that created the Children's Health Insurance Program, which makes low-cost health insurance available to more than 400,000 children in working families.

Cover the Uninsured Week is a nationwide event that is meant to focus attention on the problems faced by the millions who lack health insurance coverage, said Dr. Barbara Breier, director of the UTMB Center to Eliminate Health Disparities.

“Nationwide, 46 million Americans have no health insurance, and 80 percent of those either work or are in working families,” she said. “In Galveston County, 58,000 — approximately one-quarter of the county’s residents — are uninsured. This issue cuts across all socio-economic and ethnic lines. Religious leaders are among the key resources people in the community have when facing problems such as lack of access to health care,” Breier said.

Officiants of churches, synagogues, mosques and other places of worship throughout the county have been invited to the breakfast, where they will have the opportunity to receive information to share with their congregations from community and nonprofit providers of health services.

The Center to Eliminate Health Disparities and the Office of Community Outreach work to increase awareness of the issues of access to care and to improve the health care of those served by UTMB.

For more information about the prayer breakfast, contact Fran Devine at or (409) 266-9534.

The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
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