Chambersburg Public Opinion: 13th District's new U.S. congressman, John Joyce, glimpses future of local health care
The region's freshman congressman used his first official stop in the area since his inauguration into the U.S. House of Representatives to explore how young adults are preparing to become the health care providers of tomorrow.
Just hours after making his first address on the House floor, Republican Rep. John Joyce of the new 13th Congressional District spent late Friday afternoon at Penn State Mont Alto. The Blair County dermatologist toured the allied health programs, which prepares students for careers as nurses and occupational therapy and physical therapist assistants.
Joyce said he sees it as his responsibility to support research in the health care field and help empower students to pursue those jobs. He commended PSMA's programs for their high degree of interaction, providing students with real experience to use daily on the job as well as insight to help them determine the specialties and facilities for which they would be the best fit.
The school's offerings are "so significant" and illustrate "what education needs to be about today," he said.
"You're going to see changes in health care and I think that Penn State is on the forefront of helping me understand the educations of our students in this community," Joyce added.
After admitting that he knows nothing about birthing babies, Joyce rolled up the sleeves of his white dress shirt and moved in close to watch and ask questions as the brown-haired, 5-foot-9, 111-pound robot "delivered" a 5.5-pound baby. An instructor noted it was nursing student Mary Shriver's first time at "catching" the baby.
Asked what he learned on the tour, Joyce pointed out PSMA's new $13 million, state-of-the-art allied health building recently approved by the Penn State Board of Trustees, which is slated for construction starting in July 2020 and is to open just over a year later.
"Penn State Mont Alto is preparing people for the future. They're solving workforce development problems," he said.
Joyce's visit came one day before the partial government shutdown became the longest of any shutdown in history. While it started before Joyce came to Congress - following a breakdown in negotiations between Democrats and President Trump over the latter's demand that $5.7 billion for construction of a wall on the southern border be included in any spending bill - he emphasized at least twice that a reporter's question on his view of the shutdown was "valid."
"I think we need to come to the table, we need to listen and realize that the responsibility of Congress is to have an open government. I'm working hard to make that happen," he said.
Joyce earlier Friday used his first address on the House floor to call for Democrats to pass a spending bill that funds the wall and ends the shutdown. He pointed to the struggles the shutdown has caused for employees at a federal prison just outside his district's boundaries.
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