This weekend, Schweitzer Fellows for Life living all across the U.S. (and, in some cases, the world) will descend on Chicago for ASF’s 3rd Annual Fellows for Life Conference. We’re here in Chicago early to prepare – so today’s roundup of news stories related to all things Schweitzer (health disparities, health care, health issues, direct service, social justice, animal welfare, environmentalism…) is coming to you in central time:

  • Maine Senator Olympia Snowe crosses party lines to back the Senate Finance Committee’s healthcare reform bill (Reuters)
  • U.S. fourth graders’ testing scores reflect no gains in math for the first time in 20 years; only 39 percent of fourth-graders possess skills at their grade level (Associated Press) To discuss education as a social determinant of health, check back on Thursday, Oct. 22 for ASF’s Recommended Reading discussion of Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America.
  • Aid Watch interviews Paul Romer about the concept of reducing global poverty via Charter Cities (Aid Watch)
  • Spurred by an Institute of Medicine report linking Agent Orange to illnesses including ischemic heart disease and Parkinson’s, the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs announces that it will now view these illnesses as service-connected — enabling veterans to receive related health care and disability compensation (Science in the Headlines: The National Academies)
  • A town in Minnesota has completed a year-long “Vitality Project” — an overhaul of the community’s infrastructure and interactions to promote the residents’ health and longevity (ABC News)

Check back tomorrow for our series of Blog Action Day posts!