Christopher "Woody" Parker
Patti McGill Peterson Center for International and Intercultural Studies
Comparing the Cost of Health Care in the UK and US: An Examination of Urban and Rural Spaces
After receiving grant funding from the Giltz Award, the Sociology Department, the European Studies Department, the Office of Rance Davis, and the Academic Dean's Office, I arranged interviews in January with health care policy makers, government officials, urgent care providers, and urgent care managers in London, England and Leominster, England. Then, in February, I interviewed professionals who occupied similar profiles in New York City and Potsdam, New York.
The goal of the funding was to provide rough data that would supplement research to be completed in Spring 2009 for my Sociology and European Studies Senior Year Experience (SYE): Comparing the Cost of Health Care in the UK and US: An Examination of Urban and Rural Spaces. Without this funding, the project would not be as powerful or enlightening.
The interviews were conducted in a face-to-face setting, where a series of open-ended questions were asked to the respondent. His or her answers were then categorized: Historical Lens/Context from which Welfare State was born, Healthcare: Social Institution, The Business of Healthcare, The Politics of Healthcare, Comparison of US/UK and/or European Healthcare Systems.
Some of the most interesting questions were seemingly simple; however, due to the nature of the interview setting-that is, open-ended and thus inviting of conversation-the questions yielded long and complicated answers. Some such questions were: "Is health care a right?" "Do you make money by selling your services?" "What is your perception of the US or UK urgent care system?" "Does preventative/primary care medicine work?"
This project has special meaning to me. Not only did I spend Spring '08 in studying in London, but while there I had the opportunity to ride a shift with the London Ambulance Service. I have been very active in the Canton Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad as a FF/AEMT-CC. To see the differences in the pre-hospital system first-hand made me curious as to which system is more cost- and approach-efficient. I hope my findings will be powerful, useful, and I hope to adopt the most effective system's approach when providing care as an EMT (and hopefully as a Doctor, someday!).