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State of the Union to Include Participant in College Forum

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BY Karen Guin

During President Obama's State of the Union address, tonight at 9 p.m., a Belle Isle, Fla., resident, Cindy Parker Martinez, will be seated near First Lady Michelle Obama. The White House invited Parker to attend the event as a representative of the struggles many middle-class Americans face in obtaining health insurance.

Martinez first shared her story at UCF's College of Health and Public Affairs in December 2008 at a community discussion on health care moderated by Thomas Bryer, assistant professor of public administration.

"Cindy attended the forum with two young children in hand," Bryer recalled. "The White House learned of her powerful story about challenges seeking health care insurance through the report we submitted."

In fact, UCF's community discussion was one of four - out of 3,276 conducted around the country - to be featured in a final report released by the Obama administration and published online at

To read a summary of Martinez's story published on, visit: (see the UCF entry).

To read her follow-up letter to Bryer, which he incorporated in a report about the health care discussion and submitted to the White House, visit (see page 38 of the report).

Click here to learn more about the college's community discussion on health care, held in December 2008.

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Mentioned : Thomas Bryer


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