Letters to the business editor

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Internships need funding

The July 14 article on the value of unpaid internships ("Many Students Debate The Value Of Unpaid Internships") speaks to many of the challenges college students currently face: How can you extend learning beyond the classroom and gain meaningful, real world experience prior to graduation? How can you set yourself apart in an increasingly competitive job market? And how can you do these things without increasing the amount of debt that often comes with a college degree?

At Washington & Jefferson College, we share students' concerns about finances, and we also share their understanding of an internship as a critical piece of a college education. That's why we developed the Magellan Project, a program that provides financial support for W&J students who wish to pursue rewarding summer internship and research opportunities. Magellan awards are designed to enable all our students -- regardless of their financial situation -- to seek out meaningful, often once-in-a-lifetime experiences beyond the college classroom.

This summer, W&J is funding 65 student projects, 15 of which are otherwise unpaid internships in a variety of international and domestic locations. For example, a marketing internship with a non-profit organization in Ecuador; a public affairs internship with the Export-Import Bank of the US in Washington, D.C.; a marketing internship with Hispanic Agua Marketing in Houston; and an investment internship with Schenley Park Advisors right here in Pittsburgh.

College is an investment, but it shouldn't be one-sided. As educators, it's our responsibility to invest in our students and ensure they get the career preparation they need.

Brianne Bilsky, PhD
Magellan Project & Fellowships Coordinator
Washington & Jefferson College

Program aided health services

The July 9 article "Drugmakers Accuse Hospitals Of Profiting From Federal Discounts" did not reflect your paper's usual standards of solid reporting and impartiality. Instead, the Post-Gazette fell hook, line and sinker for the drug industry spin on the vitally important 340B drug discount program. The 340B program enables health care providers that serve a disproportionate share of care to low-income or vulnerable patients to continue their mission of providing affordable medications and other health care services.

While we appreciate that you included input from two representatives of the health care provider community, the article was clearly slanted towards the pharmaceutical industry and included a number of inaccuracies. The article also failed to point out that it is the pharmaceutical industry, not safety net hospitals and health centers, that is raking in billions in profits every year.

Your readers would have learned far more about how the 340B program actually works if, as we had asked, you had waited to publish your article by half a day to report on the release of a comprehensive 27-page report on 340B's history and intended purpose. We also launched a companion website, 340BFacts.com. We urge your readers to read our report and website to learn more about this invaluable program.

Ted Slafsky
President and Chief Executive Officer
Safety Net Hospitals for Pharmaceutical Access



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