Contributors

 W.J. Van RyW.J. Van Ry

I spent several years studying and researching exponential U.S. population growth after retiring as the President and CEO of a health care network in Northern Nevada. The interest in our too-many-people problem evolved over many years, but crystalized while delivering much-needed health care services to people struggling to stay alive and pay the mounting bills.

Starting as a teenager, I worked my way through high school and college as a hospital orderly in Spokane and Seattle, Washington. After attending the University of Washington for a couple of semesters, I ran out of money and enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard. Because of my prior work experience, I was trained as a Hospital Corpsman and completed my two-year military service aboard ship in Astoria, Oregon. Having met the draft requirements, I was able to return to college with funding from the G.I. Bill and finished my undergraduate work at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin with a degree in Psychology.

Post-college I sold life and disability insurance and administered an insurance office for several years. In a lot of ways it was an invaluable experience, which I would later appreciate. But at the time I was restless and looking for my true calling. As they say, timing is everything. In the late 60s a new profession was born… hospital administration. Doctors and nurses found it increasingly difficult to run hospitals and provide care, while coping with newly minted Medicare and Medicaid programs. With my experience in insurance management, I was accepted in the University of Minnesota’s masters degree program in hospital administration.

After 24 years of working my way up the executive ladder, I became CEO of a medium- sized community hospital in Reno, Nevada. The employees, the executive staff and I transformed this traditional hospital into an integrated health care network composed of a regional medical center, three rural hospitals, our own home-grown health maintenance organization (HMO), supporting doctor groups, and several area-wide clinics. Knowing “insurance speak” helped me guide the staff in our aggressive pursuit of insurance contracts with local employers and their brokers, financially underpinning these strategic expansions.

My career in hospital administration illuminated the need to come to grips with our national too-many-people-problem, if we want health care for all. Health security occurs when the nation is prosperous enough for all of its citizens to be well protected; but the U.S. has been financially mismanaged for years and is now broke. Much of the problem can be attributed to archaic economic policies and harmful population strategies, needing wholesale revamping to better fit today’s America.

I created the companion websites The Foundation for Human Conservation and ElbowroomUSA to lay out the issues and challenges involved in overpopulation and offer some common sense solutions that will help restore both financial and environmental health to America.


Shelly RandallShelly Randall

Shelly Randall is a freelance writer and editor who focuses on sustainability-related issues. She was thrilled to connect with W.J. through The Writers' Workshoppe and to help share his research on population management in America with a wider audience.

Shelly and her husband made the deliberate choice to limit their family to one child, out of a deep concern for the future of this crowded planet. Her work as a content and consistency editor on ElbowroomUSA started when her handsome son was three years old (he had just turned four when this photo was taken).

Now active in local sustainability efforts, Shelly has a background as a journalist, educator, grant writer and lifeguard (we all need saving at one time or another!). Find her at SustainableTogether.com where she blogs about life in the eco-hub of Port Townsend, Washington.