September 15, 2006

Conference to focus on infant mortality disparities

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Robert Whitehead, M.Sc., Ph.D., left, listens to Sir Nicholas Wright, M.D., Ph.D., D.Sc., at last week’s symposium.
Photo by Susan Urmy

Conference to focus on infant mortality disparities

Tennessee is ranked 48th in the nation in infant mortality, while the state's preterm birth rate is 47th, low rankings that members of the local research and clinical population want to address at the fourth annual Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance Research Conference Series.

The three-day conference will attract nearly 200 investigators and physicians from across the country to discuss current research efforts aimed at addressing infant mortality/morbidity disparities in the United States.

“It is our hope that the information exchanged during this meeting will lead to more collaboration across the state of Tennessee in reducing infant mortality rates,” said Clifton Meador, M.D., executive director of the Alliance.

The 2006 conference “Why Our Babies Die” will be held at the Marriott at Vanderbilt beginning Monday, Sept. 18 and continue through Wednesday, Sept. 20.

“Infant mortality and preterm birth are among the top health disparities in the country,” Meador added. “And both of these are preventable. This conference will heavily emphasize prevention.”

The first national health disparities conference sponsored by the Alliance featured diabetes in 2003. The rotating series has also targeted AIDS/HIV and colorectal cancer.

The keynote address, by Mildred Stahlman, M.D., professor of Pediatrics, a neonatologist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, is free to the public at 6 p.m., Sept. 18, in Light Hall on the Vanderbilt campus.

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