October 28, 2005

Summit to probe local health disparities

Featured Image

From left, Raymond DuBois, M.D., Ph.D., director of Vanderbilt-Ingram, Steven Stain, M.D., professor and chair of Surgery at Meharry, Samuel Adunyah, M.D., chair of Biochemistry at Meharry, Jeffrey R. Balser, M.D., associate vice chancellor for Research at VUMC, Baqar Husaini, Ph.D., professor and director of the Center for Health Research at TSU, and Harold Moses, M.D., director emeritus of Vanderbilt-Ingram, celebrate being the only partnership in the country working to reduce cancer-related health disparities to be given grant renewal from the National Institutes of Health.
photo by Mary Donaldson

Summit to probe local health disparities

The Nashville Community Health Disparities Summit2, a four-day conference that unites the academic, provider and lay communities to collaborate on reducing local health disparities, begins at 5 p.m. Sunday at the Vanderbilt Student Life Center.

The EXPORT (Excellence in Partnerships for Outreach, Research and Training) Center for Health Disparities at Meharry Medical College is partnering with the Vanderbilt School of Medicine and the Metropolitan Public Health Department to host the second annual summit Oct. 30-Nov. 2.

“This summit is our effort to bring together different facets of the community that don't always collaborate to discuss the causes of health disparities in Nashville and to collectively develop strategies for addressing them,” said Paul Juarez, Ph.D., program director of the Meharry EXPORT Center for Health Disparities.

“We believe the lay community should have a seat at the table with researchers and health professionals in identifying health needs as well as solutions.”

Meharry Medical College President John Maupin Jr., D.D.S., will join Vanderbilt School of Medicine Dean Steven Gabbe, M.D., and Meharry School of Medicine Dean PonJola Coney, M.D., in welcoming participants just before the 6:30 p.m. Sunday keynote address from National Institutes of Health (NIH) Deputy Director Raynard Kington, M.D., Ph.D.

The conference, funded through a grant from the National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD), will place Nashville under the microscope to better understand how biology, race, socio-economic and environmental conditions contribute to the premature illness and death of ethnic minorities.

“The terms of engagement between researchers and the community must change,” said Nathan Stinson Jr., M.D., director of the Meharry Center for Optimal Health.

“It has to be deliberate, respectful and continuous. We need to tap into the genius of the local community to determine their priorities, ideas for interventions, and assets available within the community to be part of the solution.”

Monday's sessions will be in the Learning Resources Center at Meharry; Tuesday's program is in the theater at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt and Wednesday's final sessions will be at Meharry. For more information go to www.mmc.edu.