34th annual Minority Health Conference explores ways to improve health equity

March 01, 2013
Dr. Brian Smedley

Dr. Brian Smedley

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health presented the 34th annual Minority Health Conference on Feb. 22, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at UNC’s William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education, in Chapel Hill, N.C.

 
The event, attended by more than 600 people in person and via webcast across the U.S., featured the 15th annual William T. Small Jr. Keynote Lecture, given this year by Brian Smedley, PhD, vice president and director of the Health Policy Institute, part of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, in Washington, D.C., and the second annual Victor J. Schoenbach Health Disparities Keynote Lecture, by Leandris Liburd, PhD, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Office of Minority Health and Health Equity.
 
Dr. Vic Schoenbach, right, with (l-r) conference co-chairs Adrienne Gill and Chassidy Hanley

Dr. Vic Schoenbach, right, with (l-r) conference co-chairs Adrienne Gill and Chassidy Hanley

The conference is planned and executed each year by members of the School’s Minority Student Caucus. This year’s conference co-chairs were master’s students Chassidy Hanley and Adrienne Gill.

 
Last year’s conference co-chairs, Turquoise Griffith and Kea Turner, surprised Victor Schoenbach, PhD, associate professor of epidemiology, director of UNC’s Minority Project and stalwart supporter of conference activities, by arranging to name the afternoon conference keynote in his honor.
 
“We chose to honor Dr. Schoenbach in this way because of his longstanding commitment to minority health and the advancement of health disparities research,” Turner said. “Apart from a career dedicated to health disparities research, Dr. Schoenbach is a tremendous supporter of the Minority Health Conference and the student volunteers. He helped Turquoise and me every step of the way — from handing out fliers to cleaning up after the conference. Although nothing adequately honors his long-standing commitment, we felt that naming the afternoon lecture after him was a great way to capture his spirit of advocacy for the conference.”
 
Smedley’s lecture, “Taking Action to Achieve Health Equity: Beyond the Affordable Care Act,” was presented to the local audience in the morning and then broadcast as a webinar at 2 p.m. The talk began a day of sessions and speakers addressing the theme “Constructing the Foundation for Health Equity,” including Liburd’s Schoenbach Health Disparities Keynote Lecture in the afternoon.
 
Video of the day’s events is available on the Gillings School website.
 
Photographs from the conference can be seen on Flickr.

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Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: David Pesci, director of communications, (919) 962-2600 or dpesci@unc.edu.