Building health equity is topic of UNC's 30th Minority Health Conference

February 05, 2009
The role of internet-based programs and training to improve health education and training for training peer educators and community health workers will be the topic of the 30th annual Minority Health Conference, sponsored by the Minority Student Caucus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health.

Dr. Barbara Wallace

Dr. Barbara Wallace

Barbara C. Wallace, PhD, professor of health education at Columbia University’s Teachers College, will be keynote speaker at the conference, which will be held on Friday, Feb. 27, at The William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education in Chapel Hill. Wallace will present the conference’s William T. Small Jr. Keynote Lecture at 9:30 a.m.

A licensed psychologist, Wallace is active in health disparities research at Columbia and around the world. She is director of Globe HELP (Health Education Leadership Program), an Internet-based venture for the dissemination of curricula to peer educators and community health workers. Her lecture, “Our World, Our Community: Building Bridges for Health Equality,” also will be available at 2 p.m. as a free webcast and satellite downlink, followed by a live telephone question-and-answer session with Wallace.

The conference, initiated by the caucus in 1977, is the nation’s oldest student-run minority health event. The program was developed to highlight health issues of concern to people of color and to attract students interested in minority concerns to public health.

This year, minority student organizations at three other universities are organizing partner conferences that will broadcast Wallace’s lecture as part of their local events.

Wade Ivy, president of the Minority Students for the Advancement of Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Public Health, is pleased with the opportunity to collaborate with students at UNC.

“We appreciate the many years of leadership shown by the minority students at UNC and are excited to be hosting our first regional conference in conjunction with their thirtieth,” Ivy said.

Stephanie Baker and Kevin Wu, graduate students in UNC’s Department of Health Behavior and Health Education and co-chairs of this year’s event, have planned a program that includes small-group sessions and a poster exhibition.

“I’m especially excited about a CARE Advocacy workshop at this year’s conference,” Baker says. “I think it will be meaningful for students and faculty who are academics but also want to effect change in their communities.”

“Each year, our School’s Minority Student Caucus puts on one of the best conferences in the world on health disparities,” says Barbara K. Rimer, DrPH, dean of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. “Attendees should plan to be moved, motivated and awed by the magic that occurs this year. It will be a masterpiece of scholarly presentations, glorious networking and inspiration,” Rimer says.

This year’s sponsors include The UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health Dean’s Office, the Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases, the UNC Graduate and Professional Student Federation, and the Office of the Chancellor. Other sponsors are listed online.

As the conference venue usually fills to capacity, early registration is advised. For more information about the conference or the webcast, visit


UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: Ramona DuBose, director of communications, (919) 966-7467 or