January 25, 2016
“In Solidarity: The Role of Public Health in Social Justice” is the theme of UNC’s 37th annual UNC Minority Health Conference, to be held Friday, Feb. 26 at UNC’s William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education, in Chapel Hill, N.C.
The UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and the School’s Minority Student Caucus will host the event, which in years past has drawn more than 600 people to see its two keynote lectures live and many more to take part in streaming webcasts.
This year’s conference features social activists Crystallee Crain, PhD, who will present the 18th annual William T. Small Jr. Keynote at 9:30 a.m., and Miriam Zoila Pérez, the 5th annual Victor J. Schoenbach Keynote speaker, whose presentation will begin at 1:30 p.m. Crain’s lecture also will be available by webcast in the afternoon, after which she will answer live questions from the viewing audience.
Crain, an activist, educator and academic, is experienced in issue-based organizing and electoral politics. She has written about and worked extensively in the field of community violence prevention, including serving as project coordinator at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in Oakland, Calif., where she worked with Heal the Streets, a 10-month fellowship program that trained Oakland’s young leaders (ages 15 to 18) to develop and advocate for policies that bring peace and hope.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and master’s degree in social sciences from Northern Michigan University and a doctorate in transformative studies at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco.
In 2011, she received the Norman Lear Award for outstanding commitment to youth leadership development and was featured in Time magazine’s “The Protester” issue (Dec. 14), which highlighted world activists who speak truth to power. She is an adjunct faculty member at De Anza College (Cupertino, Calif.) and California State University at East Bay.
Pérez is a Cuban-American writer who covers issues of race, health and gender. She is founder of RadicalDoula.com and was editor for four years at Feministing.com, during which time the site was awarded the Sidney J. Hillman Prize for Blog Journalism. Her writing has appeared in The Nation, Talking Points Memo, The American Prospect, MORE magazine, RH [Reproductive and Sexual Health] Reality Check and a number of anthologies, including Yes Means Yes, Click and Persistence. She is author of The Radical Doula Guide: A Political Primer for Full-Spectrum Pregnancy and Childbirth Support.
The conference will highlight opportunities for public health researchers and practitioners and social justice advocates to learn from each other to identify best practices for prioritizing minority health and fostering inclusive strategies for change. In addition to keynote lectures and small-group breakout sessions, the 2016 conference will be the first to feature an interactive skill-building workshop for participants.
The annual conference was launched in 1977 by the UNC public health school’s Minority Student Conference to highlight health issues of concern to people of color. The longest-running student-led health conference in the country, the UNC conference now partners with eight other U.S. universities, who broadcast the annual William T. Small Keynote Lecture during their minority health conferences. The University of Illinois at Chicago has partnered longest; this year will be the seventh UIC Minority Health in the Midwest Conference.
Anna Dardick and Giuliana Morales, both master’s students in health behavior, have led the planning for the conference this year.
“Participating in the Minority Health Conference goes beyond the Gillings School,” Dardick said. “It allows students, faculty members and members of the community to engage with each other in a global conversation about inequity and injustice. Our keynote speakers and sessions demonstrate public health at its best – active, solutions-driven, cross-systems work that is rooted in communities.”
Morales said she was excited to work with a talented interdisciplinary team of students and advisers who are passionate about sparking knowledge into action.
“As we continue to face crucial conversations about race and justice in the U.S.,” Morales said, “this year’s theme resonates with us and brings our fields – public health, social work, media and journalism, and others – together.”
Learn more at minorityhealth.web.unc.edu.
Register here by Friday, Feb. 12.