NCCU to Convene Major Conference on Health DisparitiesHighlighting its emergence as a center of research on health disparities, North Carolina Central University will present a three-day conference in April at which experts and professionals in the field will present their findings and exchange ideas.
The conference, titled “Pursuing Health Equity Through Translational Research and Partnerships,” will take place April 17-19 at the Durham Convention Center in downtown Durham. The conference is intended for a broad audience — not only scientists and researchers, but also policymakers, public health officials, healthcare providers and students. The aim is to promote open discussion of issues related to health disparities in communities throughout the nation.
“This is an important initiative for the university, one that is consistent with our longstanding commitment to address health disparities through education and research,” said Dr. Hazell Reed, vice chancellor for Research and Economic Development, whose division has organized the gathering.
Health disparities have been a focus of public health education programs at NCCU since the 1940s. In recent years, the university has built up its resources, faculty and laboratory facilities to support extensive biomedical research in the field as well.
Featuring speakers who are leaders at the intersection of science and public policy, the conference will include plenary sessions intended for a general audience. A variety of more specialized workshops and breakout sessions will focus on aspects of cultural competence, biomedical research, health policy, environmental issues and other areas of inquiry.
The keynote speaker on Thursday, April 18, will be Dr. John Ruffin, director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD). The institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, was established as the National Center onMinority Health and Health Disparities in 2000 and gained full institute status in 2010. It has been under Ruffin’s direction since 2001. A longtime leader in the field of minority health and health disparities, Ruffin is a biologist by training who holds a Ph.D. from Kansas State University and completed postdoctoral studies at Harvard University.