NEW DATES: DECEMBER 17 - 19, 2012

NEW REGISTRATIONS WILL BE HANDLED ON-SITE

2012 Health Disparities Summit Banner

Program Themes


Track 1: Theme 1 - Integrating Biological, Social, Behavioral and Environmental Determinants of Health

There is now ample evidence that determinants of health inequalities reside not only in biological and genetic traits, but also in the social, economic and political environments.  These are complex factors that shape health of communities and explain disparities.  Improved efforts in public health research, practice, service delivery and education can now be viewed as an integration of other disciplines that requires broad policy solutions beyond health and healthcare.  Public health activities extend beyond essential functions such as population health assessments, surveillance and health promotion to addressing social determinants such as built environments, food security, transportation, housing, and, ultimately, how our nation’s programs and policies are organized.  The definition of environment is broad in this context and includes the physical, cultural, and psychosocial aspects.

The objective of this theme is to illustrate the macro-level determinants at play and their contribution to health disparities.

Theme objectives include:

  • Contributory or causal pathways and social gradients (SES, education, employment) linking these determinants and health equity
  • Recommendations for further science, policy and practice interventions, including: research gaps, promising practices and policy impact; what has been tried and lessons learned
  • Data needs for management, evaluation and monitoring of progress in addressing health disparities

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Track 1: Theme 2 - Health Disparity Populations, Disease Conditions and Risk Factors

The focus of this theme is to draw on the elaborate amount of science, practice and policy interventions undertaken across individual communities on disparity populations and disease conditions – in the context of biological, social and environmental factors. The key feature of the session is a move from didactic presentations to an emphasis on interactive discussion between the panelists and the participants. Sessions will discuss specific health disparity issues within socially disadvantaged groups within the community context.

Theme objectives include:

  • Patterns of disparities across the disease conditions
  • Contributory or causal pathways and life course linking the determinants and health disparities
  • Recommendations for further science, policy and practice interventions, including: research gaps, promising practices and policy impact; what has been tried and lessons learned
  • Data needs for management, evaluation and monitoring of progress in addressing health disparities

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Track 1: Theme 3 - Primary Prevention and Health

The foundation of strong public health and primary care determines the extent to which they ensure equal opportunities to all citizens to obtain access to services. This includes the extent to which individuals and families are exposed to healthy environments, provided with resources to achieve social capital, satisfy their basic needs, and cope with societal challenges. The health care sector can treat the costly consequences of conditions such as obesity, tobacco use, and unintentional injuries, including those arising from road traffic crashes. Prevention truly depends on action in other sectors, whether involving food production and marketing policies, transportation or road safety design, or regulations and their enforcement. Health care programs need to work in collaboration with these sectors to realize shared benefits in a collaborative approach to addressing and building a healthier society.


The health promoting aspects of cultural differences: Positive contributions of culturally-based individual, family and community level factors to the health of diverse populations will be examined. Focused topics will also include obesity, tobacco use prevention and control.

Theme objectives include:

  • Integrated strategies in primary health care, prevention and health promotion across the domains of health (e.g. biological, physical, mental, social, and psychosocial), public policy, practice and research to promote wellness within diverse communities
  • Causal pathways in primary prevention and risk – differential vulnerability, differential exposures within different communities
  • Recommendations for further science, policy and practice interventions, including: research gaps, promising practices and policy impact; what has been tried and lessons learned
  • Data needs for management, evaluation and monitoring of progress in addressing health disparities

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Track 1: Theme 4 - Racism, Discrimination and other Systems of Structured Inequity

Scientific research suggests that the subjective experiences of population groups that have been exposed to discrimination, bias, stereotypes or racism experience psychosocial stressors that impact health. These experiences are part of the social and psychological context in which disease risk emerges and within which effective practice and policy interventions to improve health must be embedded.

The focus of this theme will address discrimination, racism and other systems of structured inequity on the intersections of science, practice and policy.

Theme objectives include:

  • Science: the science linking racism and discrimination to the health of stigmatized and vulnerable populations and residential segregation to promote wellness within diverse communities
  • Policy: Policy interventions to address discrimination including promising practices and ongoing national and international dialogue and collaborations
  • Practice: Review of activities and impacts of practice in certain States, National and International coalitions
  • Recommendations for further science, policy and practice interventions, including: research gaps, promising practices and policy impact; what has been tried and lessons learned
  • Data needs for management, evaluation and monitoring of progress in addressing health disparities

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Track 1: Theme 5 - Healthcare Disparities and Quality

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) report (2002) on unequal treatment concluded “racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare exist and, because they are associated with worse outcomes in many cases, are unacceptable.” The IOM report defined disparities in health care as “racial or ethnic differences in the quality of health care that are not due to access-related factors or clinical needs, preferences, and appropriateness of intervention.” Since the publication of the IOM report there has been renewed interest in understanding the sources of health care disparities, identifying contributing factors, and designing and evaluating effective interventions to reduce or eliminate racial and ethnic disparities.

A large body of research documents that health care disparities exist:

  • Across all dimensions of quality of health care including: effectiveness, patient safety, timeliness, and patient centeredness;
  • Across all dimensions of access to care including: facilitators and barriers to care and health care utilization;
  • Across many levels and types of care including: preventive care, treatment of acute conditions, and management of chronic disease;
  • Across many clinical conditions including: cancer, diabetes, end stage renal disease (ESRD), heart disease, HIV disease, mental health and substance abuse, and respiratory diseases;
  • Across many care settings including: primary care, home health care, hospice care, emergency departments, hospitals, and nursing homes.

Presentations will include progress in addressing health care disparities and quality research across these dimensions. The scope of comparative effectiveness research, including the role of patient-centeredness, health literacy and cultural competency in overcoming healthcare disparities will be emphasized.

Theme objectives include:

  • Integrated strategies in healthcare research, practice and policy to address disparities and quality improvement within diverse communities to promote wellness within diverse communities
  • Recommendations for further science, policy and practice interventions, including: research gaps, promising practices and policy impact; what has been tried and lessons learned
  • Data needs for management, evaluation and monitoring of progress in addressing health disparities

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Track 1: Theme 6 - Best Practices for Community Engagement

Public health research and practice have increasingly adopted the term community engagement and defined it as the process of working collaboratively with groups of people within communities to address issues affecting the well-being of the people. The rationale for community engagement to address health promotion and disparities within communities is largely rooted in the recognition that the health of a community is shaped by social, economic, physical and political environment.


This objective of this theme is to present best practices and multidisciplinary approaches and/ or models for community engagement to address healthy communities (access to healthy foods, safe places for play, physical activity, recreation, healthy homes, transportation and clean environments). Discussions will draw from an interdisciplinary team such as public health agencies, practice-based researchers, schools, small business, recreation, policy makers and community organizations to share best and promising practices.

Theme objectives include:

  • Best and/or promising practices for community engagement to promote wellness within diverse communities
  • Evaluation of community engagement efforts

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Track 1: Theme 7 - Health Information Technology

Health information technology (health IT) involves the exchange of health information in an electronic environment. Widespread use of health IT within the health care industry will improve the quality of health care, prevent medical errors, reduce health care costs, increase administrative efficiencies, decrease paperwork, and expand access to affordable health care.(HHS ONC).


The objective of this theme is to address (1) role of health information technology in addressing health disparities, (2) current efforts to deploying emerging technologies for disease diagnosis to overcome rural and medically underserved areas in the US and Abroad. This includes the application of costly or underutilized methods for the early detection and/or diagnosis of disease conditions among populations who lack access to state-of-the-art care.


Issues around meaningful use technology, electronic data sharing and patient safety is of importance and will be addressed.

Theme objectives include:

  • The role of Health IT in advancing or improving patient care, quality and safety, reducing costs while reducing health disparities
  • The integration of current research advances in early detection (e.g. molecular diagnostics), bioengineering (e.g. lab on a chip technologies) and technology to address unmet public health and medical needs of underserved populations

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Track 1: Theme 8 - Global Population Health

The health of our communities and societies are important components of our overall health conditions. We each face individual health challenges, but more importantly, our public policy choices are driven by global population health. From a policy perspective, the health of one community affects and is affected by the health of all communities. By 2025, it is estimated that the world population will rise to 7.8 billion, an increase of nearly 25 percent. By 2050, the total population is expected to reach nearly nine billion. In addition, the global population is aging, leading to more health care challenges, chronic conditions and global disease burden.


We cannot be healthy as individuals if our communities and our neighbors both at home and around the world are sick. Pandemics threaten our population health because of the rapid growth in our societies and the interconnectedness of people around the world. There is no greater threat to our population health or our economic future than chronic diseases. These conditions account for more than 60 percent of all health spending.


If we embrace a population health approach and understand that what we do affects us all, then we can improve the global population health.

Theme objectives include:

  • Identifying current opportunities in addressing the social determinants of global population health, the concern about climate change, human health and security, and the progress in addressing the UN Millennium Development Goals and other priority global health issues, such as maternal and child health and related disparities especially in low and middle-income countries
  • Key global solutions that effectively address the current trends and challenges of addressing global population health and health disparities

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Track 2: Theme 1 - Multi Sectoral Capacity-Building Initiatives

This theme will showcase cross-agency and cross-institutional efforts to promote healthy societies, and healthy populations. While capacity building has been applied to interventions aiming to empower communities, societies or sectors to produce positive change, sustainability is an integral component of the process. Various approaches and strategies appear to have potential for sustained capacity building. What helps make a community and its members thrive? While physical infrastructure and good governance provide a necessary foundation, it is the contributions of individuals, groups, and organizations that make a difference to the strength and vibrancy of a community. These presentations are meant to recognize multi-sectoral community development (and the individuals behind them) that inspire other communities to take action to identify and meet their own unique needs.


To build and achieve healthier societies, multi-sectoral capacity-building and partnerships across organizations are of importance.

Theme objectives include:

  • Explore the processes and strategies associated with various approaches to capacity building
  • Examine the role of funding organizations and factors for successful capacity-building
  • How these factors impact on the sustainability of healthy communities and society

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Track 2: Theme 2 - Health Workforce Research and Policy

With the new public health agenda embracing a definition of health that includes the broader social determinants, who should comprise a health workforce?
The objective of this theme is to address elements comprising the broader definition of a health workforce (including lay health advisors, community health workers, and social health professionals), current progress in research, training, education, practice and policy. It will also include efforts to ensuring diversity through effective mentoring and recruitment strategies. Of importance is addressing a culturally competent workforce and best practice models.


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Track 2: Theme 3 - Community-Capacity-Building and Sustainable Economic Development

The objective of this theme is to address community capacity-building and sustainable economic development initiatives, including anti-poverty programs; various models, measures and metrics of community-based participatory research, and other successful community initiatives such as micro-financing interventions, health impact and policy impact assessments to inform and empower communities.


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Track 2: Theme 4 - Data and Research Evaluation

The purpose of this theme will provide insights into data and research evaluation in promoting health and addressing disparities. Objectives will include (1) an assessment of the analytical and methodological issues in research and policy data, (2) datasets helpful in measuring, tracking, assessing and evaluating determinants of community and population health, including the analysis and interpretation of the data. (3) Gaps or data needs for evaluation and tracking of progress in health disparities.


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Track 3: Theme 1 - Public Private Partnerships for Health Equity

The purpose of this theme is to present successful and innovative public private partnerships addressing healthy communities. Presenters will engage participants in assessing strategies for enhancing collaborations and promoting similar opportunities within their agency, institutions or communities. Objectives will include recommendations for effective collaborations that promote healthy communities across the federal agency research, practice, service delivery and policy sectors.


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Track 3: Theme 2 - Community Partnerships

The purpose of this theme is to showcase successful partnerships within communities to engage and promote wellness, healthy environments, and address health disparities. The objective is to present successful models and innovative partnerships developed within communities that can be replicated in other communities.


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Track 3: Theme 3 - Outreach Dissemination and Implementation

The purpose of this theme is to present promising practices for community outreach, health communication strategies and information dissemination, implementation research, practice and policy. Objective includes (1) assessment of models for broad scale dissemination and implementation of effective Interventions; (2) role of media in health information dissemination and health communication strategies; (3) an analysis of promising practices for community outreach and information dissemination.


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