PHILADELPHIA - The organizers of the Fourth Annual National Conference on Health Disparities have announced that a diverse group of 30 students from six colleges and universities have already begun to post daily blog accounts of their experiences and perceptions leading up to, and during, the conference, which convenes today and continues through November 13, at the Philadelphia Marriott Hotel.
According to the National Health Disparities Report in 2009, blacks, Asians, American Indians and Hispanics received worse care than whites in 50%, 30% 45% and 70%, respectively, of the core measures of healthcare reviewed in the report. In addition, poor people received worse care than higher-income profile in 75% of the same core measures. Also, according to the Journal of Public Health, if African Americans had experienced equivalent mortality rates of whites, from 1991 to 2009, over 880,000 African-American deaths would have been averted.
This year’s conference will specifically address the non-medical determinants of health, including education levels, health literacy, poverty, public safety, community design, areas of care, environmental quality, environmental justice and personal, government and corporate responsibility.
The first two student “blogs” were posted on November 8, 2010 by Sarah Pan, a Master of Public Health candidate in Drexel University’s class of 2011, and by Oyinkansola Kusemiju, another Master of Public Health candidate, also from Drexel. Their posts and those of other students can be accessed on the conference’s web site www.buildinghealthycommunities2010.com. Pan, who also posted a blog to the site on November 9, 2010, mentioned that she has been working on a research project with a neurologist from the University of Pennsylvania that focuses on the potential underlying causes of treatment disparities.
She said the project and the upcoming conference has led her to think more about whether “health care is a right or a privilege” and that she believes it is “important to bring these issues to the table in a discussion with leaders from across the nation.”
Similarly, Ms. Kusemiju wrote that what she hopes “to take away from this conference are solutions and recommendations on ways to reduce these disparities and improve the life outcomes of communities.”
The 30 students from Cheyney University, Drexel University, Lincoln University, Morehouse University School of Medicine, Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania, will continue to post blogs about their experiences throughout the conference.
The students’ participation at the conference, inclusive of the blogging experience, has been funded by the Office of Minority Health, of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
About the Fourth National Conference on Healthcare Disparities
The Fourth National Conference on Health Disparities has been organized in conjunction with the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust and the Tri-Caucus Health Taskforce chairs.
The event is being supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Medical University of South Carolina, AmeriHealth Mercy Family of Companies, The Coca Cola Company, Novo Nordisk, Temple University Health System, Office of Minority Health, PhRMA, Morehouse School of Medicine, Eli Lilly, Drexel School of Public Health, Fox Chase Cancer Center and Lincoln University.
Co-Supporters include: Alliance for Digital Equality, American Kidney Fund, Cheney University, Davita, Health Partners, Infosys, Jefferson Health System, Mercy Health System, Orasure Technologies, Penn School of Nursing, UnitedHealth Group, Verizon Wireless and The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia