Annual health disparities symposium focuses on policy, systems, environmental changes

This year’s symposium will feature Karen Glanz, Ph.D., and Jonathan Engel, Ph.D., as speakers.

MHRCjoomlaThe University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center will host the 14th annual UAB Health Disparities Research Symposium on Thursday, April 18, at the Hilton Birmingham at UAB. The symposium highlights work by academic investigators, students and community partners in basic science, clinical research, social and behavioral science, and community-based and health outcomes research the field of health disparities.

The 2019 symposium is co-sponsored by two national centers for health disparities research. The UAB Obesity Health Disparities Research Center supports transdisciplinary, multi-level and multi-domain research to understand the complex contributors to obesity and obesity-related health disparities. It is led by Mona Fouad, M.D., director and professor in the UAB Division of Preventive Medicine and director of the UAB MHRC. Also sponsoring the symposium is the Gulf States Health Policy Center, which unites community members, partner organizations and service providers to build capacity for health policy research and to impact and improve health outcomes. The group is led by Regina Benjamin, M.D., founder and CEO of Bayou Clinic and 18th U.S. surgeon general.

“The symposium showcases the work being done to reduce health inequities in Alabama, the South and our nation,” Fouad said. “It provides an overview of the latest in health disparities research. Scientists and scholars look to it as an excellent opportunity to share discoveries, new approaches and successful models.”

The keynote speaker will be Karen Glanz, Ph.D., MPH, George A. Weiss University Professor in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Glanz is a globally influential public health scholar whose work spans psychology, epidemiology, nutrition and other disciplines. Her research, funded for more than $40 million over the past 25 years, focuses on cancer prevention and control, theories of health behavior, obesity and the built environment, implementation science, social and health policy, and new health communication technologies. Glanz’s research and publications about understanding, measuring and improving healthy food environments beginning in the late 1980s have been been widely recognized and replicated.

Jonathan Engel, Ph.D., will be the plenary speaker. As a professor in the School of Public Affairs, Baruch College, CUNY, Engel conducts research in the historical evolution of U.S. health and social welfare policy. His books include “Poor People’s Medicine: Medicaid and U.S. Charity Care since 1965,” “American Therapy: The Rise of Psychotherapy in the United States” and “Unaffordable: American Healthcare from Johnson to Trump.” His latest book is “Fat Nation: A History of Obesity in America.” Engel attempts to show that obesity is a symptom of complex changes that have transpired since World War II to our food, living habits, life patterns, built environment and social interactions.

In addition to hearing the vision for health disparities research from national experts, symposium guests will have access to breakout sessions on various health disparities research topics.

The symposium is free and open to the public. The Hilton Birmingham at UAB is located at 808 20th St. South, Birmingham, AL 35205. Please visit the official registration website to register for the symposium.