Morehouse Conference ‘Crucial Step’ in Addressing Racial Health Disparities, Opinion Piece States
The First Annual Freedom's Voice Conference at Morehouse School of Medicine, scheduled for April 9 to 11, is a "crucial step" toward a "new direction in the fight against health disparities," Henrie Treadwell, associate director of development at Morehouse's National Center for Primary Care, writes in a Michigan Citizen opinion piece.
According to Treadwell, who is also director of the not-for-profit Community Voices, a group that seeks to improve access to health care, "Health disparities are devastating urban and rural communities alike," but "the millions spent examining health disparities have yielded few results." He adds, "Only recently have researchers begun to understand that to improve the health of African-Americans, their total environment must be considered, and acted upon."
In response, the conference "will host an assembly of the nation's leaders in civil rights and health disparities to discuss the relationship between poor health and inequities in our society," Treadwell writes. The conference will include sessions on underserved populations, incarceration and re-entry in society, and the role of the news media. Conference participants "will begin to craft components for an action plan and implement the ideas that will ultimately benefit our communities," he says.
Treadwell continues, "Clearly, the combinations of social and economic conditions under which people of color live are the determinants that ultimately impact" their overall health. He concludes, "Until the social determinants of health are identified and addressed, black men, women and children will continue suffering needlessly" (Treadwell, Michigan Citizen, 3/12).