May 15, 2009
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Center for Health Disparities

Health Disparities Conference to focus on prevention

The Center for Health Disparities will host its third annual Health Disparities Conference titled "Targeting Health Disparities through Prevention" on May 28-29.  Presenters and panel experts will discuss and debate various aspects of preventing illness as it relates to demography. Keynote speakers are Dr. Fernando Torres-Gill from UCLA and Dr. Lovell A. Jones from the Center for Research on Minority Health at the University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center. 

Each session will feature an address by specially selected experts, followed by a panel discussion.  CME credit is available. Poster presentations and STAR Fellowship Awards will be presented on Friday. Funding for this conference was made possible (in part) by the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

The Texas Center for Health Disparities (TCHD) is working to eliminate health gaps in community health and treatment through research, education and community service.

TCHD’s primary projects

  1. Over the last year, the North Texas Healthy Heart Study has produced four publications, with three more in review, and six presentations at national meetings. The North Texas Healthy Heart Study explores how perceived discrimination, social support and a sense of personal control affect cardiovascular health.
  2. The Center is studying the use of glucagon and autonomic responses to determine the risk of cardiovascular disease with metabolic syndrome in minorities.
  3. The TCHD is reviewing the role of ethnicity in hot flashes.

In addition, the TCHD helped initiate nine pilot projects aimed at reducing health disparities in cardiovascular and respiratory disease, metabolic syndrome, asthma and drug abuse-related conditions.

Learn more about the TCHD’s research at monthly Health Disparities Grand Rounds Seminars. Every third Friday of the month, different researchers will discuss their projects. The seminars are open to the public, and Health Science Center faculty, staff and students interested in reducing health disparities are encouraged to attend.

The Center’s STAR (Steps Toward Academic Research) Fellowship Program has trained more than 30 minority researchers from universities across the country in health disparities research over the last three years. Three STAR fellows recently received funding to further their research, and 10 more STAR researchers were recently recruited.

So far this year, three national conferences, with a fourth happening this month, have focused on the center’s cutting-edge health disparities research. Additionally, nearly 50 minority undergraduate students have been educated in health disparities research during summer outreach programs.

Community Service
In May, the TCHD begins a prostate cancer screening project with Dallas Methodist Hospital System.

The Center’s Aintie-Tia Project is collaborating with the Fort Worth/Dallas Birthing Project to help improve perinatal outcomes among African Americans in Fort Worth.

To promote health education and research participation in the community, the Center has strengthened existing partnerships with the City of Fort Worth and Tarrant County Public Health. In addition to these existing relationships, the TCHD forged new partnerships with the J. McDonald Williams Institute, Baylor Health Care System Office of Health Equity, the Tarrant County Infant Mortality Task Force, Catholic Charities and the American Heart Association Cultural Health Initiative, to name just a few.

For more on the Center for Health Disparities, contact Annie Mathew, or visit the TCHD Web page.

The Center for Health Disparities is one of the UNT Health Science Center’s Health Institutes of Texas (HIT). HIT is designed to speed research from the bench to the bedside to create a healthier and more productive Texas. Updates on each of the 12 HIT centers and institutes will be featured in future issues of Campus Connection. Learn more at the HIT Web page.


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