5W Wednesday: PHSAD 25th Annual Minority Health Conference

Our 5W Wednesday series highlights a variety of health care organizations, professionals and programs that keep our community healthy.

What is it?
Although the United States spends more than any other nation in the world on health care, low-income Americans and racial and ethnic minorities experience higher rates of disease, fewer treatment options and reduced access to care (HealthReform.gov, Health Disparities: A Case for Closing the Gap). The 2011 Minority Health Conference is titled “Health Reform and Health Disparities: Is Reform Enough?”

Conference discussion topics include:

  • How health reform does or does not address disparities among minorities in the U.S.
  • Public health in action
  • Michigan health equity roadmap
  • Healthcare system impact on mental health disparities
  • The impact of reform on minority healthcare coverage in Michigan

Who are they?
PHSAD is a student organization committed to creating and fostering a sense of community and collective responsibility primarily among students of African descent in the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan. PHSAD also provides a familial environment for students as they pursue their degrees at the School of Public Health. The organization strives to maintain diversity by having members with backgrounds in each of the public health academic disciplines as well as other schools within the University. Through work with other organizations, PHSAD has also helped foster relationships among peers that will last a lifetime.

Other sponsors of this year’s Minority Health Conference include: MESA (Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs) and the Michigan Student Assembly.

Why is it needed?
Despite increases in health care spending, significant disparities in disease prevalence, treatment options, and access to care exist among racial and ethnic minority populations as compared to white populations in the United States. 

Disparities in disease prevalence:

  • Chronic disease: 48% of African American adults suffer from a chronic disease, compared to 39% of the general population.
  • Obesity: 7 out of 10 African Americans ages 18 to 64 are obses or overweight, and African Americans are 15% more likely to suffer from obesity than Whites.
  • Cancer: African American men are 50% more likely than Whites to have prostate cancer and are more likely than any other racial group to suffer from colorectal cancer. Hispanic and Vietnamese women have disproportionate rates of cervical cancer, which they contract at twice the rate of White women.
  • Diabetes: Fifteen percent of African Americans, 14% of Hispanics, and 18% of American Indians suffer from adult onset diabetes. American Indians suffer from diabetes at more than twice the rate of the White population, which develops the disease at a rate of only 8%.
  • HIV/AIDS: African Americans experience new HIV infections at seven times the rate of whites, and Hispanics experience new HIV infections at two and a half times the rate of whites.

Racial and ethnic minorities and low-income individuals are more likely than whites and higher income individuals to lack health insurance and a usual source of primary health care, are less likely to receive preventive services, and are more likely to end up in the emergency department or hospital. In addition, Asian Americans, African Americans, and Hispanics all reported having poor communications with their doctor more often than Whites, which has detrimental effects on health.
All information in this section has been taken from HealthReform.gov, “Health Disparities: A Case for Closing the Gap.”

When is it?
The 25th annual Minority Health Conference will be held on Friday, March 18, 2011. The day’s tentative schedule runs from 8:15 to 6:00pm, with the conference from 9:00am to 3:30pm, followed by a networking event from 4:00 to 6:00pm.

Can I still sign up to attend the conference?
Yes! Act fast – the registration deadline has been extended until Thursday, March 17. Click here to register for the conference.

Where is it?
University of Michigan School of Public Health, in the Organ Room and Room 1690 SPH I. 1415 Washington Heights, Ann Arbor, MI.
Find directions and parking information here.

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