Raisz Lecture at Health Center Focuses on Eliminating Health Disparities

A national expert on the issue of health disparities is the keynote speaker for the Lawrence G. Raisz, M.D. Lectureship in Clinical and Translational Research on Friday, Dec. 13.

New Journal Based at Health Center

The first journal focusing on the issue of health disparities will be based at the UConn Health Center. The W. Montague Cobb/National Medical Association Health Institute and UConn’s Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science are setting an industry precedent by publishing the first journal specifically devoted to the elimination of racial and ethnic health disparities within our nation. The Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities will feature articles addressing the underlying causes of racial and ethnic health disparities, as well as interventions and initiatives to eliminate them. The Journal invites submission of original papers from researchers, public health practitioners, and students researching and working to find solutions to the various health disparities that plague society.

John Ruffin, director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health, will present “Translational Research and the Community Connection in Eliminating Health Disparities.”

John Ruffin

John Ruffin

The event is sponsored by the Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (CICATS) at the UConn Health Center.  There will be a wine and cheese reception in the Academic Lobby at 4:30 p.m., followed by the lectureship from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in Patterson Auditorium.

Ruffin’s lecture will give an overview of translational research and the importance of “bench to bedside to curbside” interventions to reduce and eliminate health disparities.
“Health disparities remain one of the most daunting and persistent health challenges that this country faces where all segments of the population do not experience the same level of health status,” explains Ruffin. “The underlying causes of these disparities are numerous and are the result of the interplay of various factors that may be biological or non-biological in nature including social, economic, environmental, behavioral, cultural and political. This complex intersection of dynamics underscores the critical need for diverse and far-reaching strategies to combat the disparities that are ravaging the fabric of too many communities.”

It’s estimated that by 2050, racial and ethnic minorities will become the majority population. Currently, these populations endure the greatest burden of health disparities which means the country will face an ever greater burden if these trends continue.

Ruffin adds that, “While some studies have found the quality of care for all populations is improving, it also points to persistent and in some instances worsening disparities for access to care and some specific diseases and health conditions across all populations. It means that much more has to be done to implement effective interventions to reduce these disparities.”

The lecture will also examine the value of integrating the community and community-based participatory research in advancing the dissemination of evidence-based science into policies and practice to improve health outcomes for health disparity populations.

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