Webcast: NIH Director Zerhouni and IOM President Fineberg to discuss health disparities

Boston, MA--This Harvard School of Public Health symposium--featuring NIH Director Elias Zerhouni and IOM President Harvey Fineberg--will focus on "Investigating Health Disparities: New Agendas for National Health Research Institutes," April 14, 2-5 p.m., Harvard Conference Center Amphitheatre, 77 Avenue Louis Pasteur, Boston, and will be webcast live at http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/disparities/webcast.html.

While researchers have noted social disparities in health for decades, the subject was not a focus of mainstream scientific and policymaking efforts in the U.S. until the last decade. In 2002, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released the report "Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities," (http://www.iom.edu/), which revealed that minorities tend to receive lower-quality health care than whites do, even when insurance status, income, age and severity of conditions are comparable.

In 2003, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) revealed its Roadmap for Medical Research (http://nihroadmap.nih.gov/). With an emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration, the Roadmap has funded the creation of a center on health disparities and pregnancy outcomes and has called for professional training of future clinical research leaders from diverse backgrounds. HSPH has received Roadmap funding for an interdisciplinary training program focused on gene-environment interactions in complex diseases--such as the cluster of metabolic diseases that involve obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, some of which disproportionately affect minority groups.

Speakers will describe how their institutes have created new opportunities for research and what kinds of barriers they have experienced.

Elias Zerhouni, Director, U.S. National Institutes of Health
John Frank

Contact: Christina Roache
Harvard School of Public Health

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