23rd annual National Health Equity Research webcast
Last Friday, we hosted the 23rd annual National Health Equity Research Webcast in Chapel Hill, N.C. It was an awesome event involving an onsite audience of about 200 people, more than 700 online participants and four impressive speakers, as listed below:
- Paul Cuadros, MA, associate professor in the UNC School of Media and Journalism;
- Andrew Curley, PhD, postdoctoral fellow in geography at UNC-Chapel Hill;
- Camara Phyllis Jones, MD, MPH, PhD, senior fellow at the Morehouse School of Medicine’s Satcher Health Leadership Institute and Cardiovascular Research Institute, and immediate past president of the American Public Health Association (APHA); and
- Wizdom Powell, PhD, MPH, director of the University of Connecticut Health Center’s Health Disparities Institute, associate professor of psychiatry in the University of Connecticut’s School of Medicine; and adjunct associate professor of health behavior at the Gillings School.
Each spoke about issues of equity from different perspectives, including health, immigration and the environment, and they effectively used their own personal stories to create compelling narratives with wider applicability.
Cuadros, author of A Home on the Field: How One Championship Team Inspires Hope for the Revival of Small Town America, described having been a journalist from Washington, D.C., who visited Siler City, N.C., to write a story about the town’s changing demographics. Ultimately, he became a member of the community, through helping find a field for Latino boys who had no place to play soccer.
Through Cuadros’ and others’ efforts, by standing up to powerful interests in the school system and elsewhere, they located the field, raised money to turn it into a soccer venue and transformed a group of immigrant boys into a winning team.
It is a powerful story about at-risk boys who found support in a community, became champions and grew into young men who believed in themselves and their futures.
It was a reminder of how significantly, and with such resilience, immigrants can contribute to building community. We also saw how fear and ignorance caused some to undermine efforts on behalf of the boys. What Cuadros, the soccer team and the community experienced is a microcosm of what is occurring now in so many communities across America.
The stories shared by Cuadros, Curley and Jones were passionate and arresting narratives of injustice – of failures to recognize the value of individuals and groups within our society; and of ill health, death and suffering exacted by various kinds of racism. The panel was moderated expertly by Powell, who, until recently, was an associate professor of health behavior at the Gillings School. The energy in the room and emanating from the virtual audience was incredible. Our students asked fabulous questions, and I felt proud, yet again, to be the dean of this amazing School. Our collective commitment to equity in health care, education and other fields is long-standing and profound.
The planning committee (most of whom are pictured below) did a great job. Use this link to watch the video recording of the event.
The views expressed in this blog are Barbara Rimer’s alone and do not represent the views and policies of The University of North Carolina or the Gillings School of Global Public Health.