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January 10, 2002

Minority health summit begins today

Minority health leaders and scholars from around the United States will convene here today and tomorrow for the Pitt Center for Minority Health's second annual summit on eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities.

The 2002 theme is "The Impact of Discrimination on Health Status." The two-day summit will be held at the University Club.

During the summit, the Center for Minority Health is expected to announce an initiative to eliminate health disparities in the city of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County.

The summit is sponsored by the Center for Minority Health at the Graduate School of Public Health; the Office for Civil Rights (Region 3), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Maurice Falk Medical Fund.

"Our aim is to mount a comprehensive response to the growing body of scientific evidence that discrimination has invaded the health care delivery system," said Stephen Thomas, director of the Center for Minority Health and Philip Hallen Professor of Community Health and Social Justice.

"Since the civil rights movement in the 1960s, much progress has been made in addressing racism in the United States, but discrimination — usually unintentional — still exists in the provision of health care services," Thomas said.

The summit will include addresses and panel discussions with leading local and national figures in minority health.

A press conference will be held at noon today, Jan. 10, at the University Club to launch the Pittsburgh African-American Health Promotion Campaign, the Center for Minority Health's new initiative to build community capacity to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities in Allegheny County by the year 2010.

Funded by the Lois Tack Thompson Fund, the Westwood Fund, and the O.C. Prickett and Margaret Prickett Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation, the eight-year campaign will begin with a focus on health problems highlighted in the "Black Papers," a series of health status reports released by the Urban League of Pittsburgh.

"An honest and open discussion about race and discrimination in health care is a critical first step, but we are not just wringing our hands over the problem," Thomas said. "With financial support from The Pittsburgh Foundation we are launching a major local campaign with community partners to address the issue from the ground up. Pittsburgh is sure to emerge as a model city in eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities."

Filed under: Feature,Volume 34 Issue 9

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