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NIH Convenes First Summit On Racial Health Disparities

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Thousands of scientists, health care workers, policymakers and others will gather in the Washington, D.C., area on Tuesday for the first government-sponsored scientific summit on minority health and health disparities, USA Today reports. The three-day conference, called the "Science of Eliminating Health Disparities" summit, was coordinated by the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities at NIH.

Research that will be presented at the summit includes studies about church pastors' role in health disparity research, why black dialysis patients are less likely than whites to be evaluated and listed for kidney transplants, barriers to colonoscopy screenings for blacks, how social support in response to racial discrimination can prevent stress and depressions, obstacles to offering counseling to Hispanic and black teenage mothers, and ethnic and gender disparities in cyberbullying.

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John Ruffin, director of the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities, said all of NIH's 27 institutes and centers conduct disparities research, which has created a decentralized group and is one of the reasons to hold the summit. Former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher said, "I'm excited about this summit. We've all been struggling to get this going, but we're to the point where we want to hear from each other, share ideas.

We have an opportunity to move forward." Jeff Henderson, director of the Black Hills Center for American Indian Health and member of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe, said, "Tribes have the challenges of profound rurality. I think the perspective I'm going to share will enlighten people" (Brophy Marcus, USA Today, 12/16).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.