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UVI to Sponsor Second Annual Health Disparities Institute Oct. 15-16 on St. John

Researchers from across the nation will visit the Virgin Islands this fall to share their insights on issues related to health disparities at the Second Annual Health Disparities Institute sponsored by the Caribbean Exploratory NCMHD Research Center at the University of the Virgin Islands.
"Bridging Science, Practice and Culture to Improve Health in the U.S. Virgin Islands" is the theme for the institute, which is slated for Oct.15 and 16 at The Westin St. John Resort & Villas.

"The institute will provide important health information to the entire Virgin Islands community," said Dr. Gloria Callwood, director of the Caribbean Exploratory Research Center, which is operated by UVI's Division of Nursing Education.

"We're expecting at least 175 persons to participate, including both local and national presenters," Dr. Callwood said. "We invite all persons who are concerned about their health and the health of our community to join us at this important event."

Ambassador Margaret Heckler, former Secretary of Health and Human Services and Ambassador to Ireland under President Ronald Regan, will be the institute's primary keynote speaker. Heckler commissioned the 1985 Task Force on Black and Minority Health, which proved to be a turning point in the recognition of health disparities among minorities, Dr. Callwood said. "One of the major recommendations of what became known as the Heckler Report was to form a federal office of minority health which was a precursor to the National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities, under which our research center operates."

According to Dr. Callwood, primary goals of this fall's institute are to increase awareness and understanding of health disparities; identify best-practice models in research and community participation; strengthen partnerships among research, practitioners, policy makers and residents; and explore current scientific investigations on racial and ethnic minority health disparities.

The institute is designed for local health and human services professionals, health policy leaders, criminal justice professionals, elected and appointed officials, educators, students, community leaders, concerned citizens, religious leaders and the media. Continuing Medical Education and Continuing Education Unit credits are available.

The Caribbean Exploratory NCMHD Research Center (CERC) was established at UVI in 2007, expanding the work of the University's existing Caribbean Export Center. The center's goal is to facilitate research and education on health disparities in the territory. It focuses on community outreach and education, the mentoring and training of researchers, including UVI students, and the evaluation of the efforts of academic, institutional and community partners to improve the health of Virgin Islanders.

In December of 2008 more than 190 individuals participated in the first Health Disparities Institute held under the auspices of the CERC. That institute was held in conjunction with the Medical University of South Carolina and the Congressional Black Caucus.

UVI's Caribbean Exploratory Research Center is funded by a grant from the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities, a unit of the National Institutes of Health. Details are available at the CERC web site - http://cercuvi.com - or from Lorna Williams-Sutton at lsutton@uvi.edu or phone 340-693-1172.

An information brochure on the fall institute and a registration form are available from the Health Disparities Conference page on UVI's CELL Center web - http://cell.uvi.edu. Click here for additional details on institute cost and registration deadlines.