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DHHS' Dr. Garth N. Graham Selected as Donna M. Christensen Inaugural Lecturer

The Caribbean Exploratory NIMHD Research Center for Excellence (CERC) at the University of the Virgin Islands School of Nursing is pleased to announce Dr. Garth N. Graham as the inaugural Donna M. Christensen Lecturer. The inaugural lecture will be presented during CERC's Fourth Annual Health Disparities Institute, Oct. 19-21, at Marriott Frenchman's Reef Resort on St. Thomas.

Dr. Graham is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health in the Office of Minority Health (OMH) at the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). In his role as deputy assistant secretary, Dr. Graham and the OMH develop and coordinate federal health policy that addresses minority health concerns and ensure that federal, state and local health programs take into account the needs of disadvantaged, racial and ethnic populations.

The Donna M. Christensen Lecture Series is established to recognize an individual or organization that promotes or improves the health of individuals, families, communities, or populations by addressing timely issues in health policy, treatment, research or advocacy. The lecture series is named for the Honorable Donna M. Christensen, eight-term member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing the U.S. Virgin Islands. Dr. Christensen is the first female physician in the history of the U.S. Congress, the first woman to represent an offshore territory, and the first woman delegate from the U.S. Virgin Islands.

"I am honored to be giving the Donna M. Christensen inaugural lecture," Graham said. "In this era of healthcare reform, Congresswoman Christensen continues to champion the important task of reducing health disparities for all populations be they ethnic, minority, or economic and to improve the quality of their lives. This lecture, dedicated in her honor, is a symbol of her continuing leadership in the areas of health, advocacy and policy."

Dr. Graham founded the Boston Men's Cardiovascular Health Project, a project designed to identify behavioral explanations for decreased adherence to adequate diet and exercise by African-American men. He also served on the Public Health Executive Council of the Massachusetts Medical Society and the Board of Directors of Physicians for Human Rights. He is currently on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and served as a visiting scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health. He has authored scientific articles and presentations on cardiovascular disease, HIV/AIDS and community medicine.

Dr. Graham earned a medical degree from the Yale School of Medicine, and a Master of Public Health degree from the Yale School of Epidemiology and Public Health with a focus in health policy administration. He is board certified in internal medicine, and is a fellow of the American College of Physicians. Dr. Graham has authored numerous reports and articles on health policy, prevention and interventions.

Dr. Christensen stated,"I am humbled and very honored that the UVI Caribbean Exploratory Research Center would designate a lecture in my name. I cannot think of a better person to give the inaugural lecture than Dr. Garth Graham. Dr. Graham has led the DHHS health equity effort at an unprecedented high and effective level. I am proud to call him colleague and friend and even more proud that he would honor UVI and me by agreeing to give this lecture."

Delegate Christensen will provide the opening keynote for the Fourth Annual CERC Health Disparities Institute. She replaces the announced keynote.

"This is an exciting opportunity for The Caribbean Exploratory NIMHD Research Center for Excellence and the University of the Virgin Islands to have such a distinguished individual associated with this lecture," said UVI President David Hall. "Congresswoman Donna M. Christensen has been a trailblazer in both her professional and political careers. She has also been an unwavering supporter of the University and we are honored that she would lend her name to such a worthy academic and community service endeavor."

For more information about the Caribbean Exploratory Research Center and the Fourth Health Disparities Institute, visit www.cercinstitute.org or call (404) 559-6191.