Health Conference at Lehman College Demands ‘Equity Now’

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Health Conference at Lehman College Demands ‘Equity Now’

The CUNY Institute for Health Equity’s Annual Conference called “Equity Now” will bring together public and private sector leaders to tackle some of the most difficult health issues facing American urban settings. The conference is being held on May 8 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Lehman College in the Lovinger Theatre.

“There are a wide range of inequalities that surround health that are long standing and seemingly intractable,” says William Latimer, the founding dean of the School of Health Sciences, Human Services, and Nursing at Lehman College. “How do we go about making change now? Not 10 or 20 years from now, but now. That’s the idea of equity now. That sort of change will require collaboration across major public and private sectors, such as coordinating efforts across healthcare industry, supportive housing for homeless and vulnerable populations, government and public agencies among many others.”

Latimer points to the rates of asthma, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity in The Bronx and New York City and in cities throughout the country, as a health crisis impacting millions of people.

“It is a crisis affecting the lives of millions of people, in urban settings nationally,” says Latimer. “However, the Bronx and New York City are uniquely positioned to address these critical issues by virtue of its great many strengths and resilience.”

The first panel will focus on how a diverse group of stakeholders in medicine, academia, government, and nonprofit organizations, can address these urgent issues. The panel features: Dr. Elena Rios, President and CEO, National Hispanic Medical Association; Dr. Aletha Maybank, director, Center for Health Equity and associate commissioner, NYC Department of Health; Brenda Rosen, president and CEO, Breaking Ground; Paula Richter, the director of Health and Human Services, Office of the Bronx Borough President; and Dr. Carl Mazza, chair, Department of Social Work, at Lehman College.

The second panel is a “workforce development panel” that will be geared to a discussion of opportunities in health professions. The panel features Milton Nuñez, the CEO of Lincoln Hospital; Dr. Lynne Holden, the president of “Mentoring in Medicine”; Jeff Menkes, the president and CEO, Burke Rehabilitation Hospital; Dr. Viviana Abreu-Hernandez, the director, research and development of programs, training and upgrading fund, 1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds.

The keynote speaker is Dr. Thomas LaVeist, the chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management at the George Washington University, Milken School of Public Health. LaVeist, is a renowned world expert on health equities who has “led seminal research on the impact of socioeconomic and racial inequities on the health of individuals and communities.”

There will also be two student conference poster sessions, giving students an opportunity to showcase and disseminate their research, and network with healthcare professionals and health equity leaders.

“I hope this conference will provoke a focused thoughtful conversation about how to promote equity now in complex urban settings,” says Latimer. “It will require coordination and integration across the many public and private agencies that serve the Bronx, New York City, and beyond.”

Latimer will be making the opening remarks, followed by greetings from Lehman College President, Dr. José Luis Cruz and Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Harriet Fayne. The panel moderators will be Latimer and Alicia Georges, the chair of the Department of Nursing and president-elect of the American Association of Retired Persons.

Photo: Dr. Thomas LaVeist, the chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management at the George Washington University, Milken School of Public Health.