The Centre for Health and Development (CHAD) was delighted to be invited to speak at the 13th Health Disparities Symposium at the Minority Health Research Centre (MHRC), University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). The focus was on the ‘Social Determinants of Health from a Global Perspective’.
Building on Staffordshire University and Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s long standing relationship with MHRC, Judy Kurth, Centre Director for CHAD, Dr Chris Gidlow, Academic Director for CHAD, and Professor Aliko Ahmed, Founding member of CHAD were the guest speakers at the event, giving an hour long presentation on the social determinants of health and global health inequalities. We also did a plenary session and helped judge the posters. It was extremely well attended, despite a tornado threat, with over 40 written posters and 20 verbal posters from across the university.
Judy Kurth set the context for the presentations locating health inequalities within the context of income inequality and shared the collaborative approach that drives CHAD, which is a unique partnership between Local Government, Academia and Community. The key message was the importance of engaging communities and policy makers in research to maximise impact. Chris shared his extensive research in the area of natural environments and health and health inequalities, and finally Aliko focused on Africa and Health Inequalities and the work of the Public Health Africa Initiative which is taking an assets based approach to sustainable improvements. A key area of discussion at the plenary was the difference between the UK focus on income inequality and US focus on race disparity – there is so much to learn from each perspective.
We were also privileged to meet with a number of inspiring academics working in the field of Health Disparities including the Senior Vice President and Medicine and Dean, UAB School of Medicine, Selwyn M. Vickers, MD, FACS who is a strong supporter of this agenda. Finally, we were fortunate enough to visit the Kingston Coalition, which is a community development initiative established by MHRC in an area of extreme socio-economic deprivation. It was wonderful to be able to share some of the work which is happening here in Stoke-on-Trent through two of our key partners, My Community Matters and 1,000 Lives, and the upshot was that everyone agreed that we have so much in common and first and foremost we are all human!. The feedback was that a visit to Kingston from the UK helped reinforce the importance of the work of the coalition and gave them a real boost.
It was an inspiring (if short!) visit and I believe very positive for the University. There was plenty of scope for future collaborations identified with colleagues from across the university, and we all look forward to taking our partnership to the next level.
The feedback below is from Dr Mona Fouad MD, MPH Director and Professor, Division of Preventative Medicine and Director of MHRC, and Advisor to CHAD Board.
“On behalf of myself and the MHRC team, allow me to offer you my profound thanks for giving so generously of your time on March 19-21st, leading the Health Disparities Research Symposium plenary session presentations and visiting with our faculty and community members. We’re aware that your schedule is very demanding, and we are grateful that you took this long trip and chose to make time to share your experiences with us.
Your lectures offered a thoughtful perspective on the challenges our communities encounter to achieve better health outcomes; your message also offered applicable recommendations for all attendees that are perusing career in health disparities and global health research.
The feedback we’ve received from both the presentations and your meetings with our faculty have been universally positive.”