The 9th Annual Conference on Health Disparities
PROGRAM OVERVIEWThe 9th Annual Conference on Health Disparities will be held May 29-30, 2014 at the UNT Health Science Center. The overall theme for the conference is “The Role of Genomics in Eliminating Health Disparities”. It is known that the vast majority of the human genetic information is shared by all people and regardless of race or ethnicity, any two individuals share 99.9% of their gene sequence. Similarly, all populations share most genetic variation. However, the small differences that do exist include variations that may have important medical consequences. Thus, while most of human genomics research will apply broadly to all groups of people regardless of which individuals conclusions are based upon, it is also important to study whether specific genetic factors may underlie disparate rates of incidence or patterns of progression of disease when they are observed among different groups. Risk factors for common complex diseases such as prostate cancer and diabetes include both genetic and environmental/behavioral/social factors, but in most cases, the relative contribution of these factors is not known. With the tremendous advances in technology and increased investigation into human genetic variation, genomics is poised to play a valuable role in bolstering efforts to find new treatments and preventions for chronic conditions and diseases that disparately affect certain ethnic groups (1). We propose to incorporate gene-environment interactions, personalized medicine and ethics and public policy in the genomics era as key topics for discussion in the proposed conference to build awareness and knowledge related to health disparities among students, practitioners, community workers and public health professionals.
This conference will feature nationally recognized speakers, community speakers, patients/survivors and interactive debates highlighting the advances in the genomics area and its impact on eliminating health disparities. Educational and interactive presentations, panel discussions and questions/answer sessions will identify the challenges and bring conference attendees closer to developing a prospectus for the future.
The conference will also highlight the ongoing research programs and efforts including community engagement programs that are aimed to understand the underlying causes of such disparities and devising innovative strategies to ultimately eliminate them.
- Increase awareness and understanding of gene-environment interactions and health disparities.
- Promote our understanding of the relationships between genomics, race and ethnicity, and the consequences of uncovering these relationships.
- Develop new or improved approaches, including personalized medicine, for detecting and diagnosing the onset of diseases that contribute to health disparities.
- Advance our understanding of the ethical, legal, and social implications of genomics research and its role in understanding the causes of health disparities.
- Establish a framework for ongoing dialogue and creation of partnerships to address disparities in health in all affected communities.