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FOR RELEASE: March 11, 2003
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Interfaith Health and Wellness Conference Starts March 19

Oklahoma’s first annual Interfaith Health and Wellness Partnership Conference is scheduled March 19-21 at the Oklahoma City University Kramer School of Nursing, 2501 N. Blackwelder in Oklahoma City. Free public health workshops will focus on involving the faith community to help solve the problems of health disparities, access to health care, and community coalition building.

The theme of the conference, “Faith, Hope and Health,” was chosen to encourage and empower faith organizations to develop ongoing ministries and/or outreach activities. Keynote speaker will be Dr. Therman Evans, M.D., Ph.D. He is scheduled to speak on March 20 at 10 a.m. at the Leichter Reunion Center on the OCU Campus. Evans is the CEO of Wholelife Associates and Pastor of Morning Star Community Tabernacle in Linden, NJ. He will emphasize the need to balance health, nutrition, fitness, and spirituality with strong collaborative skills among corporate, faith-based, government, fraternal and educational entities.

Another conference presenter is Edwin B. Hutchins, Ph.D., president of the Healthier People Network Inc. He specializes in health risk assessment (HRA) for program planning and has worked with the faith community to develop an HRA. Hutchins is also an adjunct professor at Emory University School of Public Health in Atlanta, Ga. Hutchins develops risk assessment and evaluation tools to measure norms for special populations. His workshop will recognize the risk of unhealthy habits leading to early death or chronic illness; describe the health risk assessment tool; and how to use the HRA in wellness programs to identify risk factors and to plan activities for members of congregations.

Other workshops include: Building Partnerships With My Faith Community; Faith Sponsored Community Health Fairs; Faith-Based Health and Wellness Programs; Volunteer Training for My Congregation; How to Conduct a Health Assessment; How to Develop Health Ministry Activities; Understanding Holistic Health; Developing Inter-Faith Community Partnerships; Cultural Diversity; Understanding Health Disparities and Health Access; and Identifying Resources on Health Disparity Data.

The Interfaith Health and Wellness Partnership Conference is designed to address some of the health disparities identified by the 2002 State of the State’s Interim 2002 Report, The Haves & Have-Nots, released last year by the Oklahoma State Board of Health. Register for the conference online, by going to http://www.otpc.org. For additional information, contact Tom Nash, Oklahoma State Department of Health’s Community Development Service, 405/271-9444 ext. 56534.

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