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FOR RELEASE: May 29, 2002
CONTACT: Dick Gunn

Health Disparities to be Discussed at Public Health Conference May 31

Administrators, legislators and decision-makers from various community organizations will discuss “The Changing Demographics in Public Health” from 8:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Friday, May 31, at the Metro Tech Conference Center in Oklahoma City. The topics to be discussed include issues about health delivery services, and how the barriers of racism, immigration, and poverty contribute to health disparities in Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma State Board of Health, in its 2002 State of the State’s Health Report, concluded “together, as partners, we must think differently about our preventive approaches, coordinate our efforts, and challenge ourselves to take risks that will ultimately improve the health of Oklahoma’s future generations.”

“The challenge is for all Oklahomans to become healthier, thus increasing the health, viability, economic status and quality of life for all Oklahomans,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Leslie M. Beitsch. Participants will be asked to share insights about health concerns in their respective communities.

Some of the topics and presenters for the conference include:

  • Cultural Competency, Valerie Williams, OU Health Sciences Center
  • Data Collection Issues, Dr. Dale Bretzler, OK Foundation of Medical Quality
  • Quality Service Delivery: Cultural Competency of Staff, Dr. Nancy Chu, OU College of Nursing
  • Racism, Ralph Rouse, DHHS Region VI Office of Civil Rights
  • Immigration, Shirley Cox, Catholic Charities
  • Poverty, Dr. William J. McAuley, University of North Carolina

The closing panel will discuss recommendations to improve health care. Panel members include Sen. Angela Monson, legislator; Dr. Leslie Beitsch, commissioner of health; Pat Fennell, executive director, Latino Community Development Agency; Dr. Nancy Chu, professor, University of Oklahoma, College of Nursing; and Rev. J.A. Reed, pastor, Fairview Baptist Church.

For registration information, contact Cari Thompson, Office of Primary Care, Oklahoma State Department of Health, 405/271-8427.


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