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For Release: April 7, 2009
Contact: Sue Mallonee
OPHA President
405/271-9444 x56440

Health Equity Conference Features Nationally Known Experts Oklahoma Public Health Association to Meet April 9-10 in Oklahoma City

The Oklahoma Public Health Association (OPHA) will hold its 70th Anniversary and Annual Conference, "Health Equity for All Oklahomans," Thursday and Friday, April 9-10, at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City. The conference goal is to empower local communities to work toward improving the health of Oklahoma’s citizens at the community, city and state levels. One of the nationally known speakers is Camara Jones, MD, MPH, PhD, an expert from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), discussing "Social Determinants of Health”. Jones is a family physician and epidemiologist for the Division of Adult and Community Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, CDC. Her work focuses on the impact of racism on health and well being of the nation. She was one of the health experts featured in the PBS series, “Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?”

Eduardo Sanchez, MD, MPH, a national expert on preventive health and former Commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, is speaking on "Diversity/Disparities: Two Sides of the Same Coin." He is Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas. He also served as Director of the Institute for Health Policy at the University of Texas School of Public Health. While Commissioner of the Texas State Department of Health Services, he spent time providing medical care for the uninsured and underinsured.

Another speaker is S. Leonard Syme, PhD, Professor of Epidemiology from the University of California, Berkeley, speaking on "The Social Determinants of Health: The Community as an Empowered Partner." His major research interest has been psychosocial risk factors such as job stress, social support and poverty. Now retired, he is principal investigator for The Health Research for Action Center in California. The initiative seeks to empower people and communities using printed materials, television, and community resources development. He also was one of the featured experts in the PBS series, “Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?”

Featured speaker, Julie Russell, RN, MA, Executive Director for Kansas Health Ethic Inc., will be speaking on " The Face of Inequality: A Dramatic Trilogy." She is a nurse dramatist and has spent the last 20 years researching, writing, and performing case dramatizations, emphasizing the needs of vulnerable populations.
Registration is available at the door for $105 for the full two-day conference for a non-member.

"These national experts will offer new approaches to health equity to improve our economic, housing, employment, education and other policies for planning use of limited resources to benefit the most Oklahomans and improve our individual and collective health status in the U.S.,” said OPHA President Sue Mallonee. “Everyone that attends some part of this conference will be able to leave with some valuable information to contribute to improving their community.”

For information about pre conference activities, other conference speakers, and post conference activities, contact Joyce Collard at 405/364-4050. To view the conference program on the web site see: www.opha.net.

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