Apr 10, 2007    #057
Contact: Noemi Rojas, UMKC public relations
(816) 235-1520

UMKC to participate in conference on health disparities

How do refugees and immigrants in the U.S. get health care? Are doctors and nurses adequately trained to effectively communicate with a diverse patient pool? Are jails and homeless shelters pseudo mental health care facilities?

Tackling these issues will include experts from the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) at the second annual health equity conference from 1 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 17, and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, at the Kauffman Foundation Conference Center, 4801 Rockhill Road, Kansas City, Mo. The conference is titled, “Achieving Health Equity: Ensuring Access to Care.” The focus is on uninsured and underinsured issues facing racial and ethnic populations.

Betty Drees, M.D., dean of the UMKC School of Medicine, and Lora Lacey-Haun, R.N., Ph.D., dean of the UMKC School of Nursing, will be part of a special panel from 1 to 2:30 p.m. April 18 to discuss health care access issues specific to the metro area. Nick Haines, an executive producer of public affairs and news at KCPT-19, will moderate.

Brook Nelson, UMKC School of Medicine graduating senior, will be on a panel from 10:30 a.m. to noon April 18 to discuss Jails, Courts and Homeless Shelters — Unofficial Mental Health Providers. Nelson is founder of the Sojourners Free Health Clinic, which is run by UMKC med students for the care of Kansas City’s homeless population.

Maithe Enriquez, R.N., Ph.D., a UMKC School of Nursing assistant professor, will address health care access for refugees and immigrants during a panel from 3 to 4 p.m. April 17. She will also participate on a panel April 18 about diversity and cultural competency of health care professionals from 10:30 a.m. to noon.

Other panel discussions will include legislative initiatives addressing health-care access; school-based initiatives; obesity and nutrition; family violence; prenatal and perinatal care; tobacco prevention; chronic disease management of diabetes, and more.

The University of Missouri Center for Health Policy, in conjunction with academic and state agencies from Missouri and Kansas, are hosting the conference.

Invited keynote speakers include Gloria WilderBrathwaite, M.D., M.P.H., CEO, Core Health; Carmen Tafolla, M.A., Ph.D., consultant and internationally acclaimed writer and educator; and Samuel Betances, Ph.D., Senior Diversity consultant with Souder, Betances and Associates, Inc. Regional keynotes include Roderick Bremby, the Kansas Secretary of Health and Environment, and John Bluford, president and CEO of Truman Medical Centers.

Funding is provided by the Missouri Foundation for Health, the REACH Healthcare Foundation, the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City, Primaris, the Health Alliance of Mid-America, the Missouri Primary Care Association, the Jackson County Community Mental Health Fund, Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences and the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of Public Health Service and Office of Minority Health.

More information about the conference is available at

UMKC, one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a three-part mission: visual and performing arts, health and life sciences, and urban affairs.


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