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For Immediate Release
January 4, 2007

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

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KDHE and Urban League To Host MLK Health Disparities Breakfast

On Monday, January 15, in honor of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) Center for Health Disparities and the Urban League of the MidPlains will host the second annual MLK Health Disparities Breakfast. This year’s keynote speaker is Professor Vernellia R. Randall, from the University of Dayton and author of “Dying While Black.” The event will take place at the Wichita Hyatt Regency Grand Eagle Ballroom beginning at 7:30 a.m. To attend, you must RSVP no later than January 11 to Julie Taborsky at 316-262-2463 or .

Randall, a professor of law since 1990, writes extensively on and speaks internationally about race, women, and healthcare. She is the recipient of the Ohio Commission on Minority Health Chairman’s Award, and she was named one of the “Top 10 Most Influential African-Americans” on the 2001 Black Equal Opportunity Employment Journal list.

“The health status of racial and ethnic populations in Kansas is at a critical point. African Americans, Hispanics, Latinos, Native Americans, Asians, and Pacific Islanders are more likely than whites to have poor health and die prematurely from chronic disease, communicable disease, and injuries,” said Roderick L. Bremby, Secretary of KDHE. “We are pleased to once again partner with the Urban League to identify the issues, beliefs, attitudes and practices within racial and ethnic communities, work to improve services and promote healthy lifestyles, and close the healthcare gap.”

Involved in public health work for more than 15 years, Randall has focused on eliminating inequalities in healthcare for minorities and the poor. Her most recent publication, “Dying While Black” looks at institutional racism in healthcare and how it contributes to the preventable deaths of blacks.

“The Urban League is committed to building healthy and safe communities to eliminate health disparities through prevention and education,” said Brian A. Black, president and CEO of the Urban League. “We thank Secretary Bremby for once again bringing this issue to the forefront in Kansas.”

The mission of the KDHE Center for Health Disparities is to promote and improve the health status of racial, ethnic and tribal populations in Kansas by advocating for and coordinating access to primary and preventive health services that are effective, efficient and culturally and linguistically competent. The mission of the Urban League is to empower those who are striving toward the mainstream to secure economic self-reliance.