For Immediate Release
March 21, 2008

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

Former Olympian to speak on obesity at Health Disparities Conference

Barbara Jones Slater, the youngest female gold medalist in Olympic track and field history, will discuss the epidemic of obesity in the U.S. at a luncheon address during the Health Disparities Conference April 1, 2008, in Topeka. The conference is sponsored by the Center for Health Disparities at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and recognizes April as National Minority Health Month.

The conference, ‘Healthy Cultures, HealthyKansas: Moving Forward’ will be held in the Maner Conference Center at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Topeka. This is the third conference hosted by the Center for Health Disparities since 2005.

At age 15, Slater was the youngest woman to capture a gold medal as a member of the world-record setting 4 x 100-meter relay team in Helsinki, Finland. She struck gold again at the Pan American Games in 1955 and at the 1960 Rome Olympics.

Today, Slater works as the director of health for the Dekalb ( Ga.) Alternative High School District, and gives lectures on the vital role sports play in building character and self-confidence. Slater serves on the board of the American Heart Association and the King Center. She is a member of the Paralympic Games Committee and the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games Youth Advisory Committee’s Educational Council.

Conference activities include morning and afternoon breakout sessions, poster exhibits focusing on minority health issues, an exhibitor area and a wellness center that will offer several health screenings and chair massages. KDHE Secretary Roderick L. Bremby will provide the opening keynote address.

On March 31, Dr. Jose Reyes, Cultural Competency Consulting, will conduct a pre-conference workshop on cultural competency. This is an optional event for conference attendees.

For registration and conference information, please go to