For Immediate Release
March 31, 2009

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461

April is Minority Health Awareness Month

"Building Partnerships to Wellness" Conference Scheduled for April 7 in Topeka

Governor Kathleen Sebelius has proclaimed April as Minority Health Awareness Month in Kansas. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) Center for Health Disparities will recognize Minority Health Awareness Month by hosting the 4th Annual Health Disparities Conference, to be held on April 7 at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Topeka. The theme of the conference is “Building Partnerships to Wellness.” 

“The Center for Health Disparities Conference is a wonderful way to kick off Minority Health Awareness Month in Kansas,” said KDHE Secretary Roderick L. Bremby.  “The timing of the conference is fitting as we recently released a health status report, ‘Working Together for a Healthier Kansas,’ which outlines strategies for reducing differences in infant mortality, obesity rates, tobacco use, nutrition and access to medical care among racial and ethnic communities in Kansas.  This conference will give us an opportunity to work with health professionals and community representatives from across the state to further the work outlined in the report.”

Conference keynote speakers are Rear Admiral John Babb, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Regional Health Administrator, and Tonya Lewis-Lee, national spokesperson for the “A Healthy Baby Begins With You” campaign. In addition, there will be a pre-conference institute held on April 6 that will focus on social determinants of health.  The Social Determinants Institute will be led by Dr. Adewale Troutman who has a distinguished record of achievement in public health education, leadership, research and advocacy and also appears in the UNNATURAL Causes documentary series.  This pre-conference session will also be held at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Topeka.

Pre-registration is required for both the pre-conference institute and the conference.  The conference agenda and registration form is available by visiting www.healthequityks.org/ and clicking on “Events and News.”  The ‘Working Together for a Healthier Kansas’ health status report is also available at this website.

Minority Health Awareness Month is an effort to eliminate disparities across the country.  Its goals are to build public/private partnerships, foster cultural competency among health care providers, encourage health education and training and expand the use of state-of-the-art technology.  Additional initiatives planned across the state to recognize April as Minority Health Awareness Month include: