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Dec. 11, 2000 -- No. 657

Two-day conference, featuring national experts, to address disparities in state’s health services

Beginning at 8 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 12, and Wednesday, Dec. 13

Sheraton Capital Center, 421 S. Salisbury St., Raleigh

The N.C. Institute for Public Health, part of the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services are sponsoring a conference focusing on disparities within the state’s health services.

Nationally known health-care experts – such as Drs. Jack Geiger, State University of New York; Robert W. Jensen, University of Texas; and Don Lollar, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – will speak. Panels of state, local health and community experts will detail problems among certain populations, spotlight successful programs that have reduced health disparity and offer opinions on the state’s next steps at eliminating disparities.

A town meeting, concluding the Dec. 12 program, will feature state health director Dennis McBride, N.C. Sen. Howard Lee and N.C. Rep. Thomas Wright.

Dr. Sherman James, director of the University of Michigan’s Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture and Health and a former professor at the UNC-CH School of Public Health, will deliver the keynote address at 8 a.m. Dec. 13.

Following are facts from a soon-to-be-published report from the State Center for Health Statistics and the Office of Minority Health:

• The infant mortality rate for blacks is generally two times higher than that of whites.

• The rate of death attributable to diabetes is more three times higher among American Indians and 2.7 times higher among blacks than whites.

• The AIDS death rate for blacks is 10 times higher than that of whites.

• Although the incidence rates of most cancers are lower among minority women, these women, particularly black women, are about three times more likely to die of cervical cancer, and 1.5 times more likely to die of breast cancer than white women. Similarly, the prostate cancer death rate for black males is more than three times higher than that of white males.

• Minorities in the state are also are more likely to be uninsured, have limited access to health care and live in poverty.

A complete conference agenda is available at www.sph.unc.edu/oce/courses/greatdivide.htm.

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School of Public Health contact: Bev Holt, (919) 966-6274