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Conference focuses on reducing health disparities of minorities

April 17, 2008

In its ongoing efforts to reduce health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities, the Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center is gearing up for its sixth annual research conference April 25 in downtown Phoenix. Many of the local and invited national leading experts will gather with community and government agencies to discuss ways that family intervention research can help to improve a variety of health issues affecting many Latinos, American Indians, African-Americans and Asian-Americans.

The free conference runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Arizona Club atop Chase Tower.

“Coming to an event like this increases a person’s awareness about the concept of minority health and health disparities, and how different interventions can help prevent the onset of disease and other negative health outcomes,” says Paul Christensen, manager of the research center, or SIRC.

Flavio Marsiglia, director of the SIRC, emphasized “the important dissemination role the annual conference plays as a forum where the SIRC teams share their emerging research findings with community partners and other investigators.”

The interdisciplinary center is part of the School of Social Work in ASU’s College of Public Programs at the Downtown Phoenix campus. Its investigators represent a variety of other disciplines such as sociology, nursing, psychology, math and statistics, biology, American Indian studies and communications. The SIRC generates culturally grounded research, with an emphasis on health disparities encompassing substance abuse, HIV-AIDS and mental health.

This year’s program features a keynote address by Hilda Pantin, an associate professor of clinical psychiatry at the University of Miami’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. She also serves as director of the Prevention Division for the Center for Family Studies.

The event also will address cultural and other factors that protect some people from experiencing the same negative health outcomes as other members of their communities. These findings serve as the basis for designing interventions to reduce and prevent the onset of certain health risk factors.

This year’s conference features a session highlighting a wide range of graduate student research posters.

“The poster session integrates the research and training goals of SIRC and promotes a meaningful exchange among participants with similar research interests,” says Stephen Kulis, SIRC’s director of research.

SIRC is an exploratory center of excellence funded by the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health.

Corey Schubert,
(602) 496-0406
College of Public Programs