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New Mexico State University

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Health disparities conference to be held at NMSU

Reducing health disparities in the Southwest will be the focus of a conference hosted by New Mexico State University's College of Health and Social Services Oct. 2-4 at Corbett Center.

Connections/Conexiones: An Interdisciplinary Conference to Address Disparities in Health Status in the American Southwest" is an opportunity to build partnerships among academic institutions, public agencies and practitioners involved in border health issues, said Pearl Hawe, an educational outreach coordinator for the college.

"The conference will provide a forum for those interested and involved in health issues regarding the reduction of chronic diseases, especially cancer and diabetes," Hawe said.

The conference will use Healthy Gente 2010 Objectives, a health-planning tool developed by the National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as a framework for discussion. Healthy Gente 2010 Objectives is a version of Healthy People 2010 tailored for the U.S.-Mexico border region.

A pre-conference workshop will start the three-day event on Thursday, Oct. 2. Highlighting the pre-conference activities from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. is a presentation by Anthony Coelho Jr., a review policy officer for the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Coelho will present "Grant Writing for Success and Scientific Peer Review." He is responsible for developing and implementing regulations, policies, procedures and methods for governing NIH extramural review functions to ensure standard approaches to the peer review of grants, cooperative agreements and research and development contracts. Previously, he was the chief of the Clinical Studies and Training Review Section at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

The conference will kick off at 8 a.m. Friday, Oct. 3, and will run two concurrent sessions, which will include presentations by several experts in the areas of chronic disease prevention, emerging behavioral health issues and culturally competent approaches to enhancing health, Hawe said.

The two-day conference objectives include developing strategies to reduce health disparities among Hispanics and American Indians in the region; establishing relationships to work collectively toward the realization of select Healthy Gente 2010 Objectives, including those related to diabetes and the reduction of breast and cervical cancer mortality among women; sharing culturally appropriate best practices; documenting lessons learned; and maintaining contact.

The conference will be facilitated by Jeffery Brandon, dean of the NMSU College of Health and Social Services.

Conference speakers include Ann G. Pauli, president and chief operating officer of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation, who will speak from 12:15 to 1:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3, on "Behavioral Strategies for Reducing Chronic Disease Risk Factors."

Robert S. Gold, dean of the College of Health and Human Performance at the University of Maryland, will speak from 8:15 to 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 4, on "Behavioral Health Informatics Access and Importance of Surveillance."

David Warner, with the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, will speak from 12:15 to 1:45 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4, on "Health Disparities and Integration of the U.S.-Mexico Health Care System."

Conference sponsors include the National Cancer Institute, the Office of Women's Health, the National Institutes of Health, the Paso del Norte Foundation, the New Mexico Outreach Office and the U.S.-Mexico Border Health Commission.

Registration for the conference is $200 or $75 for students. Some student scholarships are available. For more information about the scholarships, contact Hawe at (505) 646-5061. Pre-conference registration is $50.

A full agenda and registration information is available on the Web at http://www.nmsu.edu/CHSS/connectconf/.