Sherman A. James William T. Small, Jr. Keynote Lecturer
24th Annual Minority Health Conference

Sherman A. James, Ph.D., is the John P. Kirscht Collegiate Professor of Public Health with joint professorships in the Department of Epidemiology and in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education. He currently chairs the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education. Dr. James is also the founding director of the School of Public Health's Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture, and Health (CRECH).

He received his Ph.D. in social psychology from Washington University in St Louis, Missouri, in 1973. Dr. James served on the epidemiology faculty at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill for 16 years before joining the University of Michigan School of Public Health's Department of Epidemiology in 1989, with a secondary appointment as a research scientist in the Survey Research Center at the U-M Institute for Social Research. From 1993-1997, he was the School of Public Health's Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

Dr. James is a member of the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine. His national service includes four NIH study sections, three NIH data and safety monitoring committees, and the NIEHS Advisory Council. He is a Fellow of the American Heart Association, the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research, the Society of Behavioral Medicine, the American Epidemiological Society, and the American College of Epidemiology. Dr. James has served on the editorial boards of the Annual Review of Public Health, American Journal of Public Health, Medical Care, Health Psychology, Work and Stress, and Ethnicity and Disease.

A social epidemiologist, Dr. James has devoted much of his career to studying racial and ethnic health disparities, with emphasis on the interplay among socioeconomic, psychological, and behavioral risk factors. He originated the concept of "John Henryism," which posits that prolonged, high-effort coping with systemic social and economic distress contributes to the high rates of cardiovascular disease (CVD), especially hypertension, seen in poor and working-class African-Americans. Dr. James is the principal investigator for the University of Michigan's School of Public Health component of the REACH Detroit Project, a four-year (2000-04), community intervention aimed at eliminating health disparities due to diabetes and CVD in Detroit's African-American and Latino communities. Determinants of the health of US racial and ethnic minorities, including recent immigrant populations, is a major focus of his yearly seminar in Social Epidemiology.

More information about Dr. James and a list of his recent publications may be found at

Dr. James will lecture on Social Determinants of Health: Implications for Intervening on Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities. With a focus on the city of Detroit, his presentation will discuss (1) how macro-level social and economic forces have created racial disparities in living conditions and life chances in most US urban communities; (2) the promise and limitations of community-based health promotion programs that actively involve community residents; and (3) the role that quality, primary health care can play in reducing racial and ethnic disparities in health.

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