Conference Schedule

Please note that this schedule is subject to change up until the day of the conference.

8:00 am

Registration/Continental Breakfast

9:00 am


Introductions and Welcome

Kristin Black
Doctoral Student, Maternal and Child Health

Christian Douglas
Doctoral Student, Biostatics

Thomas Ross, JD
University of North Carolina-system President

Taffye Clayton, EdD
Vice Provost for Diversity & Multicultural Affairs
Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Barbara K. Rimer, DrPH
Dean and Alumni Distinguished Professor
Gillings School of Global Health
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Moderators: Turquoise Griffith and Kea Turner
Masters Candidates, Health Behavior and Health Education

9:30 am

14th Annual William T. Small, Jr. Keynote Lecture

Ana V. Diez-Roux, MD, PhD
Professor, Epidemiology
Director, Center for Integrative Approaches to Health Disparities
Director, Center for Social Epidemiology and Population Health
University of Michigan School of Public Health

Moderator: Whitney Robinson, PhD
Assistant Professor, Epidemiology
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

10:45 am

Exhibits and Poster Session

11:00 am

Morning Concurrent Sessions



Session A1: Aging and Religion: The Health Effects of Religious Involvement

A large body of research indicates that religious involvement is associated with positive health outcomes, including lower risk of mental illness, physical illness, and disability, as well as longer survival. This presentation reviews the evidence demonstrating the relationships among religion/spirituality, aging, and health. Among the topics reviewed are (a) the difficulty in separating religious participation from spirituality, (b) the fact that existing research is based on studies of religion rather than spirituality, and (c) differences in the effects of different dimensions of religious participation (e.g., attending services, private prayer), Although the relationships between religion/spirituality and health are positive for the general population, they are stronger among older than younger adults and among African Americans than whites. Possible mechanisms that explain the “why” and “how” of religion/spirituality’s health benefits also are reviewed. Whether this body of research has implications for medical care, public health, and other human services initiatives is considered. The consistency of research findings suggests that the relationships among religion, aging, and health are strong and valid, suggesting that the time is ripe to apply those findings to policy and practice. Nonetheless, limitations in this research suggest that caution be used before implementing religious or spiritual interventions.

Presenter: Linda George, PhD
Associate Director, Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health
Professor of Sociology, Duke University
Associate Director, Center for the Studying of Aging and Human Development

Moderator: Tandrea Hilliard
Masters Student, Health Behavior and Health Education



Session A2: The Impact of Institutional Discrimination on Mental Health of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Populations

It is well documented that lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) populations are at increased risk for psychiatric morbidity, compared to heterosexual populations.  The most frequently hypothesized risk factor for these mental health disparities is stigma.  Most research has focused on stigma at the individual level, including perceptions of stigmatized individuals and the consequences of such perceptions for micro-level interactions. More recently, researchers have introduced the idea of structural stigma, which refers to societal-level conditions that constrain stigmatized individuals’ opportunities, resources, and wellbeing, which in turn may compromise their mental health. In the current talk, I will present data from five recent studies examining the deleterious effect of structural stigma on the mental health of LGB populations, with a particular focus on social policies (e.g., constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage, anti-bullying policies).  I will discuss the implications of this research for the development of social policy initiatives and evidence-based public health interventions that may reduce mental health disparities among LGB populations.

Presenter: Mark L. Hatzenbuehler, PhD
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholar
Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

Moderator: Justin Smith
Doctoral Student, Health Behavior and Health Education


Section A3: Medicaid, Civil Rights, and Federal Court Access: Discrimination in the Health Care System

Throughout U.S history, court access has enabled low-income and minority populations to enforce their rights to health care when states have not provided those benefits in accordance with federal law. As a result of the recession, states are facing serious budget cuts, which has greatly threatened coverage of Medicaid services. Jane Perkins, Director of the National Health Program, will discuss her advocacy efforts to reduce discrimination in the delivery of health care and protect the due process rights of Medicaid beneficiaries.

Presenter: Jane Perkins, JD
Legal Director, National Health Law Program

 Moderator: Akilah Ffriend
Bachelors Student, College of Arts and Sciences


Session A4: Overcoming Disparities in Healthy Food Access: School and Community Food Systems

Farmers Markets and CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) programs are often seen as serving only a higher end consumer population. However, there are many ways in which the local food system can both improve access to affordable healthy food and provide new markets to support small to mid-sized farms formerly dependent on tobacco for revenue. New technology and policies are making it increasingly possible to use SNAP (formerly Food Stamps) and WIC benefits to purchase locally grown food. Innovative approaches to the school lunch program in combination with new federal guidelines mandating healthier food in schools will create an environment that reaches all children with healthier, more appealing food. The presentation will discuss translational research efforts in North Carolina which leverage local food systems to address health disparities through school lunch programs and community food systems change.

Presenter: Alice Ammerman, DrPH
Director of Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Nutrition
Professor, Department of Nutrition 

Moderator: Frances Nguyen
Masters Student, Health Behavior and Health Education


Session A5: Using Art Based Therapy to address Immigrant and Refugee Health

The Art Therapy Institute is a non-profit in North Carolina made up of master’s level art therapists trained in culturally sensitive treatment using art therapy with children, adults, adolescents and families. The Institute began the Burma Art Therapy Project in January 2009 serving elementary and middle school student refugees from Burma living in Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Raleigh, North Carolina. The project started with a semester long art therapy group in the Newcomer Center, a self-contained ESL classroom with the most newly arrived students from refugee camps. The Institute currently serves elementary, middle and high school student refugees from Burma in ten different schools and community settings. We also serve adults at the community health clinic who have been referred by their physicians. The US provides refuge to nearly 2000 people from Burma annually; a significant portion of this population resettles to the Triangle area. In December 2008 we began our training with a community needs assessment of newly emigrated families from Burma, conducted by UNC Chapel Hill's School of Public Health. The needs assessment emphasized the need for accessible, non-threatening mental health services. Art therapy has proven an important and effective modality for this population, circumventing the language barrier and safely addressing post-traumatic stress symptoms. Many of our clients have spent their whole lives in refugee camps and most have had very little formal schooling. Art is the shared language that helps these refugees to communicate, build social skills, and address issues of acculturation. The images that have surfaced in the Burma Art Therapy project are a combination of cultures, resilience, and symbols of war and peace. 

Presenter: Ilene Sperling
Clinical Director
Art Therapy Institute

Presenter:Hillary Rubesin
Community Relations Manager
Art Therapy Institute

Presenter:Courtney Powers
Digital Media Arts Instructor
Piedmont Community College

The focus of this presentation will be 1) to discuss the use of participatory action research with Mexican farmworkers and 2) to discuss the use of music therapy as a viable intervention for farmworker mental health needs. The presentation will include information regarding the farmworkers' own expertise in coping with anxiety and depression, their impressions of the music therapy interventions, and their advice and input into farmworker mental health research and practice.

Presenter: Melody Schwantes, PhD
Director, Scholars with Diverse Abilities Program
Adjunct Professor in Music Therapy, Hayes School of Music
Appalachian State University

Moderator: Betty Rupp
Masters Student, Health Behavior and Health Education

12:00 pm

Exhibits and Poster Session 

12:30 pm


1:30 pm


Victor Schoenbach Health Disparities Keynote Lecture

Nina Wallerstein, DrPH
Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine
Director, Center for Participatory Research
University of New Mexico

Moderator: Chelsea Kolander
Masters Student, Health Behavior and Health Education

2:45 pm

Exhibits and Poster Session

3:15 pm


Afternoon Concurrent Panel Sessions

Session B1: Communicating Inequities: The Path to Equity in Health Communication

Inadequate literacy skills are common- over 93 million US adults do not have the basic skills necessary to function well in the US health care system- and associated with a range of adverse health outcomes. Inadequate literacy skills are more common among African-Americans and Latinos, often due to inadequate educational opportunities, and are one cause of racial disparities in health. We have developed programs of organized care that have effectively mitigated literacy-related health disparities for diabetes and heart failure. Such programs incorporate multi-disciplinary, team-based care, use of evidence-based, patient-centered care algorithms, frequent contact to reinforce key self-care skills, and ongoing measurement and evaluation with a continuous quality improvement framework. In this presentation, we will discuss the development of such programs, their evaluation, and our attempts to integrate such programs into routine care at UNC. We will also discuss ongoing challenges in refining and spreading such programs locally and nationally.

Presenter: Michael P. Pignone, MD
Associate Professor, Medicine
Chief, Division of General Internal Medicine
Director, UNC Center for Excellence in Chronic Illness Care
Director of Medical Practice and Prevention Research, Sheps Center for Health Services Research
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 

Influence health via fiction: Using fictional American Indian women to influence the lives of real women. A brief discussion about influencing lives using the experiences of fictional American Indian women. Health messages may be printed, spoken, emailed, sent via text, announced amidst fanfare, or delivered by health professionals per best practice guidelines. Interestingly, there is also much discussion about health among friends and family. The author of The Pink Begonia Sister’s Caribbean Retreat will discuss her use of fictional American Indian women who seem like friends and family to promote breast cancer awareness, care giving, and survivorship.

Presenter: Lisa Huggins Oxendine, DrPH
Clinical Director, Children’s Health of Carolina 

In 2004, The ECHO Program within the Gillings School of Global Public Health created the UNC Centers for Community Research in partnership with the NC Area Health Education Center (Greensboro and Area L AHEC). Staffed by Community Outreach Specialists, the goal of the Centers was to foster mutually beneficial community-academic research partnerships between community organizations and academic faculty to address racial/ethnic health disparities. The proposed presentation will focus on strategies and approaches used by the (former) Greensboro AHEC Community Outreach Specialist to communicate health and health disparities education to the lay community as a part of the Center’s community outreach efforts. Specific community-based projects facilitated through the Center which integrated aspects of health communication will be highlighted as well.

Presenter: Brandolyn White, MPH
Community Outreach Specialist
UNC Program on Ethnicity, Culture, and Health Outcomes
Greensboro Area Health Education Center

Moderator: Autumn Locklear
Masters Candidate, Health Policy and Management




Session B2: Global Environmental Health
Pesticides and Health: What developed countries can tell us about developing countries?

Pesticides are used throughout the world in number of agricultural settings. Similar chemicals are used in both developing and developed countries, although exposure controls are generally greater in developed countries. Some commonly used pesticides in developing countries and the US have been linked to both acute and chronic health effects in humans. Examples of these chemicals include: the herbicide, paraquat and the organophosphate insecticide, chlorpyrifos. Studies in developed countries, where long-term follow-up is easier, can help inform decision-making about pesticides around the world. The purpose of this talk is to highlight patterns of pesticide use around the world and discuss recent findings about health effects of pesticides.

Presenter: Jane Hoppin, ScD
Environmental Epidemiologist
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Presenter: Ryan Rowe, MBA
Masters Candidate, Health Behavior and Health Education 

Presenter: Mark D. Sobsey, PhD
Kenan Distinguished Professor
Environmental Sciences & Engineering

Moderator: Patsy Polston
Doctoral Student, Environmental Sciences and Engineering



Session B3: Translating Research into Policy: Closing the Achievement Gap

The East Durham Children’s Initiative (EDCI): Born in Harlem, Made for Durham

Throughout the United States, organizations are trying to replicate the success of the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ) in their own schools and communities. The East Durham Children’s Initiative (EDCI), modeled after HCZ, works with children and families in a 120-block area of East Durham called the “EDCI zone.” Founded in 2008, EDCI’s vision is to have all children and youth in the EDCI zone successfully graduate from high school, ready for college and/or a career. To fulfill this vision, EDCI provides a pathway or “pipeline” of high-quality services that starts with children at birth and continues with them through high school. Unlike HCZ, which owns most of its programs, EDCI uses a managed resource model that focuses on partnerships with local non-profits, schools and government agencies to build its pipeline of services. After its first year of implementation, EDCI’s pipeline includes approximately 40 programs and services provided by over 20 organizations. Services range from nurse home visiting programs for mothers with newborns, to 1:1 support for parents of YE Smith Elementary School students, to graduation coaches for middle school students. This talk will discuss a local organization’s journey to achieving great outcomes for low-income children in a 120-block neighborhood of Durham, NC.

Presenter: David Reese
Director East Durham Children’s Initiative

Presenter: Mary Mathew
Program Manager
East Durham Children’s Initiative

Harlem’s Children Zone, Inc

Harlem Children’s Zone, Inc (HCZ) is a multi-site, multi-program community-based organization that provides a unique and comprehensive interlocking network of education, social and health services, and recreation to more than 21,000 children and adults in Central Harlem.  The organization is best known for the Harlem Children’s Zone Project, a highly-successful place-based initiative that was created under the leadership of Geoffrey Canada and serves as a model for the Promise Neighborhoods initiative, President Barack Obama’s innovative approach to addressing poverty at scale.  HCZ is nationally and internationally recognized for its early and progressive intervention programs, and has been called “one of the most ambitious social-policy experiments of our time” by The New York Times. HCZ’s birth through college graduation pipeline of programs includes parent education and involvement, early childhood education, charter schools and support to traditional public schools, youth development, community building, and health (asthma and obesity initiatives as well as a comprehensive school-based health center).  Dr. Betina Jean-Louis, HCZ’s Director of Evaluation, will describe the programs of Harlem Children’s Zone, the organization’s orientation to evaluation and outcomes, and the day-to-day application of the agency’s Whatever It Takes approach to saving a community of poor children.

Presenter: Betina Jean-Louis, PhD
Director of Evaluation
Harlem’s Children Zone 

Moderator: Stephanie Baker
Doctoral Student, Health Behavior and Health Education

4:45 pm

Conference Adjourns