The University of Maryland, in collaboration with Congressman John Sarbanes and the Big Ten Academic Alliance, invites you to Research on the Hill, an event series focused on raising awareness of research with great societal significance. This year’s topic is Health Equity. The question: how do we achieve health equity, defined as the attainment of the highest level of health for all people, when large population segments suffer from premature illness and death?
A health disparity is a particular type of health difference that is closely linked with social, economic, and/or environmental disadvantage. There is a growing body of scientific evidence demonstrating disparities in access to quality medical care and disparities in health status directly related to the neighborhood environment, housing, access to full-service grocery stores, and freedom from exposure to environmental toxins. Evidence of health disparities would be easy to ignore were they not so well documented among racial and ethnic minority populations, people living in urban and rural communities characterized by poverty and high unemployment.
In Maryland, infants born to black women are still twice as likely to die in the first year of life compared to infants born to white women. Additionally, Asian women over the age of 40 are 48 percent more likely than white women to never have had a mammogram. The disparity is even greater among Hispanic women over the age of 40, who are 67 percent more likely to never have had a mammogram. Reducing, and ultimately eliminating health disparities, will require collaboration across business, academic, philanthropic sectors working closely with local communities. Additionally, it is essential to understand how federal, state, and local public policies can help remove barriers and accelerate progress toward health equity for all.
The Research on the Hill event will consist of a panel discussion of health promotion and disease prevention among vulnerable populations, innovative community-based health interventions, and how public-private partnerships are paving the way for greater health equity in the United States. The panel will be moderated by Dr. Stephen B. Thomas, Director at the University of Maryland’s Maryland Center for Health Equity, and will feature guest experts from the Nationals Institutes of Health, Cigna Corporation, Academy Health, and the University of Minnesota.
Boxed lunches will be available on a first come, first served basis.