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Top U.S. Health Official to Headline Disparities Institute

A lecture series honoring Delegate Donna M. Christensen will kick off next week with its inaugural speaker, Dr. Garth M. Graham, a top ranking U.S. official that will be addressing issues of minority health at the University of the Virgin Islands’ annual Health Disparities Institute.

Put on by the Caribbean Exploratory NIMHD Research Center for Excellence (CERC) under UVI’s School of Nursing, the Health Disparities Institute will be held Oct. 19-20, at Marriott Frenchman’s Reef Resort on St. Thomas. This year’s theme is “Partnerships, Collaborations, and Models to Reduce Health Disparities in the USVI and the Caribbean,” which will look at building relationships between providers in an effort to reduce the disparities gaps within the region.

Christensen will be the keynote speaker. The institute is expected to attract public health scientists, pharmacists, nurses, allied health professionals, physicians, social workers, health policy makers, health educators, researchers, and public and community health leaders with an interest in eliminating health disparities utilizing multidisciplinary approaches.

Graham, as the inaugural Donna M. Christensen lecturer, will be a featured speaker during the institute. Graham is currently the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health in the Office of Minority Health under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). In this capacity, Graham works on developing and coordinating federal health policy that addresses minority concerns and ensures that health programs on all governmental levels try to take care of disadvantaged, racial and ethnic populations, according to a UVI news release.

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Dr. Graham founded the Boston Men’s Cardiovascular Health Project, which looks at why African American men do not properly diet and exercise. He also served on the Public Health Executive Council of the Massachusetts Medical Society and the Board of Directors of Physicians for Human Rights. He is currently a Harvard Medical School faculty member and served as a visiting scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Graham earned a medical degree from the Yale School of Epidemiology and Public Health, with a focus on health policy administration. He is board certified in internal medicine and is a fellow of the American College of Physicians.

“I cannot think of a better person to give the inaugural lecture than Dr. Garth Graham,” Christensen said in a statement. “Dr. Graham has led the DHHS health equity effort at an unprecedented high and effective level. I am proud to call him colleague and friend and even more proud that he would honor UVI and me by agreeing to give this lecture.”

For more information about the Caribbean Exploratory Research Center and the Fourth Health Disparities Institute, visit www.cercinstitute.org or call (404) 559-6191.

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