Symposium to Feature Health Care Disparities Research on October 7

By Patricia Yollin

UCSF will showcase the latest research in health disparities as part of its fifth annual symposium on Friday, Oct. 7. Organized by co-chairs Eliseo Perez-StableVictor Y. Fujimoto and Barbara Gerbert, the event will be one of many on campus marking the celebration of diversity.

Barbara Gerbert, PhD

Barbara Gerbert, PhD

The symposium is a way to highlight faculty research on health disparities, a field in which UCSF has many researchers with national and international reputations, said Gerbert, PhD, a professor in the division of behavioral sciences, professionalism and ethics in the UCSF School of Dentistry.

In this context, the term “health disparities” means the gaps in the quality of health and health care across racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups, including differences in the presence of disease, health outcomes and quality of health care — as well as access to it — in the United States.

The symposium is open to the campus community and the public. It will take place from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on sub-level one of the Laurel Heights campus at 3333 California St. A continental breakfast, box lunch and drinks will be provided.

Spero Manson, PhD

Spero Manson, PhD

Nine oral abstracts will be presented from 8:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m, followed by an hourlong viewing of about 30 posters. From noon to 1 p.m., Spero Manson will deliver the keynote address. He is a professor at the University of Colorado, an elected member of the Institute of Medicine, National Academies of Science, and the country’s leading investigator on American Indian health.

“We’re trying to build a communities of researchers,” Gerbert said. “The emphasis is on looking at the richness of people at UCSF.”

Gerbert has been involved with disparities research since 1980.

“I enjoy the fact that health disparities research is a place to make a difference and I appreciate the passion of all the people who are working in this area,” she said. “The symposium is a way to learn what my colleagues in this area are doing and what they’re excited about. Sometimes our faculty are better known nationally than at home. And the other part that is exciting for me is learning about the work and the vision of the next generation. Some of the presenters will be junior faculty and students. So we look forward to seeing what’s coming around the bend and what we have to look forward to.”

UCSF first presented the health disparities research symposium on campus in 2007. That year, the University released the UCSF Strategic Plan, which addressed the issue and made it a priority: “The University, committed to the mission of advancing health worldwide, must be a force to eliminate the pervasive disparities in health and health care in the local and national environment that are based on race or ethnicity, socioeconomic status and other social vulnerabilities.”

In recent years, the topic of addressing health disparities has become much bigger in research and practice, both nationally and at UCSF.

Symposium co-chairs are expecting a full house of about 300 and ask that people RSVP via email. For more information, please contact symposium organizers Eliseo Perez-Stable, Victor Y. Fujimoto or Gerbert.