Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Symposium on Health Care Offers Solutions for Black Community

WASHINGTON ­– In an effort to address the health care issues in the Black community, scholars, experts and activists gathered at Howard University’s Armour J. Blackburn University Center on Tuesday, April 10, for the Initiative on Democracy, Markets, Communications and Technology 2012 Symposium on U.S. Healthcare.

The daylong symposium was led by Howard’s School of Communications and featured a host of key decision makers and specialists who discussed possible solutions to health issues that directly affect the African-American community.

Chukwuka Onwumechili, Ph.D., interim dean at the School of Communications, opened the symposium by explaining the importance of Black leaders meeting to discuss the status of health care amongst the Black community.

“We are proud to host this symposium in the hopes that we can all come to an understanding or even a solution to the injustices in health care amongst us,” Onwumechili said.

Throughout the day a number of panelists shared research findings and tackled challenges facing health care in the U.S. and the disparities that African-Americans face. To address this problem, the symposium highlighted three areas: communication, technology, and the environment.

Kerry-Ann Hamilton, Ph.D., researcher of mobile technology and its efficacy in health intervention, presented research that she conducted about the integration of cell phones being used to meet health needs in underserved communities.

“Many HIV-positive clients have social challenges that interfere with their ability to take medications as prescribed or to attend scheduled clinic appointments,” she explained.

“Researchers have found mobile phones and text messages, in particular, are effective channels to target at-risk populations to receive medication adherence reminders.”

Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings

Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings
Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings presented the keynote address after the symposium luncheon and discussed medical and policy issues surrounding U.S. health care. During his speech, Cummings described the importance of the Affordable Care Act for the Black community.

“The Affordable Care Act ensures that people are not denied health insurance and are not charged at a higher rate by extending civil rights laws to eliminate discrimination,” he said.

Cummings went on to explain that in Congress, efforts are being made to eliminate the Affordable Care Act and that “we as pivotal members of the Black community must find ways to avoid such elimination.”

About Howard +sookie tex

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. Since 1998, the University has produced two Rhodes Scholars, two Truman Scholars, a Marshall Scholar, 24 Fulbright Scholars and 11 Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, call 202-238-2330, or visit the University's Web site at www.howard.edu.

By Kelsey Evers University News www.howard.edu/newsroom/

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