Tuskegee University's National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care (TUNCBRHC) seeks to forge and sustain a collaborative partnership between State and Local Public Health Departments in Alabama and Georgia, and underserved Black Belt communities in both states. This will be done by establishing regular and substantive communication between the Health Departments and Black Belt civil society, social and faith-based networks, as well as research faculty from Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The proposed conference is intended to be the first of a series of annual conferences, convened under the rubric of Community-based Participatory Research (CBPR), which is a "collaborative approach to research that equitably involves all partners in the research process and recognizes the unique strengths that each brings". By providing a space for information dissemination and informed discourse between equal partners, TUNCBRHC believes these conferences will: * Create a process for collaboratively deciding on priorities for public health intervention for the following year, and a forum for assessing interventions from the prior year. * Identify issues that can be explored at the annual health policy forums TUNCBRHC hosts in conjunction with the Commemoration Celebration. * Publish conference Proceedings for national consumption. African-Americans are subject to health disparities, for example, a higher incidence of cancer and higher cancer mortality rates than the Caucasian population (Darr, 2005). Cardiovascular diseases and stroke, chemical dependency, diabetes, homicide and accidents, HIV/AIDS and infant mortality added to cancer account for more than 80 percent of the excess mortality observed among Blacks and other minority groups when compared to non- Hispanic Whites. Because they have a higher demographic concentration of African-Americans, the effects of these disparities are concentrated in the Black Belt counties. These counties face challenges to the availability, accessibility and acceptability of health industry services. Attempts to resolve these issues must involve the input and ultimately the participation of the communities most affected. This conference is intended to be the first of many to provide a platform for community involvement.
African-Americans are subject to health disparities, and health-care access difficulties, which have disproportionate effects on Black Belt counties compared to other counties nationally. Resolving these issues cannot involve only federal, state and local Health Departments, but must also include civil society organizations, social and faith-based networks and research from HBCUs. This conference is intended to be the first of a series that will serve as the foundation for a partnership between State and Local Health Departments and underserved communities in the Alabama and Georgia Black Belt.