Recent health data for Florida show that ethnic/racial minority and underserved populations experience significant health disparities. Efforts that promote community engagement and empowerment also reduce health disparities. The principles of community engaged research (CEnR) require that researchers and community members learn from each other through bi-directional communication. Building on a two-year collaboration with culturally diverse CEnR researchers across Florida, the 2011 Florida Health Disparities Research (FHDR) Agenda includes a call for such communication and for dissemination of evidence-based interventions that foster individual and community health promotion, and training that will inspire and prepare the next generation of CEnR scientists, particularly those who are minorities. The FHDR Agenda was the impetus for The People's Scientific Conference to Promote Health and Eliminate Health Disparities. The broad, long-term objectives of this conference are to (a) promote culturally and linguistically sensitive biomedical research and CEnR that will lead to significantly improved health and elimination of health disparities in Florida and (b) begin a dialogue that will lead to an increase in the number of racial/ethnic minority researchers engaging in these types of research. The overall aim of this conference is to provide opportunities for bi-directional communication between researchers and the lay community regarding evidence-based interventions/strategies for promoting health and eliminating health disparities in Florida. Specifically, this conference will: 1) Provide opportunities for culturally diverse veteran, new, and future researchers and community health workers to present evidence-based interventions and research that have implications for promoting health and eliminating health disparities;2) Identify (a) the motivators of and barriers to participating in health studies, engaging in health promoting behaviors, adhering to treatment recommendations, and using available health care resources, and (b) provider and researcher behaviors that foster trust and decrease anxiety among minority patients and research participants, respectively;3) Provide opportunities for culturally diverse health researchers, health promoters, health care providers, community health workers, and community members to learn from and teach each other about mental and physical health disparities in Florida and the nation;and 4) Provide resources for 20 pre-/post-docs, junior investigators, and community health workers (15 from Florida and 5 from other states) to participate in a Health Disparities Research Fellow Mentoring Program that will be launched as part of the conference. Outcomes include: a Mentoring Program for students, junior investigators, and community health workers, a conference proceedings that includes a model for promoting health and eliminating health disparities in racial/ethnic minority and underserved communities, and video testimonials of researchers indicating how conference participation impacted the way in which they conduct their research.
The health disparities data for Florida show that racial/ethnic minority and underserved communities experience significant health disparities. The People's Scientific Conference to Promote Health and Eliminate Health Disparities is a first-of-its-kind conference in which members of these communities, and diverse researchers and health care providers come together to learn from and teach each other information that will foster research-informed interventions to promote health and eliminate health disparities. The conference will also launch a mentoring program to inspire and train the next generation of researchers, particularly minority researchers, to conduct research that has implications for promoting health and eliminating health disparities in minority and underserved communities.
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