Marginalized and minority communities on Long Island and elsewhere experience disparities in access to health services and information. Doctoral Program in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences in the School of Health Technology and Management is proposing to partner with Public Health, School of Nursing the other health sciences schools in Stony Brook University in our 3rd semi-annual multidisciplinary Converging Sciences Summit in April 2015 to apply the expertise of faculty and students at Stony Brook and beyond for the purpose of bridging the gaps in health services and resource disparities that have persisted in underserved marginalized and minority communities. The focus of the 2015 Converging Sciences Summit will be on the theme of "Community Engagement and Leadership Development." The goals are to: (1) Encourage growth of community engaged research to eliminate health disparities; (2) Mentor to support emerging leaders both in university and community settings who represent and work with minority and marginalized groups; (3) Provide opportunities for continuing dialogue, professional growth and networking. Community Engagement in the academic health sciences context is defined as practices in service learning, leadership development and research where public health workers, community activists, and university stakeholders work together for positive change on individual and systemic levels. In the realms of health there are numerous opportunities for community engagement: when framing relevant basic science questions, designing interventions for education, prevention, and risk reduction and working for health systems change at all levels to increase access to health services and information. Interdisciplinary methodologies in the social and health sciences exist to develop relationships of mutual trust and respect conducive to community-based participatory process. This conference would be an opportunity to highlight community and university leaders in this area of practice. We are particularly interested in partnerships that critically explore an reflect on the basic notions of "community" and "health disparity." What are "marginalized communities" and what are the intersections that both divide and connect us in racial, ethnic, gender, sexuality, disability, social status and regional diversities and commonalities? In what innovative ways are these complexities addressed by individuals and groups?
The 2015 Converging Sciences Summit: Community Engagement and Leadership Development at Stony Brook University will offer a needed opportunity for workforce development in the area of public health for marginalized and minority communities. To encourage Public health workers to attend the meeting, they will be offered waiver of registration and continuing education credit. From this summit we expect to see (1) increased community engaged research across Long Island, (2) increased number of new university and community leaders who represent and work with minority and marginalized groups, (3) increased dialogue, knowledge and innovation to address health disparities in minority and marginalized communities.