Health Disparities To Be Explored During Annual Healthy Memphis Common Table Meeting

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In Memphis and Shelby County, diabetes, heart disease, breast cancer, and infant mortality disproportionately impact the African-American community. And minorities who are poverty-stricken and have inadequate access to health care are more likely to be affected by health disparities than their white counterparts.

Healthy Memphis Common Table, a nonprofit that helps address various issues evolving around health in the Midsouth, will shed light on these disparities during its fourth annual meeting and recognition luncheon. Themed “Cracking the Code to Real Health Equity,” the event will take place Thursday, May 22nd at the Racquet Club of Memphis (5111 Sanderlin). It begins at 11:30 a.m.

Dr. Marshall Chin, a nationally recognized health care quality and disparities expert, will be the event's keynote speaker. He currently works as the Richard Parrillo family professor of healthcare ethics in the University of Chicago’s Department of Medicine.

Dr. Chin will address the burden of health disparities locally and nationally, some of the socioeconomic causes of these disparities, and what can be done by health professionals and others to bridge the gap in the Memphis area.

Renee Frazier, CEO of the Common Table, said some of the reasons for health disparities among minorities are lack of access to affordable health care, poverty, and poor interaction between health care providers and patients.

“There’s a difference between the outcome of specific minority groups, especially African-Americans, as it relates to their optimum health and their overall health care,” Frazier said. “There’s not only a difference but a disadvantage to their health outcome. I don’t care what area you look at around health, whether it be national data or local data, there’s a higher rate of disparity in the minority community, specifically African-American community and individuals with low socioeconomic levels. Especially in the South, there’s a huge disparity in all levels of health as it relates to very specific minority groups. And poverty is always a factor when you look at areas of disparity."

The Common Table created a formal definition for what is considered a health disparity: a disproportionate burden of disease, disability, and death among a particular population or group when compared to the proportion of the general population.

Since its establishment, the Common Table has been solely dedicated to achieving healthy equity (when everyone — despite race, gender or economic status — gets the same quality health care from their providers) in the Memphis area. And it plans to continue to do that by raising more awareness of the issue and providing potential solutions during its fourth annual meeting.

The Common Table will also present three local health care leaders with its first-ever Health Care Leaders Impact Award during the event. The organization will unveil its new name, and attendees will have the opportunity to assist the Common Table with selecting a new logo.

For more information on the Annual Meeting, visit www.healthymemphis.org or call (901) 684-6011.


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