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Conferences & Progress Reports

2015 Annual Conference: “Before the Bough Breaks: Approaches to Reduce Disparities in Infant Mortality”

In October 2015, healthcare leaders from Maryland and across the nation gathered for the 9th Annual Fall Conference, to discuss the problem of disparities in infant mortality. While infant mortality rates have fallen compared to previous years, wide disparities still exist among specific racial and ethnic groups. In Montgomery County, Blacks have an infant mortality rate that is more than double the rate for the overall population. The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Gail C. Christopher, vice president for policy and senior advisor at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Other presenters included Dr. Jermane Bond, program director at the National Collaborative for Health Equity, and Dr. Michael Lu from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau of the Health and Resource Services Administration.

Past Conference & Report Archive

2014 Annual Conference

“Our Sacred Journey: Advancing Cultural Competence and Patient-Centered Approaches in End-of-Life Care”

In 2014, the Adventist HealthCare Center for Health Equity and Wellness, in collaboration with Adventist HealthCare Mission Integration and Spiritual Care, hosted its eighth annual conference with a focus on end-of-life care. The conference, titled “Our Sacred Journey: Advancing Cultural Competence and Patient-Centered Approaches in End-of-Life Care” was held on Wednesday, November 12th, 2014 at the Hyatt Regency in Bethesda, Maryland. The primary objectives of the conference were to: (1) discuss the need for physicians to address death and dying as part of healthcare delivery, (2) discuss the influence of culture and religion in patients’ beliefs about end-of-life care, and (3) share strategies for physicians and caregivers to use to ensure patient-centered and culturally competent end-of-life care.

Welcome remarks were given by Mr. Ismael Gama and Mr. Marcos Pesquera. The day’s agenda began with an engaging panel on the cultural and spiritual perspectives of death and dying. The panelists included Dr. Kashif Firozvi (Capital Oncology and Hematology), Rabbi Dr. Gary Fink (Montgomery Hospice), and Dr. Anna Maria Izquierdo-Porrera (Care for Your Health, Inc.), with Ms. Weptanomah Carter-Davis (Today’s Minister’s Wife) serving as moderator. Following this panel, the morning keynote address was given by Dr. Allan Hamilton, Professor of Neurosurgery, Radiation Oncology, Psychology, and Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Arizona. Dr. Hamilton’s gripping presentation was titled “Escaping the Gulag: Unlocking the Loneliness of the Dying.” The morning keynote was followed by lunch, during which the Center presented the 2014 Blue Ribbon Award to Dr. Anna Maria Izquierdo-Porrera.

The afternoon session began with three concurrent breakout sessions, each focusing on a different aspect of end-of-life care. Session 1, Community Connections: Resources for Patients and Caregivers, highlighted the importance of medical and legal decision-making at end-of-life. Session 2, Providing Guidance & Counseling at the End of Life, discussed resources for clergy when counseling families and patients at the end-of-life. Session 3, Caring for the Terminally ill Patient, focused on hospice care services. At the conclusion of the breakout sessions, all attendees reconvened for the closing address by Dr. Deborah Ann Witt Sherman, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Florida International University. Dr. Witt Sherman’s presentation was titled “Cultural and Spiritual Competence in Palliative and End of Life Care.” Terry Forde, President & CEO, Adventist HealthCare, offered brief closing remarks.

2013 Annual Conference

“Partnering Toward a Healthier Future: Addressing Disparities in Behavioral Health”

In 2013, the Center hosted its 7th Annual Conference on December 3 with a focus on disparities in behavioral health. In light of recent national and local media attention focused on behavioral health services, the topic and timing of the Center’s annual meeting provided an opportune venue for a public health dialogue. The conference opened with keynote remarks from Dr. David Satcher, Director of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute and 16th U.S. Surgeon General, regarding his personal passion for addressing behavioral health disparities throughout his career. Following Dr. Satcher’s remarks, a panel of spiritual leaders representing four religions shared the stage for a “fireside chat” on the intersection of spirituality and behavioral health. After a brief presentation of basic tenets by each leader, including views of behavioral health, the conversation opened up to the audience for a lively discussion of questions and commentary.

Before lunch, Dr. Larke Huang from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) presented a national perspective on the impact that the Affordable Care Act will have on reducing behavioral health disparities. At the conclusion of the lunch break, the Center presented the 2013 Blue Ribbon Award to Dr. David Satcher for his lifelong commitment to reducing behavioral health disparities.

The afternoon portion of the conference began with a panel of experts representing national, state, and local perspectives on best practices in addressing disparities in behavioral health. To conclude the conference day, Mr. Paolo del Vecchio, SAMHSA’s Director of Mental Health Services, shared his personal and professional insights on improving behavioral health outcomes. Of additional note, the program day featured two local residents sharing their stories of behavioral health and wellness during the morning and afternoon portions of the conference.

2013 Conference Agenda

View Conference Panel Presentations
Welcome Marcos Pesquera, Executive Director, Center for Health Equity and Wellness at Adventist HealthCare
Kevin Young, President, Adventist HealthCare Behavioral Health & Wellness Services
Keynote Address David Satcher, Director of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute and 16th U.S. Surgeon General
Spirituality & Behavioral Health Fireside Chat Alfie Breland-Noble, Georgetown University Medical Center Dept. of Psychiatry; Niru Jani, Jani Physicians, LLC; Imam Mohamed Abdullahi, Muslim Community Clinic; Rabbi Gary Fink, Montgomery Hospice; Shelvan Arunan, Executive Director, Mission Integration & Spiritual Care, Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center; Kevin Young, President, Adventist HealthCare Behavioral Health & Wellness Services
Five Minute Face Time Cindy Harding, SpeakOut Program Participant
Plenary Address: Addressing Disparities in Behavioral Health through Health Care Reform Larke Huang, Director of SAMHSA’s Office of Behavioral Health Equity
Best Practices: Resources and Research in Behavioral Health Jimmy Venza, Director, Therapeutic Nursery Program, The Lourie Center for Children's Social & Emotional Wellness; Raymond Crowel, Chief, Behavioral Health and Crisis Services, Montgomery County; Gayle Jordan-Randolph, Deputy Secretary for Behavioral Health and Disabilities, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; Charlene LeFauve, Deputy Director, Office for Research on Disparities & Global Mental Health, National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH); Mark Covall, President and CEO, National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems
Five Minute Face Time Jackie Pettis, Manager, Wellness & Recovery, Value Options Maryland
Closing Address Paolo del Vecchio, Director of the SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS)
View Conference Panel Presentations

2012 Annual Conference

Starting at the Top, “Achieving Health Equity Through Executive Leadership”

In conjunction with the progress report update, the Center held its 6th Annual Conference on October 8. The event was attended by nearly 200 health care leaders from across the region who met for a strategic discussion on achieving health equity in their communities. The conference, "Starting at the Top: Achieving Health Equity Through Executive Leadership,” featured a CEO roundtable discussion with William G. “Bill” Robertson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Adventist HealthCare; J. Knox Singleton, Chief Executive Officer, Inova Health System; Neil Meltzer, President, Sinai Hospital of Baltimore and Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, LifeBridge Health; and Helen Darling, President and Chief Executive Officer, National Business Group on Health.

Maryland Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown, Co-chair of the Maryland Health Quality and Cost Council and the 2012 Blue Ribbon Award winner, delivered the opening address. Dr. Benjamin Carson, pediatric neurosurgeon and New York Times best-selling author, delivered the keynote address.

An afternoon panel highlighted efforts to promote equity at three local health care organizations: LifeBridge Health, Inova Health System, and Adventist HealthCare, which promote equity, followed by an audience question and answer session. The 6th Annual Conference was supported by Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center, Adventist HealthCare Washington Adventist Hospital and CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield.

2012 Conference Agenda

View Conference Panel Presentations
Welcome Marcos Pesquera, Executive Director, Center on Health Disparities at Adventist HealthCare
Opening Remarks Maryland Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown
CEO Roundtable Discussion William G. “Bill” Robertson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Adventist HealthCare; J. Knox Singleton, Chief Executive Officer, Inova Health System; Neil Meltzer, President, Sinai Hospital of Baltimore and Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, LifeBridge Health; and Helen Darling, President and CEO, National Business Group on Health.
Audience Question and Answer Session
Keynote Address Benjamin Carson, M.D., Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Pediatric Neurosurgeon and New York Times Best-Selling Author
Center on Health Disparities Update: Health Equity Report Marcos Pesquera, Executive Director, Center on Health Disparities at Adventist HealthCare
Panel Discussion: "Where the Rubber Meets the Road: Creating Health Equity at Your Organization" Danielle Marks, LifeBridge Health; Martine Charles, Inova Health System; Eme Martin, Adventist HealthCare; Deidre Washington, Adventist HealthCare
View Conference Panel Presentations

2011 Annual Conference

Achieving Health Equity through Health Care Reform

In conjunction with the progress report update, the Center held its 5th Annual Conference on November 2. Policymakers, legislators and others joined Adventist HealthCare employees to delve into this year’s theme of achieving health equity through health care reform. United States Senator, the Honorable Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) offered opening remarks. A detailed overview of the Affordable Care Act and its state impact was presented by Daniel Dawes, JD, Federal Affairs and Grassroots Manager from Premier, Inc. and Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

An afternoon panel highlighted efforts within Adventist HealthCare around promoting equity. Other panels highlighted local efforts from external community partners including Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services Minority Initiatives. Maryland Delegate Shirley Nathan-Pulliam received the 2011 Blue Ribbon Award for her many years of dedication and advocacy for the promotion of health equity in the state. The 5th Annual Conference was sponsored by Kaiser Permanente, Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, and CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield. Several vendors included We Interpret, Uno Communications, Ad Astra, Montgomery Hospice, Adventist Rehabilitation Hospital of Maryland and the Amputee Center of Maryland, who specifically presented information about amputations among racial and ethnic minorities.

2011 Conference Agenda

View Conference Panel Presentations
Welcome William G. “Bill” Robertson, President & CEO, Adventist HealthCare
Opening Remarks The Honorable Benjamin L. Cardin, United States Senator
Greeting from Montgomery County Uma S. Ahluwalia, Director, Montgomery County Department of Health
Overview of Health Care Reform and State Impact Daniel Dawes, JD, Federal Affairs and Grassroots Manager, Premier, Inc.; Joshua Sharfstein, MD, Secretary, Md. Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Summary of 2011 Center on Health Disparities Progress Report Marcos Pesquera, RPh, MPH, Executive Director, Center on Health Disparities
Improving Access to Care Panel Moderator: Brian Smedley, PhD, Vice President and Director, Health Policy Institute, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
Panelists: Florencia Gonzalez, MPH, Nueva Vida; Sarah Kureshi, MD, Department of Family Medicine, Georgetown University; Donna Folkemer, MA, MCP, The Hilltop Institute, University of Maryland Baltimore County
Prevention and Wellness Panel Moderator: Mayra Alvarez, MHA, Director, Public Health Policy, Office of Health Reform
Panelists: Perry Chan, Asian American Health Initiative; Msache Mwaluko, African American Health Program; Margaret Korto, MBA, MHA, Office of Minority Health
Quality and Cultural Competence Panel Moderator: Gayle Tang, RN, MSN, Senior Director, National Linguistic and Diversity Infrastructure Management, Kaiser Permanente; Panelists: Eme Martin, MPH, Adventist HealthCare; Byron Maldonado, Adventist HealthCare Behavioral Health & Wellness Services; Jeremy Wong, Adventist HealthCare
View Conference Panel Presentations

2010 Annual Conference

The 2010 Center on Health Disparities Progress Report summarizes the evidence on social factors that influence health disparities among racial/ethnic groups in the tri-county area, and local efforts to eliminate them. Factors such as income, education, housing, and neighborhood characteristics have a strong influence on our health and our access to health care. How these social determinants impact our health often varies according to socioeconomic status. Better educational and employment opportunities can heighten the ability of people and communities to access quality health care and services, and to engage in healthier behaviors. Communities with parks and walking trails can encourage exercise and better fitness among residents. On the other hand, poor quality schools and fewer job opportunities can limit healthy lifestyle choices. A neighborhood with many fast food restaurants but no supermarket can promote poor diet and higher body weight.

The engagement of community partners--particularly leaders and professionals across public and private sectors is crucial in addressing the root causes of health disparities and improving the health of communities. The Center on Health Disparities in partnership with the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services hosted its 4th Annual Health Disparities Conference on November 3, 2010, in collaboration with the health departments in Frederick and Prince George’s counties. The conference provided community leaders from different sectors the opportunity to learn about racial/ethnic disparities and how environmental, social, financial, and political factors influence one's health. Conference sessions explored how social and economic factors affect the health of communities and what community leaders can do to address them. Participants had the opportunity to network with colleagues in health and health care and meet professionals in other sectors committed to improving community health as well.

2010 Conference Agenda

Welcome William "Bill" Robertson, President, Adventist HealthCare, Inc.

Uma Ahluwalia, Director, Montgomery County Department of Health & Human Services
Opening Remarks Margaret O’Bryon, President & CEO, Consumer Health Foundation
Keynote Address “Building Stronger Communities for Better Health”
Brian Smedley, PhD, VP & Director, Health Policy Institute, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
Panel Discussion Addressing Social Determinants of Health to Improve Community Health
Diego Uriburu, MS, Co-Founder, The Latino Youth Collaborative and Deputy Executive Director, IDENTITY, Inc.

Jermane Bond, PhD, Research Associate & Director, Commission on Paternal Involvement in Pregnancy Outcomes, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies

Arnab Mukherjea, PhD, MPH, Postdoctoral Scholar, Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, Cardiovascular Research Institute, University of California-San Francisco

Moderator: Deborah Willis-Fillinger, MD, Director, Office of Health Equity, Health Resources & Services Administration
Afternoon Keynote Speaker “The Harlem Children’s Zone: Breaking the Cycle of Poverty.” Betina Jean-Louis, PhD, Director of Evaluation Harlem Children’s Zone
Panel Discussion Collaborative Initiatives and Community Engagement
Donald Shell, MD, MA, Health Officer, Prince George’s County Health Department

Eric Seleznow, State Policy Director, National Skills Coalition

Myron Dean Quon, JD, MBAChief Executive, Quon Consulting

Moderator: Rose Marie Martinez, ScD, Director, Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice, Institute of Medicine

2009 Annual Conference

In 2009, the Center on Health Disparities presented its 3rd Annual Conference, “Partnering Toward a Healthier Future:  Eliminating Disparities through Patient- Centered Quality Care.”  This meeting focused on identifying strategies for implementing cultural competence standards in order to reduce barriers to quality health care for underserved populations in local areas.

During the conference, presentations highlighted strategies for implementing cultural competence standards to reduce barriers to quality health care for underserved populations and explained National Quality Forum (NQF)-endorsed standards for evaluating cultural competency across all healthcare settings.  Additionally, an exchange of ideas and best practices in improving health care quality for dissemination were given by panel speakers and a facilitated networking session assisted conference participants in forming potential partnerships. 

2009 Conference Agenda

Welcome: William "Bill" Robertson, President, Adventist HealthCare, Inc. 

Opening Remarks : Uma Ahluwalia, Director, Montgomery County Department of Health & Human Services 

Keynote Address: Culture, Quality, and Health: Where do They Intersect? 

Denice Cora-Bramble, MD, MBA, Senior Vice President, Children’s National Medical Center Goldberg Center for Community and Pediatric Health; Professor of Pediatrics at George Washington University, School of Medicine and Health Sciences 

Keynote Address : Cultural Competency Standards

Nicole Williams McElveen, MPH, Program Director, National Quality Forum

Panel Discussion: Implementation and Impact of Cultural and Linguistic Competency Standards

Pamela Young, PhD, LCSW, Sinai Hospital of Baltimore/Community Initiatives Life Bridge Health, Inc.

Barbara Teng, Chinese Culture and Community Service Center—AAHI/CCACC
Lisa Cullins, MD,
Adventist HealthCare Behavioral Health & Wellness Services
Peter Levine, MD, MMM, CPE,
Adventist HealthCare Behavioral Health & Wellness Services 

Moderator: Deborah Willis-Fillinger, MD, Director, Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities, Health Resources and Services Administration

Breakout Sessions

 
  • Cancer Care
  • Maternal/Child Health
  • Cardiovascular Care
  • Mental Health
  • Health Care Policy
  • ED Diversion
  • Quality Improvement
  • HIV
  • Dental Care/Diabetes
  • Asthma Care
  • Social Marketing/Media
  • Diversity in Education

2008 Annual Conference

Ensuring health equity is an ongoing challenge. Growing diversity in our communities, language and access barriers, and prevalence of disease conditions among medically underserved populations drive our efforts to eliminate health and health care disparities. The 2nd Annual Conference on health disparities, Partnering Toward a Healthier Future: Leveraging Research and Policy to Eliminate Health Disparities, examined the challenges of health disparities faced by national, state, and local stakeholders. Speakers and panelists discussed how to leverage health disparities research and policy at national, state, and local levels to eliminate disparities. They discussed advancing race/ethnicity and language data collection strategies and facilitating partnerships among health disparities research experts and policy leaders committed to achieving health equity. Conference participants discussed meaningful topics, explored collaborative partnerships, shared real-world experiences, and exchanged ideas on innovative strategies to improve health care quality and eliminate disparities.

2008 Conference Agenda

Welcome: William "Bill" Robertson
President of Adventist HealthCare, Inc.

Progress Report Overview, Spotlight on Qualified Bilingual Staff Program: Marcos Pesquera
Executive Director of AHC Center on Health Disparities Progress Report Overview

Keynote Address: Effective Communication: The Patient Experience, Leadership Motivators, and a Framework for Action
Amy Wilson-Stronks, MPP, CPHQ,
Principal Investigator, Joint Commission; Project Director, Health Disparities, Division of Standards and Survey Methods

Panel Discussion:  RESEARCH

Kalahn Taylor-Clark, Ph.D., MPH, Senior Associate, Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform, The Brookings Institution

Roger Leonard, MD, FACP, FACC, Vice President for Medical Affairs, Montgomery General Hospital; Maryland Health Information Exchange

Maria Rosa Watson, DDS, MS, DrPH, Research Director, The Center for Health Improvement, Primary Care Coalition

Questions & Discussion

Moderator: Olivia Carter-Pokras, Ph.D., Associate Professor, School of Public Health, University of Maryland College Park

Panel Discussion:  POLICY

Donald Shell, MD, MA, Health Officer, Prince George's County Health Department

Betty Lam, Chief, Office of Community Affairs, Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services

Helen Lettlow, MD, Deputy Health Officer, Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services

Carmela Coyle, President & CEO, Maryland Hospital Association

Questions & Discussion

Moderator: Jon Glaudemans, Senior Vice-President, Avalere Health, LLC

2007 Annual Conference

As a community, we face many challenges in addressing health disparities. In November 2007, the Center on Health Disparities hosted its first conference, to disseminate the findings published in the Center’s inaugural report, “Partnering Toward a Healthier Future: Eliminating Health Disparities in Frederick, Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties in Maryland.” The conference convened a group of stakeholders across the three counties to discuss efforts to improve the health status of racial and ethnic minority communities. State and county health officials highlighted the problems they have targeted through health promotion initiatives and their agendas to address them. State legislators, researchers, and community leaders were also present to discuss the efforts and challenges related to eliminating health disparities.

2007 Conference Agenda

Welcome: William "Bill" Robertson
President of Adventist HealthCare, Inc.

Progress Report Overview: Marcos Pesquera
Executive Director of AHC Center on Health Disparities

Maryland's Agenda: Carlessia Hussein, DrPH, RN, Director, Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Shirley Nathan-Pulliam, MAS, RN, Maryland State Legislator, District 10

Frederick County Agenda: Barbara A. Brookmyer, MD, MPH, Health Officer, Frederick County Health Department

Montgomery County Agenda: Ulder Tillman, MD, MPH, Health Officer, Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services  

Prince George’s County Agenda: Donald Shell, MD, MA, Health Officer, Prince George’s County Health Department  

Building Our Future: Robert Gold, PhD, DrPH, FAAHB, Dean, School of Public Health, University of Maryland College Park

Roundtable Discussion Led by Marcos Pesquera, R.Ph., MPH, Executive Director, Center on Health Disparities

Center on Health Disparities

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Cultural Competence

As the diversity of our community continues to change, providing health care that is culturally sensitive goes to the heart of our mission as an organization.