Adventist HealthCare Center on Health Disparities Conference to Explore Impact of Health Care Reform on Vulnerable Populations - Adventist HealthCare

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Media Contact: Cindy Glass

Published on November 02, 2011

Adventist HealthCare Center on Health Disparities Conference to Explore Impact of Health Care Reform on Vulnerable Populations

U.S. Senator Benjamin Cardin and Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, Maryland Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene, to Speak at Center’s 5th Annual Conference

Rockville, Md. — National and regional health leaders and policymakers will meet Wednesday, Nov. 2, to discuss why health-care reform must continue to move forward in order to make a difference to those vulnerable populations that need it most.

The Adventist HealthCare Center on Health Disparities’ 5th Annual Conference will tackle the question of how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has -- and will continue to -- impact the health of underserved populations with the goal of eliminating health disparities.  U.S. Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin and Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, are the featured keynote speakers for the conference to be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at The Inn and Conference Center, University of Maryland University College in Adelphi, Md.

“Through our 2011 Progress Report, our expert speakers and panel discussions, we will address the impact that health-care reform has had on achieving health equity, especially as evidence continues to show that racial and ethnic minorities in the area are still disproportionately affected by poor health outcomes compared to non-minorities,” said Marcos Pesquera, Executive Director of the Adventist HealthCare Center on Health Disparities. “The Center is honored to have the expertise of Senator Cardin and Dr. Sharfstein at our conference as we examine the reasons why reform is so desperately needed and why it must stay in the forefront for our policymakers.”

The Center’s Progress Report will also provide an update on health disparities affecting communities in the tri-county Maryland region surrounding Washington, D.C., comprised of Frederick, Montgomery, and Prince George’s counties.

“Working together, we must meet the diverse needs of hundreds of thousands of Marylanders who will gain access to coverage through the Affordable Care Act,” said Dr. Sharfstein. “Partnerships established today will help provide us the tools to succeed in this task.”

One of the ways that the ACA aims to improve the quality of care delivery is by increasing the focus on prevention.  At the conference, Mayra Alvarez, MHA, Director, Public Health Policy, Office of Health Reform, will moderate a Prevention and Wellness Panel, with representatives of the Asian American Health Initiative and African American Health Program of the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services. View the full schedule and details by clicking on the conference event box at

Since its start five years ago, Adventist HealthCare’s Center on Health Disparities has worked on research, training, education and health-care services to understand and address the challenges that racial and ethnic minorities face in accessing quality health care and achieving healthy outcomes.

As a result, Adventist HealthCare and the Center have worked closely with a number of hospitals and health clinics, as well as county health departments, to ensure that they have the resources necessary to continue offering services that improve the health of racial and ethnic minorities. Some of these partners include the Maryland Hospital Association, Kaiser Permanente, Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, University of Maryland College Park School of Public Health, the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services and the Primary Care Coalition of Montgomery County.

As a regionally recognized leader and resource for education and training programs to provide patient and family-centered care in a culturally sensitive way, the Center last year alone delivered culturally competent care training for 6,000 health professionals in the greater Washington region.

“Through its partnership with governments, health providers and numerous community entities, the Center on Health Disparities has made great strides in addressing health disparities in Frederick, Montgomery, and Prince George’s counties,” said William G. “Bill” Robertson, President & CEO of Adventist HealthCare. “The Affordable Care Act has created a strong impetus to improve health equity across all populations. We must continue to work together to ensure all our communities have access to health care.”

Pesquera also serves on the health disparities workgroup of the Maryland Health Quality and Cost Council. For more about the Center, go to

Adventist HealthCare, an integrated health-care delivery organization based in Rockville, MD, is one of the largest employers in the State of Maryland.  The mission of Adventist HealthCare is to demonstrate God’s care by improving the health of people and communities through a ministry of physical, mental and spiritual healing.  Adventist HealthCare includes Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, Washington Adventist Hospital, Adventist Behavioral Health, Adventist Rehabilitation Hospital of MD, Hackettstown Regional Medical Center, Adventist Home Care Services and the Reginald S. Lourie Center for Infants and Young Children.