UAMS College of Public Health to Present Virtual Community Health Impact Conference, September 28-29

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Pebbles Fagan, Ph.D., MPH, co-director of the Center for Research, Health and Social Justice, is among the organizers of the upcoming Community Health Impact Conference. The virtual event will take place on September 28 and 29.

This free virtual event will help organizations across Arkansas collaborate and create ways to improve prevention methods for different cancers and cardiovascular diseases that are overwhelmingly impacting African American and rural residents of the state. Additionally, health-related social justice efforts in Arkansas will receive special attention.

“This will be an interactive working conference,” said Latonya Rucker, the center’s co-director of community outreach and engagement. “Our target audience includes community leaders, researchers, healthcare providers and students. However, anyone can attend the conference. We focus on creating solutions.

Rucker said the conference will also teach organizations how to use joint efforts to solve problems that typically lead to cancer and different heart diseases for too many Arkansans.

“A major goal for us is to show attendees why it’s important to be proactive, work together, and create preventative solutions that can reduce – and eventually – eliminate diseases and conditions that disproportionately affect African-Americans. Americans and people who live in rural areas of the state,” Rucker said.

In addition to team activities, Natalie S. Burke, President and CEO of CommonHealth Action, will deliver the keynote, “Making Health Equity Real in a Time that Feels Surreal: Let’s Get Uncomfortable.” Ronda Henry-Tillman, MD, of UAMS and Al Richmond, executive director of the Community-Campus Partnership for Health, will speak about the dangers of health disparities. The conference will also include presentations by health policy makers, cancer patients and healthcare providers.

Rucker said the organizing committee scheduled the conference over two days to allow every speaker, presentation and project to get ample attention.

“We want to increase researcher-community partnerships to support prevention efforts aimed at cancer and cardiovascular disease, both of which haunt African-American and rural communities at an alarming rate,” she said. “Above all, we want to create an action plan. We will focus on community development for social justice reform by assessing and responding to the needs of our rural communities. It is relevant that we put things in motion.

Preventing cancer and cardiovascular issues for affected communities is a business on deck, Rucker added.

“Our stakeholders, including community members, community organizations and researchers, need to understand that now is the time to come together and get the job done,” Rucker said. “There is ample data to show that preventable measures are needed across the state.

“We are excited to help develop a plan for the changes that are needed.”

To register for the conference visit Organizations can also register by emailing

UAMS is the only health sciences university in the state, with colleges of medicine, nursing, pharmacy, health professions, and public health; a doctoral school; a hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwestern Arkansas Regional Campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute, and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses the entire clinical enterprise of UAMS. UAMS is the only Level 1 adult trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,047 students, 873 medical residents and fellows, and six resident dentists. It is the largest public employer in the state with more than 11,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide patient care at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children’s, VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit Where Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube Where instagram.


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