|Guest speaker Dr. Nancy Adler (c), of the University of California, San Francisco, is shown with NICHD deputy director Dr. Yvonne Maddox (l) and Dr. Regina Smith James, director, Extramural Associates Program.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of President Clinton’s launch of a health disparities initiative that addressed “racial and ethnic disparities in infant mortality,
diabetes, cancer screening and management, heart disease, AIDS and immunizations.” In 2000, the Minority Health and Health Disparities Research and Education Act, which established the National Center for Health and Health Disparities at NIH, sparked enhanced efforts to eliminate health disparities.
The center provided oversight for the development of a framework for addressing health disparities across NIH. As part of the NIH-wide strategic plan to reduce and ultimately eliminate health disparities, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development developed its plan, “Health Disparities Bridging the Gap.” It outlines research, training, infrastructure
and outreach initiatives that address disparities in health.
To mark the anniversary of the launch of the initiative, NICHD’s Division of Special Populations hosted its first “Health Disparities Seminar Series.” The event took place on July 15. Dr. Nancy Adler, professor of medical psychology, University of California, San Francisco, presented “Health Disparities Across the Lifespan: Meanings, Methods and Mechanisms.”
Adler’s research focuses on the impact of socioeconomic status (SES) on health. Her work examines how social, psychological and biological factors associated with SES act together to determine the onset and progression of disease. The seminar set the stage for discussion about research that addresses disparities in health on all stages of human development, from preconception to adulthood, which can provide a better understanding of how to address and improve the health of children, adults, families and communities.