Health care disparities discussion Friday

NEW HARTFORD — A free, public, webcast of a talk "Health Equity for All: A Cornerstone of Healthy Communities" will be offered at Holiday Inn Utica. 1777 Burrstone Road, from 3 to 5 p.m. Friday.

Registration is required at

Michael Christopher Gibbons, M.D., MPH, assistant professor and associate director of the Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute in Baltimore, MD will discuss what potential strategies communities in central New York can use to help eliminate health disparities at "Health Equity for All: A Cornerstone of Healthy Communities."

According to a study done by researchers at Harvard University’s Initiative for Global Health and its School of Public Health, there is a difference of up to 33 years of life expectancy between various racial and geographic groups in the United States.

Gibbons is a physician informatician, healthcare disparities and urban health expert whose research focuses on the use of technology and consumer health informatics to improve healthcare disparities.

Socioeconomic factors, lifestyle behaviors, educational and economic opportunities and access to preventive care services such as vaccinations and cancer screenings can all contribute to disparities in health, particularly for minorities, the uninsured and underserved and other vulnerable groups.

Provisions in the Affordable Care Act and New York State-led initiatives such as Medicaid Health Homes seek to improve access to care, the quality of care, patient outcomes and reduce disparities in health.

Health informatics can also offer new and different ways of addressing disparities, but barriers still exist in reaching the populations who need the most.

"Whether it’s due to a lack of information, lack of resources, race or ethnicity, large gaps in health status exist between many groups in central New York," Ann F. Monroe, president, Community Health Foundation of Western and Central New York, said. "Our goal with this speaker series event is to provide the community with an opportunity to discuss ideas for how to close the divide between providers and patients, improve access to care and achieve health equity for all."

Following the presentation (from Syracuse), Gibbons will answer questions from participants in three locations.