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Cornell Center for Health Equity symposium to bridge NYC – Ithaca research

The Cornell Center for Health Equity will hold its second annual symposium April 11-12 at Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine on the Ithaca campus.

The symposium, open to the public, is a cross-campus initiative between researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine and the Ithaca campus. The main goal of the event is for researchers from each institution, along with community professionals, to meet and introduce their work to each other, in hopes of developing cross-campus collaborations and building teams that could apply for extramural grants to support work in health equity.

“This second symposium is designed to pull together the campus communities around shared research interests,” said Avery August, co-director of the Cornell Center for Health Equity. Dr. Monika Safford, chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine and the John J. Kuiper Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine, co-directs the center with August.

The center, which launched in 2018, aims to address health inequities and disparities in underrepresented and underserved communities, including those in urban areas such as New York City and in rural areas in upstate New York. The center partners with communities in New York City and central New York to study ways to alleviate differences in health outcomes, with the goal of creating more equitable communities locally, regionally and nationally.

Wilma Alvarado-Little, director of the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities Prevention at the New York State Department of Health, will deliver the symposium’s keynote lecture. She will outline state initiatives, with the goal of identifying opportunities for Cornellians and others to work with the state on priorities and funding. She will also talk about successes and challenges in health equity programs.

In addition to discussing urban and rural health equity issues, and how the center might address both, she will touch on social determinants of health.

The schedule also includes “academic speed dating” – where participants will spend a few minutes introducing themselves and their work before rotating to the next person – and lightning talks in which researchers will make five-minute presentations on their work or pitch an idea for potential collaborations.

Following the lightning talks, participants will break into small groups to discuss and plan potential collaborations, which may help inform funding for pilot grants intended to lead to larger grant proposals for extramural funding. There also will be three 20-minute lectures on health disparity topics.

“As the land-grant institution of New York state, addressing these issues is something that’s part of [Cornell’s] mission,” August said.

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Lindsey Hadlock