Conference Summary and Objectives
Florida health disparities data show that racial/ethnic minority and underserved communities experience significant health disparities. The People’s Scientific Conference to Promote Health and Eliminate Health Disparities (The People’s Scientific Conference) is a first-of-its-kind conference in which members of these communities and diverse researchers and health care providers come together to learn from and teach each other information that will foster research- and evidence-based interventions to promote health and eliminate health disparities. The conference also will launch a mentoring program to inspire and train the next generation of researchers to conduct research that has implications for promoting health and eliminating health disparities in racial/ethnic minority and underserved communities.
The conference is unique in that it will:
- Empower lay community members most negatively impacted by health disparities in Florida to be teachers and presenters of information that can inform research and interventions to promote health and eliminate health disparities;
- Include a major emphasis on providing participating community members, researchers, and health care providers with answers to their questions;
- Provide a forum for culturally diverse patients to identify health care provider behaviors, attitudes, and types of knowledge that enable patients to feel trusting of, respected by, and comfortable with their health care providers;
- Empower lay community members to learn about and help shape research- and evidence-based interventions that can promote health and eliminate health disparities, and consequently may be motivated to meet the need for their participation in such research; and
- Involve a large number of diverse community members, thus making it truly a people’s conference.
Conference sessions will be diverse in format and will include (a) panel sessions comprised of biomedical and health researchers and health care providers, (b) panel sessions comprised of community members/patients/caregivers and community health workers, (c) formal presentations by health professionals on evidence-based interventions, and (d) research poster presentations by participants in the Health Disparities Research Fellow Mentoring Program. Each panel and presentation session will include time for both presentation and discussion.
The People’s Scientific Conference provides a unique forum for bi-directional communication between health professionals and the lay community regarding evidence-based interventions and strategies for promoting health and eliminating health disparities in Florida. The conference goals are to:
- Increase knowledge among racial/ethnic minorities and rural, socioeconomically disadvantaged, and medically underserved people living in Florida regarding health promotion and health care research and evidence-based interventions;
- Increase researcher and community health worker knowledge regarding culturally sensitive, health-related research and evidence-based interventions focused on racial/ethnic minorities and rural, socioeconomically disadvantaged, and medically underserved people living in Florida;
- Assess the perceptions of patients and their family members (particularly those who are racial/ethnic minorities, socially disadvantaged, and/or medically underserved) and researchers regarding the benefits of learning from and teaching each other information on culturally sensitive health promotion and health disparities research and evidence-based interventions to promote health and eliminate health disparities;
- Develop and implement a Health Disparities Research Fellow Mentoring Program during the conference, for 13 individuals (8 from Florida and 5 from other states) who (a) are interested in becoming health-, health disparity-, or biomedical researchers committed to promoting health in racial/ethnic minority and/or medically underserved communities and/or eliminating health disparities and (b) who meet specific training/ education requirements (doctoral candidates or pre-doctoral interns in a health-related field, advanced medical students, junior investigators within six years of earning an advanced degree, and community health workers involved in the community for at least two years);
- Increase (a) willingness of persons who are members of populations often underrepresented in research to participate in health-related research and (b) researchers’ knowledge regarding such persons’ participation reluctance and barriers (e.g., lack or cost of transportation, mistrust of researchers); and
- Assess the impact of conference participation on the way in which researchers conduct their research.