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December 2015

Dean’s Lecture Series: Paula Braveman

December 7 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Utopia Theatre, School of Social Work,
1925 San Jacinto Blvd.
Austin,TXUnited States

The 2015-2016 Dean’s Lecture Series Contemporary Issues in Research and Practice and the Health Behavior Research and Training Institute present

Health disparities, inequalities, inequity: what difference do the definitions make?

Light lunch will be served starting at 11:30am. Please RSVP to sw-rsvp@austin.utexas.edu 

The term “health equity” is increasingly used but rarely defined, and definitions of health disparities have been diverse and often broad. This can have consequences for setting objectives and targets, resource allocation priorities, and assessing progress. This lecture discusses the challenges of defining health disparities in ways that capture the most important criteria, are conceptually sound, and at the same time lend themselves to measurement, which is essential for accountability. A definition based on principles from the fields of ethics and human rights is proposed, and its rationale discussed. Health disparities do not refer to all possible health differences, nor do they refer to all health differences that warrant concerted public policy attention; they are a specific subset of health differences that are relevant to social justice. Health disparities are systematic, plausibly avoidable health differences adversely affecting socially disadvantaged groups. Health disparities may or may not reflect social disadvantage but their causes need not be established; they are unfair in that they place already socially disadvantaged groups at further disadvantage with respect to their health.

Paula Braveman is Professor of Family and Community Medicine and Director of the Center on Social Disparities in Health at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). For more than 25 years, Dr. Braveman has studied and published extensively on health equity and the social determinants of health, and has worked to bring attention to these issues in the U.S. and internationally. Her research has focused on measuring, documenting, understanding, and addressing socioeconomic and racial/ethnic disparities, particularly in maternal and infant health. During the 1990s she collaborated with World Health Organization staff in Geneva to develop a global initiative on equity in health and health care. She has been the Research Director for a national commission on the social determinants of health in the U.S. supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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February 2016

Children of Immigration Conference

February 25, 2016 - February 26, 2016
Undocumented, Unaccompanied, and Citizen: Charting Research Directions for Children of Immigration

Children of immigration constitute an extremely vulnerable population. Without access to education, healthcare, and social services, these children are likely to suffer prolonged childhood adversities, locking them into the lowest socio-economic class, even if legal immigration status is achieved.

In effort to address this reality, the conference Undocumented, Unaccompanied, and Citizen: Charting Research Directions for Children of Immigration will set a national research agenda in behavioral and social sciences focusing on undocumented children, unaccompanied alien children entering from Mexico and Central America, and the U.S.-born offspring of undocumented immigrants in mixed status families who are known as citizen-children. The conference, which is funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, will gather scholars from multiple disciplines to discuss current knowledge of the development, health, mental health, and psychological and social experiences of this population, and identify knowledge gaps, as well as methodological and ethical challenges in conducting research with these children and their families.

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