The first annual Arizona Health Equity Conference was held on October 30, 2014, in Glendale, Arizona. The conference brought together 275 professionals from across the state who work in the areas of health equity research and practice. Attendees included physicians, nurses, researchers, public health professionals, nonprofit professionals, social workers and military personnel.
Over 33 key leaders spoke during the program, which included a morning World Café (a high-energy learning activity on community-based research) and afternoon breakout sessions on Research, Clinical, Policy and Prevention tracks. Sixteen non-profit organizations exhibited at the event.
Keynote speaker Joseph Betancourt, M.D., M.P.H., presented “Improving Quality, Achieving Equity and Pursuing Value: Delivering Care to Diverse Populations in a Time of Healthcare Transformation.” An internationally renowned researcher, Dr. Betancourt is an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and directs the Disparities Solutions Center at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Mayo Clinic leaders from the Office of Health Disparities Research, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Office of Health Equity and Inclusion, and Community and Business Relations had key roles in leading the event and helping with sponsorship. In addition to Mayo Clinic, the planning team included members of Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, Scottsdale Healthcare Research Institute, Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, the Arizona Department of Health Services, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Arizona State University’s Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center, University of Arizona’s College of Public Health, the Arizona Public Health Association, and the Greater Valley Area Health Education Center.
Conference evaluations were very positive, with 94 percent of respondents indicating they want to attend next year’s conference, and overwhelmingly high rates of satisfaction across all categories. Due to this high interest and success, the conference will become an annual event. The next conference will take place in October 2015. Watch for a “save-the-date” announcement coming soon.