Office of Health Disparities Research

Addressing Health Disparities is Our Priority.

Posts (75)

Thu, Feb 28 4:21pm · Help for Native American patients at Mayo Clinic

Valerie DeCora Guimaraes, will be presenting on her role as the first Patient Relations Specialist at Mayo for Native American patients seeking health and healing. Valerie is an enrolled member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, with Dakota ancestry. She has been an RN for 20+ years, and has worked in med-surg, neuro, rehab, public health, and served as an adjunct professor in the clinical setting. She earned her bachelor degrees in nursing and physiology at WSU and the U of M. She earned her master’s degree from Lesley University in Interdisciplinary Studies – Research Methodology and Historical Research. Valerie has served on Human Rights Commissions for 15 years: in Winona and Bemidji, MN. She has served as a member and as the Chairwoman of both of these commissions.

Valerie has written several articles, essays and books, and continues to write stories and commentaries on indigenous life. Social justice issues are a passion, and through this, Valerie has initiated several projects: Give Them Hope, Project Sylvia, and the Native American Family Fund.

Valerie is currently a member of the Native American Nurses Association, the Native American Women’s Network Association, and is on the board of the Rochester International Association. Valerie also is a member of the RACE Advisory Council through the Science Museum of MN. Valerie has also co-founded the non-profit GRADS, which provides education to better understand the Dakota cultural and traditions to the greater Rochester Community.

Valerie is currently employed as a Patient Relations Specialist who works with Native American patients seeking health and healing here at Mayo.

Date: Tuesday March 12, 2019

Time: Noon to 1:00 pm CST

Rochester Location: Baldwin 01-507

Connection Information: Call-in information:
Number: 866-365-4406
Code: 2844575

Blackboard Connection:

**Use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox if possible

 RSVP To Wes Petersen by 3/7/19 via:


Phone: 507-266-2204

**Box lunches will be available for those attending in Rochester.

This Event is Open to the Public

Thu, Feb 28 8:19am · Mayo Clinic Cardiology Researcher Heralded as a 'Change Maker'

Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) News is featuring Black Minnesotans making history every weekday in February to celebrate Black History Month. The news agency featured LaPrincess C. Brewer, M.D., M.P.H., as part of the series. Dr. Brewer, a health disparities researcher working in the field of Preventative Cardiology, focuses her work on devising strategies to reduce heart health disparities in minority and underserved populations through her Fostering African American Improvement in Total Health (FAITH) research program in Rochester and Twin Cities. Dr. Brewer partners with leaders of health ministries and members of various congregations to  develop healthy living programs tailored specifically for their health concerns

In the interview Dr. Brewer states that growing up she witnessed several of her church members dying at a young age due to complications related to heart disease. Her research program is a way to give back to her community by collectively developing strategies to establish a culture of health.

Dr. Brewer’s MPR interview aired on Feb. 21, 2019.

Mon, Feb 18 1:41pm · The Role of the Black Church in Public Health

Mayo Cardiologist, La Princess Brewer MD, co-authored an editorial with Dr. David Williams (the most published health disparities scholar) in the March issue of American Journal of Public Health. The editorial, part of the March issue on Faith-Based Organization and Public Health Practice, discusses the role, reach, and influence of faith-based institutions in the African American community and the underserved populations to which they minister. Dr. Williams invited Dr. Brewer to co-author the article.  He was the keynote at OHDR’s 2017 Retreat, where Dr. Brewer presented her work on outreach collaboration with The Balm in Gilead, Inc., a non-profit capacity-building organization focused on health ministries in black churches. Dr. Brewer has a strong partnership with African American churches in Rochester, focused on improving cardiac health of parish members through her FAITH! research program.  ARTICLE


Mon, Feb 18 9:47am · Mayo Clinic Platinum Sponsor for Cancer Summit Minnesota 2019

The Minnesota Cancer Alliance (MCA) will host its 2019 Cancer Summit on Thursday, February 28, 2019 at the McNamara Alumni Center, University of Minnesota, in Minneapolis.  The Office of Health Disparities Research (OHDR) and Mayo Clinic’s Cancer Center have jointly contributed to Mayo Clinic’s Platinum Sponsorship of the event.  The Summit gives attendees—who represent a wide range of medical professionals, public health agencies, non-profit organizations, and health advocates—a chance to meet and dialogue with others interested in reducing the burden of cancer for all Minnesotans. Presenters at this year’s Summit will include Keynote Speaker Archelle Georgiou, MD, a health-consumer education advocate who, as an on-air medical expert for over a decade, has covered more than 1,100 different topics, and Health Equity Plenary Speaker Vayong Moua, Director, Health Equity Advocacy, Blue Cross.  The Summit will also provide significant opportunities, in plenary, breakout, and networking sessions, to learn more about the common goals of Cancer Plan Minnesota 2025, the state’s framework for action in cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure. This year, for the first time, the Summit will be videocast to locations in Bemidji and St. Peter, MN.  “The remote broadcast of the Summit will allow for much greater attendance, especially by rural providers and participants,” notes Sumedha Penheiter, PhD, Program Manager for OHDR, who, along with HSR researcher Carmen Radecki Breitkopf, PhD, serves on the MCA Steering Committee.  Space is still available.  MORE INFORMATION



Tue, Feb 5 4:40pm · Cultivating H.O.P.E. (Health Outcomes from Positive Experiences) - A New Approach for Child Maltreatment Prevention and Health Promotion

The Native American Interest Group is very pleased to host Dr. Jeff Linkenbach, (Montana Institute) and Dr. Robert Sege (Tufts University) on Wednesday, February 13th at noon Central Time. Jeff Linkenbach, Ed.D., is the Founding Director and a Research Scientist at The Montana Institute.  He has developed national award-winning research-based programs to change norms.  He is an affiliate faculty member with the University of Montana – Mansfield Center, and a Fellow with UM-Mansfield Academy for Global Leadership. Robert Sege, M.D., Ph.D., is a Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at Tufts University School of Medicine, where he directs a new Center for Community-engaged Medicine.  Dr. Sege is nationally known for his research on effective health systems approaches that directly address the social determinants of health. Their talk is entitled, Cultivating H.O.P.E. (Health Outcomes from Positive Experiences) – A New Approach for Child Maltreatment Prevention and Health Promotion.

All of us carry with us the experiences of our own past, and the historical experiences of our people.  Wisdom teachers in many native traditions have long espoused that culture, language and ceremony are paramount to balance and wellbeing.  In the past, the Western outlook has often focused on trauma and adversity.  Now, new research may finally be catching up to Native science with a focus on positivity as resilience. “The future of our society is bright, and it rests with our children, who are the leaders, parents, citizens and workforce of the future. In turn, the well-being of our children is the responsibility of all of us. Current brain and social sciences have shed light on the impact of childhood adversity, risks, and toxic and negative factors impacting healthy child development. Yet this focus can only go so far in prescribing what is needed for a thriving society.” (Sege, R., Bethell, C., Linkenbach, J., Jones, J., Klika, B. & Pecora, P.J. 2017. Balancing Adverse Childhood Experiences with HOPE: New Insights Into the Role of Positive Experience on Child and Family Development. Boston: The Medical Foundation). Drs. Robert Sege and Jeff Linkenbach will present their work in this webinar with a focus on the HOPE Framework (Health Outcomes of Positive Experience).  This approach builds on the important insights of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) study – that adult health is deeply affected by childhood experience.  By exploring the positive childhood experiences that contribute to adult health, the keynote address will help reframe our work with vulnerable families. HOPE is one piece of a growing body of work that points to concrete steps we can take to help assure our children (Native and non-Native) have a bright future.

(NOTE: This meeting will be held on Wednesday (not Tuesday), February 13th starting at noon Central Time.  We will return to Tuesday presentations with our March Speaker, Valarie Guimaraes).

For this month only, the presentation primarily will be available through Blackboard (see the link below) or by our teleconference number.

We will have limited seating for 15 individuals.  If you prefer to join us in person, we will host the talk from Bio-Business 5-12.  As always, your RSVP is important.  It helps with lunch ordering and to establish our reach locally, regionally, and nationally.

To join via Blackboard go to:

To join via telephone, dial: 866-365-4406 and at the prompt enter: 2844575#

RSVP To Wes Petersen by 2/8/19 via:
Phone: 507-266-2204

Tue, Feb 5 10:22am · Association of Mindfulness and Stress with Menopausal Symptoms in Midlife Women

A Mayo Clinic research team, lead by Dr. Richa Sood, has recently published a study that found that mindfulness may be associated with fewer menopausal symptoms for women, and may be especially helpful for women grappling with anxiety, depression, and irritability.  Over 1,700 patients at Mayo’s Women’s Health Clinic participated during a two year period; researchers found that women reporting higher mindfulness scores reported fewer menopausal symptoms, and the higher the women’s perceived level of stress, the greater the link between higher mindfulness and reduced menopausal symptoms.  ARTICLE


Tue, Jan 22 4:00pm · Cervical Cancer Screening Rates "Unacceptably Low" With Racial Disparities in Screening Rates as Well

A Mayo Clinic study examining the percentage of women, living in Olmsted county, screened for cervical cancer, shows that the number is ‘unacceptably low’ compared to the national average. Additionally, African-American women were only half as likely to be up-to-date on their screenings as white women across the board. Asian women were nearly 30 percent less likely to be current in their screenings than white women. The study was led by Mayo Clinic’s Kathy L. MacLaughlin, MD, and co-led by Robert M. Jacobson, MD, from the department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. Cervical cancer rates have dropped dramatically in the past five decades, since physicians have had two screening tests available: the Pap test, which involves visually examining cells collected from the cervix for precancerous or cancerous cells, and the HPV test, which involves detecting the presence in the body of high risk human papillomavirus (HPV), which is known to cause precancerous changes and cervical cancer. But if women do not take advantage of screening, the benefits of early detection are lost. Dr. Robert Jacobson stated, “Routine screening every three years with a Pap test or every five years with a Pap-HPV co-test ensures precancerous changes are caught early and may be followed more closely or treated.” Dr. Jacobson was named Minnesota’s 2018 HPV is Cancer Prevention Champion. HPV vaccine is known to prevent cervical cancer in women and other cancers in men. The study team also included OHDR Steering Committee member Carmen Radecki Breitkopf, PhD, who has worked on assessing knowledge and perceptions of HPV and the HPV vaccine in underserved communities for several years. The CDC reports that around 13,000 American women are diagnosed with cervical cancer annual, and that about 4,200 women in the U.S. will die from the disease each year. ARTICLE

Dec 4, 2018 · NAIG: Mayo Clinic's Traumatic Brain Injury Regional Advisory Council: 25 years of Partnership and Collaboration

The Office of Health Disparities Research and the Native American Interest Group welcome Dr. Allen Brown’s talk that will be informative for anyone working with or seeking to form a community advisory board. At NARO’s October organizational advisory board meeting attended by tribal health directors and Mayo representative, a recommendation was made that hearing from someone who has successfully conducted a sustained advisory board would be beneficial for getting the Mayo-tribal health director board launched. Dr. Brown graciously offered to share his experience, so we look forward to his talk on “Mayo Clinic’s Traumatic Brain Injury Regional Advisory Council: 25 Years of Partnership and Collaboration.” Please join us on Tuesday, December 11 at noon in Baldwin 01-507. Call-in and Blackboard connections are listed below. As always RSVPs are helpful for establishing the reach of the NAIG and for ordering the appropriate number of lunches for on-campus attendees.

Date: Tuesday, December 11, 2018
Time: 12:00 pm-1:00 pm (CST)
Location: Baldwin 01-507

RSVP To Wes Petersen by
11/7/18 via:
Phone: 507-266-2204

**Box lunches will be available for those attending in Rochester.
This Event is Open to the Public

Connection information:

Call-in information: Number: 866-365-4406 Code: 2844575

Blackboard Connection:

**Use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox if possible

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