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Conference Activities Scheduled to Examine Relationships Between Health and Diverse Populations

Hayley S. Thompson, PhD, and Frank L. Sotelo, BA, EMMH SIG Outlook Liaisons

What does it mean to have a clinical or research focus on racial and ethnic disparities in health? Is it enough to have racial or ethnic diversity in a study sample or population? Is it important to have some affiliation with the group experiencing the adverse effects of disparities? Is it necessary to be motivated by a sense of social justice?

While there may not be a single correct answer, most would agree that a commitment to staying abreast of emerging and evolving scholarship in this area is essential. This is the position of the Ethnic Minority and Multicultural Health (EMMH) SIG, which is currently about 400 members strong.

We are pleased to be at the forefront of supporting SBM's clinicians and researchers in this way. For SBM's 2013 meeting, we have proposed an exciting slate of events. Under the leadership of C. Andres Bedoya, PhD, we hope to offer a pre-conference day course on effective strategies to adapt evidence-based health interventions for Latino populations. This course will address health issues among Latinos - a growing and diverse yet underserved segment of the U.S. population - as well as methods relevant to research among African, Asian, and Native Americans as well. The theme of intervention continues as we will co-sponsor the Cancer SIG's preconference day course and have planned a lively panel discussion titled, "Interventions to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Disparities Across the Cancer Care Continuum: Clinic to Community."

The EMMH SIG has also partnered with the Behavioral Informatics SIG and the Multiple Health Behavior Change SIG to propose a symposium exploring the use of emerging technologies to affect multiple risk factors in vulnerable populations. This symposium is directly aligned the 2013 conference theme, "Technology: the Excitement and the Evidence," a topic that deserves thorough investigation in communities of color.

The EMMH SIG has also proposed a symposium on current theory and research efforts addressing the role of racial bias among physicians in perpetuating racial health disparities. We are certain that the 2013 meeting will provide a forum in which informed and vigorous discussion around this topic can occur.

Last but certainly not least, the EMMH SIG, along with the Cancer and Student SIGs, has proposed a midday meeting that will better inform SBM members about funding opportunities through National Cancer Institute's Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences (CURE) and Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research.

Many have argued that the elimination of racial and ethnic health disparities depends on the inclusion broad range of experiences and perspectives. This requires the involvement of individuals who represent different racial groups, not only in support roles but in positions of intellectual leadership. The EMMH SIG looks forward to continuing its work to make both SBM and our field much more diverse in this way.

We hope that SBM members are as enthused about these activities as we are. We look forward to seeing our SIG members at our business meeting, which will include the presentation of a student abstract award and, for the first time, an early-stage investigator abstract award. See you in San Francisco!