Health Disparities Summit


Last year, under the leadership of then-President Dr. Janet E. Hall, The Endocrine Society launched an exciting new initiative to address health disparities in endocrine diseases and related conditions such as diabetes, obesity, hormone-responsive cancers, and reproductive disorders. The Reducing Health Disparities and Improving Care Through Endocrine Science initiative was established as the Society’s platform for helping to reduce global endocrine health disparities. It is our hope that we can begin bridging the gap in the prevalence of these endocrine disorders by creating opportunities for the research and advocacy communities to raise awareness of the extent of endocrine health disparities, to share information on current relevant research, and to build collaborations.

One of the first stages in building the foundation of the Reducing Health Disparities initiative was to convene a summit for the research and advocacy communities to discuss disparities in diabetes from U.S. and global perspectives. The inaugural Reducing Health Disparities in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Summit was held on March 22-23, 2013, in Baltimore. Researchers, clinicians, health educators, and public and community health leaders dedicated to building partnerships to reduce health disparities convened to discuss everything from the biologic bases of endocrine health disparities to advocacy efforts aimed at increasing minority participation in clinical trials. Sessions were structured so that the audience would gain knowledge of the factors affecting health disparities in type 2 diabetes and would be able to participate in creative discussions about how individuals, communities (policy, scientific, and clinical), and professional organizations can collaborate to reduce health disparities in this area.

The program welcomed experts in the fields of health disparities and type 2 diabetes, including Dr. Joyce Hunter, deputy director of the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities; Dr. Griffin Rodgers, director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; Dr. Rahn K. Bailey, president of the National Medical Association and member of the American Medical Association Commission to End Health Disparities; and Dr. Louis Sullivan, former U.S. surgeon general and professor emeritus of the Morehouse School of Medicine. Representatives from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety, the Food and Drug Administration Office of Minority Health, the Pan American World Health Organization, the American Diabetes Association and other nonprofit organizations, and the private sector, as well as biomedical and clinical researchers and allied health professionals, were part of this remarkable lineup of speakers.

I would like to commend immediate-Past President Dr. Janet E. Hall on her visionary approach to address global endocrine health disparities, which led to this initiative. I would also like to congratulate the members of the Society’s Minority Affairs Committee and Health Disparities Inter-Committee Work Group for their outstanding efforts in creating the Reducing Health Disparities Summit programming that has helped foster a growing awareness of this issue. The opportunities presented during the summit to learn, engage, and connect with others doing this type of work will be invaluable to continued endeavors to close the gap in health disparities and inequities.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me at [email protected]

William F. Young, Jr., MD
President, The Endocrine Society

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