MLIve Michigan (07.10.2013)
Kalamazoo County, Mich., will host its first Health Equity Summit July 19 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., with the goal of providing better healthcare to its residents. The summit will include a panel discussion by local leaders; a speech by Von Washington Jr., executive director of community relations for the Kalamazoo Promise; a presentation of local health disparity data; and a photo voice presentation using photography by local youth to increase awareness of how the youth view health treatment and prevention in their communities. Dr. Adewale Troutman, president of the American Public Health Association, will give the keynote address.
Linda Vail, director of the Kalamazoo County Health and Human Service Department, explained that the summit, especially the panel discussion and presentation of health disparity data, will provide opportunities to discuss Kalamazoo County’s key health concerns. Heading the list of concerns is the county’s infant mortality rate, which is approximately 2 percent higher than the statewide average of 7.7 percent per 1,000 births. The county infant mortality rate increased from 9.5 percent in 2011 to 9.6 percent in 2012. Another key topic of discussion is the county’s rising rates of gonorrhea and chlamydia. Vail advocated better education and awareness to reduce the rate of STDs as opposed to treatment after the individual is infected. Vail also noted a significant difference in distribution of illness by race in Kalamazoo County.
Registration for the summit is $25, which includes lunch and parking. For more information or to register for the summit, visit http://www.kalcounty.com/hcs/che, or call (269)373–5200.