UAMS College of Public Health to Present Virtual Community Health Impact Conference, Sept. 28-29

By Kev' Moye

This free virtual event will help organizations throughout Arkansas collaborate and create ways to improve prevention methods for different cancers and cardiovascular ailments that overwhelmingly impact the state’s African American and rural residents. Additionally, health-related social justice efforts in Arkansas will receive attention.

“This will be an interactive, working conference,” said Latonya Rucker, the center’s co-director of community outreach and engagement. “Our target audience includes community leaders, researchers, health care providers and students. However, anyone can attend the conference. We are focused on creating solutions.”

Rucker said the conference will also teach organizations about using joint efforts to solve issues that typically lead to cancer and different heart illnesses for too many Arkansans.

“A major focus for us is to show participants why it’s important to be proactive, work together and create preventative solutions that can reduce — and eventually — eliminate disease and conditions that disproportionately affect African Americans and people who live in the rural parts of the state,” Rucker said.

In addition to team activities, Natalie S. Burke, president and CEO of CommonHealth Action, will give the keynote address, “Making Health Equity Real in a Time that Feels Surreal: Let’s Get Uncomfortable.” Ronda Henry-Tillman, M.D., of UAMS and Al Richmond, executive director for Community-Campus Partnership for Health, will speak about the dangers of health disparities. The conference will also feature presentations by health policy makers, cancer patients and health care providers.

Rucker said the organizing committee scheduled the conference for two days to allow each speaker, presentation and project a chance to get ample attention.

“We want to increase researcher and community partnerships to support prevention efforts aimed toward cancer and cardiovascular disease, both of which haunt African American and rural communities at an alarming rate,” she said. “Most of all, we want to create a plan of action. We’re going to focus on community development for social justice reform by assessing and addressing the needs of our rural communities. It’s pertinent that we put things in motion.”

Preventing cancer and cardiovascular issues for the affected communities is an all hands on deck endeavor, Rucker added.

“Our stakeholders, including community members, community organizations and researchers, must understand it’s time to come together and get the work done,” Rucker said. “There’s plenty of data to show preventable measures are needed statewide.

“We’re excited to help develop a blueprint for the changes that are needed.”

To register for the conference visit Organizations can also register by sending an email to

UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and eight institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute, Institute for Digital Health & Innovation and the Institute for Community Health Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS’ clinical enterprise. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,275 students, 890 medical residents and fellows, and five dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 12,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children’s, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), YouTube or Instagram.