Conference Brings Together Organizations to Discuss Health Disparities, Potential Solutions

By Kev' Moye

The center, which is part of the UAMS Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, created the conference to enhance the rapport between UAMS and the community while also distributing the latest results from ARCHD research.

“The attendees enjoyed learning about how UAMS is partnering with Arkansas’ communities to combat health disparities,” said Crystal Jones, MS, ARCHD program manager. “The event provided an amazing opportunity for researchers to share their findings and collaborate with community leaders and colleagues on strategies to address the state’s health disparities.”

During the opening day of the conference several College of Public Health faculty, staff and students presented final results or updates to research projects funded by the center. Additionally, maternal and child health, violence intervention, chronic diseases and stress management received additional attention as topics of group discussion.

“The discussions were met with enthusiasm from the community,” Jones said. “In fact, having the opportunity to come together advanced discussions between researchers and community leaders on ways to translate research findings into real world solutions to health disparities.”

Bryant-Moore speaks

Dr. Keneshia Bryant-Moore, professor in the college of public health’s Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, speaks during the Arkansas Center for Health Disparities 2023 Celebration Conference.

Also on day one of the conference, four of the center’s community partners received certificates for completing the Community Partners Educated as Arkansas Research Leaders program.

Those organizations were: The Confess Project, Engaging Arkansas Communities, Giving Others Ambition Together and the Marshallese Education Initiative.

On day two, promoting self-care through mental and physical health was the focus. Fitness experts and yoga instructors led activities such as chair and restorative yoga, aerobics, mindfulness meditation, sound bath and a variety of health presentations.

“We wanted to provide an opportunity for participants to gain knowledge of evidence-based practices for improving their physical and emotional health,” Jones said. “Participants were enthusiastic about the various types of yoga and engaged in a day focused on slowing down and enjoying life. The day ended with a sound bath, which was a new experience for many — and one that received positive reviews.”

“Self-care is an important aspect of community service,” she added. “You cannot serve from an empty plate. Therefore, it’s so important to also take time for yourself.”

Jones said that the ARCHD staff has received a lot of positive feedback from their UAMS colleagues, community partners and the public.

“My favorite part was interacting in-person and having the opportunity to discuss the issues that Arkansans face every day,” Jones said. “I also enjoyed participating in yoga classes, which offered everyone the opportunity to build strong, supportive relationships in a stress-free environment.”