Health disparities focus of WMU Burian lecture, conference

contact: Mark Schwerin
| WMU News
Photo of LaQuandra Nesbitt.


KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Disparities in the health of various segments of American society will come under scrutiny when a family physician delivers the Bill Burian University-Community Lecture in February at Western Michigan University.

Dr. LaQuandra S. Nesbitt will speak at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 11, in 4010 College of Health and Human Services Building. Her presentation, titled "Successful Strategies for Interdisciplinary Collaboratives to Achieve Health Equity," is free and open to the public.

Nesbitt also will deliver the keynote address at 8 a.m. the following day as part of the Interdisciplinary Conference on Diversity and Inclusion, also in Room 4010 of the college. Both the lecture and conference are presented by the college's Committee on Diversity and Inclusion. With the theme "Collaboration for Equity: Building a Community that Supports Health Care for All," the conference runs from 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. and also includes four concurrent workshop sessions and a student poster competition.

The disparities in health among various populations in the United States is well-documented. A 2011 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention titled "Health Disparities and Inequalities" found that, although life expectancy and overall health have improved in recent years for most Americans, this is not so for all segments of the population. Health disparities are evident between rich and poor, black and white and educated and under educated. The conference and Burian lecture will examine collaborative methods of advancing health equity.

LaQuandra Nesbitt

Nesbitt, a board-certified family physician, recently took the position of director of the District of Columbia Department of Health after serving as director of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness in Louisville, Kentucky, since July 2011. That independent health department is home to the Center for Health Equity and provides programs and services in the areas of clinical services, community and environmental health and preparedness.

During her tenure as health director in Louisville, Nesbitt's commitment to five strategic priorities resulted in accomplishments that included release of the first Louisville Metro Health Equity Report; establishment of the Mayor's Healthy Hometown Leadership Team and expansion of that movement to include tobacco prevention and control and chronic disease prevention and management; and development of public-private partnerships to implement the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Community Transformation Grant program.

Nesbitt is also a researcher and published author and served as an executive editor of "Population Health—Management, Policy and Technology."

An extended biography of Nesbitt can be found at

About the lecture series

Established in memory of the founding dean of the WMU College of Health and Human Services, the Bill Burian University-Community Lecture Series brings members of the community and University together to interact with leaders in the field, focusing on the qualities of health and human services that were the essence of Burian's mission.

For more information, including a conference schedule, visit Advance registration for either or both events is required and can be made online at or (269) 387-2663 by Wednesday, Feb. 4.

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