April 27, 2016

Wayne State President and Mayor Duggan to hold summit on health equity in Detroit

Wayne State University, in partnership with the City of Detroit, will host the inaugural Mayor’s Summit on Health Equity on May 2-3 on Wayne State’s Midtown Detroit campus.  

Led by Wayne State President M. Roy Wilson and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, health disparity researchers will gather with officials from Detroit’s department of public health, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and key community organizations to address the city’s health disparities. 

Wayne State has made a substantial investment in creating a healthier Detroit, dedicating more than $200 million to health disparities alone. 

“Wayne State has made it part of its mission to positively impact local communities,” commented Wilson. “We are uniquely positioned to do just that by improving the health of Detroiters and, ultimately, achieving health equity.”

“We appreciate Wayne State partnering with us to help create a better and healthier Detroit,” Mayor Mike Duggan said. “We are working to improve everyday life for Detroiters, and that makes health one of our top priorities.”

Detroit has the highest asthma rate in young children among America’s 18 largest cities. Many other diseases and conditions — including pre-term birth, heart disease, diabetes and HIV — also affect Detroiters at disproportionately higher rates than the rest of the United States. 

“The reverberations from health disparities are felt in Detroit’s educational system and economy. If we are to realize a true revitalization of Detroit, we need healthy students in the classroom and productive workers on the job,” said Wilson. 

The goals of the summit are to examine the interrelated systems contributing to the substantial health disparities in Detroit and develop a roadmap to achieving health equity in the city. According to Dawn Misra, co-chair of the summit, associate chair for research and a professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences at Wayne State, disparities in health provide tangible evidence of the often invisible injustices embedded in the social, economic and political systems affecting Detroiters, especially people of color. 

“We invited participants who will help identify practical strategies to achieve health equity, emphasizing how societal determinants of health take root in critical stages of life and accumulate across a lifespan to eventually amplify health disparities,” noted Misra. “The Mayor’s Summit will focus on how community assets, capacity building, and community engagement can promote health equity through fundamental systems transformation.” 


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