November 5, 2018

Wayne State summit targets health equity in Detroit

As a national leader in health disparities research and advocacy, Wayne State University will host an interdisciplinary summit on Nov. 7, from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m., in the McGregor Memorial Conference Center. Summit participants will work to suggest interventions and actions to promote healthy eating, healthy behaviors and healthy environments, and to counter the opioid epidemic in Detroit.

Health disparities ailing Detroit’s population include asthma, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. The summit, hosted by Wayne State President M. Roy Wilson, is titled “Collaborating to Enhance Health Equity in Detroit.” The summit stresses the correlations between ensuring healthy Detroit communities workforces, and the revitalization of the city.

Detroit’s health disparities are often associated with underlying social determinants, which must be addressed by its health delivery systems in order to achieve health equity. To do this, Wayne State will gather more than 100 leaders of corporations, health care systems, community organizations, foundations, policymakers and health care academics to share socially accountable best practices and suggest future interventions for promoting health equity.
 Notable events include:

  • Fireside Chat: Healthy Detroiters, Healthy Detroit Economy, 10-11:30 a.m. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that among the full-time working population in the United States, 86 percent of workers have at least one chronic condition and/or are overweight. Chronic health disparities are acute in Wayne County, particularly in Detroit. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s 2018 County Health Rankings ranked Wayne County as the worst of all of Michigan’s 83 counties in terms of overall health outcomes and health factors. Participants will discuss how enhancing health equity in Detroit is critical to the city’s economic revitalization, which in turn, by providing more jobs and economic development, may mitigate the poverty that contributes to health disparities.

Participants include:

-    Dan Gilbert, Founder and Chairman, Quicken Loans and Rock Ventures
-    Dr. John Popovich, Emeritus President and CEO, Henry Ford Hospital,
-    John Rakolta Jr., Chairman and CEO, Walbridge
-    Dr. M. Roy Wilson, President, Wayne State University

  • TEDTalks, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., will feature four 10-minute TED Talks featuring examples of socially accountable and sustainable best practices that have mitigated health disparities in Detroit and in other underrepresented communities.
  • Working Groups, 12:30-2:30 p.m., will focus on suggesting three milestone actions to be implemented over two years to encourage interventions focused on promoting greater health equity in Detroit regarding healthy eating, healthy behaviors, healthy environments and countering the opioid epidemic. Each working group, guided by discussion leaders, will be responsible for developing three-step action plans to implement a specific intervention over a two-year period.

Post-summit, Wayne State will provide seed funding collaboratively with other organizations to encourage the implementation of the recommended interventions prior to Summit 2020.


Shawn Wright
Phone: 586-255-6329

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