National Health Disparities Steering Committee holds its first meeting in Washington, D.C.

The steering committee includes APA members who have expertise in health disparities and in stress, obesity and substance abuse

The National Health Disparities Steering Committee (NHDSC) held its first meeting May 7 at APA headquarters in Washington, D.C. The steering committee guides the development and implementation of APA’s Health Disparities Initiative, and includes eight APA members who have expertise both in health disparities and in one or more of the chosen focus areas of (1) stress, (2) obesity and (3) substance abuse. Members include Drs. Faye Belgrave, Elizabeth Brondolo, Felipe Gonzalez Castro, Jacqueline S.Gray, Martin Iguchi, Vickie E. Mays, James F. Sallis, and Brian Smedley. Executive director Dr. Gwendolyn P. Keita and chief executive officer Dr. Norman Anderson welcomed attendees, emphasizing the importance of the steering committee’s work to APA’s strategic plan. An ambitious agenda was set for the one-day meeting including: “visioning” the direction, outcomes, and products of the health disparities initiative; consensus on priorities for future task forces or working groups; and input on a proposed interdisciplinary meeting.

APA staff joined the meeting as well, to inform the discussions regarding APA’s capabilities in the areas of health disparities and dissemination of successful interventions in health care. Keyona King-Tsikata, director of the Office on Socioeconomic Status, described the exciting work being done by the Socioeconomic Status Related Cancer Disparities Program (SESRCD). Over lunch, Dr. Katherine Nordal, executive director of the Practice Directorate, and Dr. Cynthia Belar, executive director of the Education Directorate, discussed how their directorates could interact with the health disparities initiative. Dr. Diane Elmore and Stefanie Reeves talked with members about how the PI Government Relations Office could assist on policy-related issues.