Public Relations  >  News Center  >  News Releases  >  October 2020  >  October 15, 2020  >  Creighton University virtual symposium to bring disparities, inequities in healthcare into focus
Creighton University virtual symposium to bring disparities, inequities in healthcare into focus

Kingfisher Institute LogoEvent to feature keynote speakers Jonathan M. Metzl, MD, PhD and Uché Blackstock, MD

Creighton University will host a virtual symposium on Oct. 23 and 24 that examines racial disparities and inequities in health and healthcare and offers more human-centered approaches through interactive discussions and workshops. Featuring prominent national speakers and a panel of Creighton leaders from the School of Medicine, School of Law and University administration, the HUMAN/E Health & Healthcare Symposium is the product of the University’s Kingfisher Institute for the Liberal Arts and Professions’ intentional work to design a comprehensive program that highlights connections between the disparate fields through collaboration with a planning group composed of representatives across the University.

“This conference brings together scholars, practitioners, and students in myriad disciplines to explore how to keep the humanity in healthcare. The COVID-19 pandemic and recent incidents of continued racial injustice have made these already critical issues paramount,” said Kelly Dineen, RN, JD, PhD, associate professor of law and director of Creighton University’s Health Law program.

Hosted on Zoom, registration is free and open to the public for any and all conference sessions, including the following:

Friday, Oct. 23 at 3:30 p.m.: “The Pandemic and the Politics of Racial Resentment” with Jonathan M. Metzl, MD, PhD, Frederick B. Rentschler II Professor of Sociology and Medicine, Health, and Society at Vanderbilt University, and author of “Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment are Killing America’s Heartland.”

Saturday, Oct. 24 at Noon: “The Double Pandemic of Racism & COVID-19, and Structural Competency in Health Care” with Uché Blackstock, MD, thought leader, founder and CEO of Advancing Health Equity, which partners with healthcare and healthcare-related organizations to address the critical factors contributing to health inequity.

In addition to Dineen, Metzl’s talk will include a panel discussion with the following Creighton faculty members:

  • Renuga Vivekanandan, MD, associate professor of medicine and assistant dean in the School of Medicine, medical director for Antimicrobial Stewardship at CHI Health, and medical director for Hospital Epidemiology at CUMC
  • Nicole Piemonte, PhD, assistant professor and assistant dean for Medical Education, School of Medicine (Phoenix)
  • Christopher M. Whitt, PhD, vice provost for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion

LaShaune Johnson, PhD, associate professor of interdisciplinary studies in Creighton’s Master of Public Health program, serves on the planning committee for the event. She said the speakers and the topics they will be presenting are intended to raise awareness and create crucial conversations.

“I cannot recall a time in recent history where equity-focused public health educators and clear-thinking champions for science have been more important to the wellbeing of our society,” said Johnson, who also will be presenting at a community engagement workshop. “I hope that my students, and others passionate about population health, will be inspired to see someone like Dr. Blackstock. She is a woman of color and child of immigrants with an unapologetic commitment to being an ambassador for evidence-based science. Her advocacy for conversations that bring equity and social justice to the forefront make her such an important voice to amplify at this event.”

To register for the event, visit:

The symposium is sponsored by Creighton University’s Kingfisher Institute; the Committee on Lectures, Films, and Concerts; Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion; Office of Mission and Ministry; and the School of Medicine Department of Medical Humanities. Funding is provided by Humanities Nebraska (HN) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.



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