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Organizers will address racial inequities in health care at a virtual conference this weekend

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A free event this weekend aims to provide information about health equity, and put out a call to action to end racial disparities in healthcare.

The African American and Latino Health Coalitions, with Common Ground Health, are hosting the annual Speak Life! Health Equity Conference on Saturday. The University of Rochester Medical Center is sponsoring the conference.

Common Ground's chief medical officer, Dr. Linda Clark, says they want “to make sure that the community has access to the information they need around health and health disparities, and to think of actions to correct the disparities that we see.”

This year’s conference theme is “Revive.” Clark said it’s about attaining a sense of energy and renewal for the community and for attacking health disparities.

“We want to not only survive, but thrive,” Clark said. “Our 'Revive’ theme really brings that together, along with a spiritual component.”

The conference will feature keynote speaker Harriet Washington, a historian, ethicist, and the author of “Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present.”

Washington will speak on the historical and current mistrust of the health care system as it relates to racial disparities. She will also touch on mental health issues and gun violence.

This is the first health equity conference since Common Ground released the Color of Health Report in the summer of 2021. The report provides a detailed look into the systemic racism embedded in the region, and the results of the long- and short-term results of those disparities.

“The Color of Health, although it's about African Americans, our Latino Health Coalition has been front and center in support of the findings of the report and sharing information,” Clark said.

She added that a Latino health report is scheduled to be out this summer.

The free virtual conference takes place from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

To register, click here.