Role of stress in health disparities explored

Twenty-five experts from around the world gathered in Boston recently to discuss the impact of chronic stress stemming from low socioeconomic status and discrimination on health disparities and premature death. The conference was organized by Michelle Williams, Stephen B. Kay Family Professor of Public Health, chair of the Department of Epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), and director of the, Harvard Catalyst’s Health Disparities Research Program, which sponsored the symposium, held October 17-18, 2013 at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

“The study of stress is a legitimate, cross-cutting area for human health and to address health disparities. This symposium is a continuation of a discussion we’ve been having for many years, even decades, and we look forward to advancing this important area in newly-formed working groups,” Williams said in a November 18, 2013 HMS News article.

HSPH Dean Julio Frenk, T & G Angelopoulos Professor of Public Health and International Development, was among the speakers from HSPH, Harvard Medical School (HMS), and other national and international universities. Keynote speakers were Nobel laureate Elizabeth Blackburn of the University of California, San Francisco, and Charles A. Nelson III of HMS and Boston Children’s Hospital. See program for speakers and topics.

The Health Disparities Research Program is one of several initiatives supported by Harvard Catalyst, the Harvard University’s clinical and translational science center, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health and Harvard-affiliated institutions. The program works across Harvard schools and throughout its affiliated hospitals to promote new collaborative research, education, and training opportunities to study disparities in health and health care.

Read the HMS News coverage of the conference

Learn more

Blacks in U.S. may be at higher risk for health problems from insufficient sleep (HSPH press release)

Sleep apnea among health problems hitting the poor hardest (HSPH in the News)