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A Healthy Learner is a Successful Learner

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Barbara Wallace

Barbara Wallace

Charles Basch

Charles Basch

Christopher Emdin

Christopher Emdin

Teachers College to launch a new Center on Health Disparities that will explore the connection between health issues and school success 

No matter how talented their teachers or how good the instruction, students who are ill, hungry or homeless will not be successful. For the past five years, Teachers College, Columbia University has held the Health Disparities Conference to explore the connection between the health and psychological issues that accompany poverty, in an attempt to close the achievement gap between the nation’s poor and wealthy students.

This year’s conference, on Friday and Saturday, March 15 and 16, in Cowin Auditorium at 120th and Broadway in Manhattan, will launch a new Center on Health Disparities at Teachers College. The Center will do research and take evidence-based approaches to health disparities, their connection to success in school, and implications for policy.

On Friday morning, Barbara Wallace, Professor of Health Education at Teachers College and co-director of the new center, will deliver the Friday morning opening address on the conference theme, “Using Stress and Coping to Engage in Culturally Appropriate Research, Practice, and Policy.” Wallace’s research has explored, among other things, using a multicultural approach to promoting wellness.

Christopher Emdin, Assistant Professor of Science Education, who will direct the science education component of the new center, will deliver the morning keynote address on his work on hip-hop culture and health disparities. Emdin uses hip-hop elements, including rap, to engage high school students in the study of science and health.

Charles E. Basch, the Richard March Hoe Professor of Health Education at Teachers College and a leading national expert on closing the achievement gap by improving the health of students in our nation’s schools, will speak on Friday afternoon.  In April 2010, Basch published a comprehensive study that found that health-related problems play a major role in impeding students’ ability to learn and succeed in school.

Additional keynote and plenary speakers include: David Satcher, 16th Surgeon General of the United States; Prof. Robert E. Fullilove of the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health; and Former Manhattan Borough President, the Hon. C. Virginia Fields, President and CEO, National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS.

There will be additional speakers from across the nation; special conference tracks such as continuing education credits; panels, concurrent break-out sessions, and a scientific poster session; and a free, community health fair  on Saturday from 10:30 am to 3:30 pm, featuring confidential, private and rapid HIV Testing.

Participation is free, but online registration is required by March 11th at the conference website www.tc.edu/HealthDisparitiesConference . Only online advance registration by March 11th ensures receipt of a Conference Program and Free Lunch. Walk-in registrants are also accepted.

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