Top Federal Official on Minority Health Speaking at School of Medicine

DrGraciaNadine Gracia, M.D., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health and the Director of the Office of Minority Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), will be the keynote speaker at the Dr. Reaner and Mr. Henry Shannon Lecture on Minority Health noon Friday at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine.

Under Gracia’s leadership, the Office of Minority Health oversees the implementation of the HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities and the National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities. A first-generation Haitian-American, Gracia is an advocate for minority and underserved populations and lectures nationwide on health disparities and health equity.

Health disparities is the term that describes how people of color suffer many diseases, such as heart disease, breast cancer, asthma and diabetes, at rates much higher than those of the general population.

A pediatrician, with epidemiology training, Gracia previously served as Chief Medical Officer for the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health. She is a former White House Fellow, serving at HHS in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health and the Office of the Secretary. She also served as a policy advisor in the Office of the First Lady, working on the Let’s Move! initiative to solve childhood obesity.

Gracia is a former student of UMKC School of Medicine Dean Steven L. Kanter when he was on faculty at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

“Our school is thrilled Dr. Gracia will deliver this year’s Shannon Lecture,” Kanter said. “She is a leader in the fight against racial and ethnic health inequality, a fight the UMKC School of Medicine is actively engaged in through research and practice. Therefore, she is an excellent role model for our medical students and physicians in training.”

This is the 11th anniversary of the UMKC School of Medicine’s Shannon Lecture. The first keynote speaker was former U.S. Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders.


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