As part of the Diversity Lecture Series, Cornell Wright, MPA, spoke to students and faculty about the intersecting of culture and health equity.
Contributing to students’ understanding of whole person health care, the Office of Diversity and Community Partnerships, along with the student chapter of the American Pharmacy Association, hosted Cornell Wright, MPA, the Executive Director of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities at Georgia Campus – Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (GA-PCOM). He spoke to students and faculty members recently about health equity, health disparities and minority health.
As part of the Diversity Lecture Series and in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, Wright entitled his talk “It was all a Dream: The Intersecting of Culture, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Health Equity.“ He asked the audience to think about their lives, their loved ones, their ambitions, their hopes and their freedom to understand how “dreams shape who we are and what we become.”
He said, “I want you to understand how important health equity is to the work that you do or the work that you teach. We need to make sure we are wearing the lens of fairness in our work. It’s important to incorporate that into our everyday lifestyles to honor the dream of Martin Luther King, Jr., and also our dreams to be better and do better and improve the lives and well-being of others.”
Wright noted that there is an idea that “all people have the opportunity to help.”
“Unfair differences that prevent all people from having the same opportunities are called health inequities,” he said, explaining that health disparities are the measurable gap or distance between health indicators that are measured when there’s a noticeable discrepancy.
Wright advised students to never “let somebody tell you that they don’t see color and let it stand. Tell them that you need to see what goes along with what you see and what you don’t see.”
“The idea of color blind care is a barrier to health equity because it ignores cultural struggle,” he said. He added that trauma leads to the outcomes we have in our health and well-being because “when you have stress in your life, it will manifest itself in disease.”
Aisha DeBerry, JD , the director of the Office of Diversity and Community Partnerships said, ”I appreciate Mr. Wright's unorthodox version of explaining health equity. His immersion of music interwoven with the presentation on cultural awareness in health care displayed how this discussion can come from various platforms.”
Established in 2005, PCOM Georgia is a private, not-for-profit, accredited institute of higher education dedicated to the healthcare professions. The Suwanee, Georgia, campus is affiliated with Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine which has a storied history as a premier osteopathic medical school. PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and physical therapy and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences and physician assistant studies. Emphasizing "a whole person approach to care," PCOM Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional education and service to the wider community. The campus is also home to the Georgia Osteopathic Care Center, an osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic, which is open to the public by appointment. For more information, visit pcom.edu or call 678-225-7500.
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