Although the United States has made strides to improve the overall health of the nation in recent decades, racial and ethnic disparities in health and health care persist. The 2013 RWJF Center for Health Policy Health Disparities Summit, set for Friday, Sept. 6 through Saturday, Sept. 7 at the Student Union Building ballrooms on the University of New Mexico campus, was developed because these health disparities are unacceptable and correctable.

Comprehensive and coordinated policy action is needed to address the unequal distribution of social, educational and economic resources that underlie preventable differences in health outcomes among population groups. The conference, “Practices and Policies That Promote Health Justice,” provides an opportunity for students, community members, health policy experts, researchers and policy makers to examine and discuss the crosscurrents, complexities, causes and remedies of health disparities.

Among topics of the conference:

  •  Access to Care – With implementation of the Affordable Care Act moving forward, what do we know about how communities of color understand the law and what should be done to ensure that all communities are able to access health services effectively?
  • Immigrant and Refugee Health – What does health care look like and mean for these individuals and communities? How might persistent health disparities in these populations be addressed through policy?
  • American Indian Health: Beyond Race – Providing an opportunity to better understand American Indian perspectives on health care and the Affordable Care Act.
  • Women's Health – Best approaches to improve access to care and the health status of women, with an emphasis on women of color.
  • Improving Behavioral Health for Underserved Communities – Discussion of recent efforts to reduce suicide rates in vulnerable underserved communities and considerations for improving access to behavioral health services for all.
  • Health Professional Workforce – What is the current supply of health professionals and how can it be improved to better meet the demand for services, be more responsive to all who receive services, and support improved health equity?

Taken in sum, the conference will bring policy experts, scholars and leaders together to address some of the most pressing and complex obstacles to health equity, facilitating a focused discussion on the latest research on racial and ethnic health disparities, and providing an opportunity for the development of comprehensive policy solutions for the reduction and elimination of health inequities in the United States.

The conference will convene at 8:30 a.m. on Friday and adjourns by 1 p.m. on Saturday.

  • Seating is limited and registration is required for all attendees. To register, please visit

  • For travel or accommodation inquiries, contact Antoinette Maestas from the RWJF Center for Health Policy at