2011 National Minority Cancer Awareness Week Luncheon
"Health Disparities: Change is Here and Now" was the theme of the 2011 National Minority Cancer Awareness Week Luncheon Symposium
The Dorothy I. Height Center for Health Equity & Evaluation Research (DH-CHEER, formerly CRMH) celebrated its 10th Annual National Minority Cancer Awareness Week Luncheon on Thursday, April 21, 2011, in the Rockwell Pavilion at the University of Houston's M.D. Anderson Memorial Library. This year’s luncheon symposium featured two distinguished keynote speakers, Dr. William Jenkins, formerly of CDC and the person who uncovered the Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male, and Dr. Stephen Klineberg, known for the Houston Area Survey.
Dr. Jenkins was key in putting an end to one of the most controversial and unfortunate scientific experiments in our history. The Tuskegee syphilis experiment began in 1932 and continued for forty years. The study examined more than 399 poor and rural African-American sharecroppers from Macon County, Alabama who contracted syphilis before entering the program. Although penicillin was available to treat the disease by the 1940s, the men were not told they were infected and never signed patient informed consent forms to participate in the experiment. Because they didn’t receive medical treatment to cure the disease, some of the men died at the hands of scientists who were more interested in tracking the spread of untreated syphilis in poor, rural blacks. Continuing to advocate for the survivors, Dr. Jenkins later managed the Participant Health Benefits Program which assured medical services to the survivors of the Tuskegee Study.
Dr. Klineberg and his students initiated the annual Houston Area Survey in March 1982. The Houston Area Survey is in its 29th year of tracking the changes in the demographic patterns, life experiences, attitudes, and beliefs of Harris County residents. No other city in America has been the focus of a long-term longitudinal research program of this scope. None more clearly exemplifies the transformations that are refashioning the social and political landscape of urban America. The project has attracted great interest and generous support from foundations, corporations, and individuals in the wider Houston community and beyond. That support has made it possible not only to fund these professional surveys, but also to expand the research each year with additional interviews in Houston's Anglo, African-American, and Latino communities. In 1995 and 2002, the surveys reached large representative samples from Houston’s Asian communities as well, with one-fourth of the interviews conducted in Vietnamese, Cantonese, Mandarin, or Korean.
Previous National Minority Cancer Awareness Week keynote speakers include U.S. Surgeon Generals, Drs. David Satcher and Joycelyn Elders; former Commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, Dr. Eduardo Sanchez; President and Chancellor of the University of Houston, Dr. Renu Khator, and Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs of The University of Texas System and the former President of the Institute of Medicine (IOM), Dr. Kenneth Shine.