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Health Justice at Upstate

In 2018, SUNY Upstate hosted its first diversity in medicine conference, entitled Health Justice at Upstate: Breaking Down Barriers. In 2019, this new tradition continued with Health Justice at Upstate: Shifting the Power, which garnered over 250 registrants.

We are proud to announce our third annual event, Health Justice 2020: Visions of Equity. Our conference this year will take a look at the accomplishments we have made, what we have to continue to fight for. Join us, as our goal this year is to educate and prepare our attendees in what is to come.

As we’ve done in previous years, we will offer the Upstate community a set of workshops and lectures that aim to address and dissect the health disparities we see in our local community and in greater New York State. More often than not, these issues stem from our nation's history of discrimination and systemic racism so these problems are almost always national health concerns as well. Last year’s workshops featured such topics as “refugee health” and “healthcare in the prison system”. We also hosted dialogues in which students discussed leveraging their privilege and legislative advocacy. As the closing speaker for the day, we are confident your talk will compile all of the topics and leave the attendees encouraged to talk political action.

To learn more or to volunteer, please contact our Conference Chairs (Robertha Barnes, Deashia McAlpine, and Azwade Rahman) at hjcupstate@gmail.com.


From a 2018 participant:

"Going into healthcare, I almost feel immobilized because doctors don't normally seem to have much power in terms of creating change... The keynote speaker addressed all of these structural things and ongoing projects/research that are happening."

Registration for the 2020 conference is now closed, as we have reached our max capacity. Thank you for your interest. If you would like to be contacted when registration opens for the 2021 Health Justice at Upstate conference, please email hjcupstate@gmail.com.

Monday, January 20, 2020
9:00AM - 4:10PM

Time Session Workshops
9:00AM - 9:30AM Registration & Check-In
9:30AM - 10:00AM Breakfast
10:00AM - 10:20AM Opening Address
10:20AM - 10:25AM Break
10:25AM - 11:10AM Session A Native American Health
Sickle Cell Disease and its Inequalities
Over the BorderLine: Health Projections Living Undocumented
Addressing Disparities with Universal Healthcare
11:10AM - 11:15AM Break
11:15AM - 12:00PM Session B Infant Mortality in Minority Women
Preventing Gun Violence through Political Activism
Increasing Minority Faculty and Students
12:35PM - 1:30PM Lunch - Exhibition Hall on 1st Floor of NAB
1:05PM - 2:05PM

College of Medicine Sponsored Keynote Address

Dr. Utibe R. Essien: Bending the Arc Toward Justice in Health

2:10PM - 2:55PM Session C

Bioethics, Social Responsibility, & Immigrant Health:
Ethical Policy Advocacy for Health Professionals

Attaining Equity Through Abortion Access
The Power to Organize:
Political Action for Structural Determinants of Health
2:55PM - 3:00PM Break
3:05PM - 3:50PM Session D Balancing Academics and Activism
Building Your Path: On Getting into Medical School
Balancing a Healthcare Career and Activism
3:50PM - 4:10PM Closing Remarks

2020 College of Medicine Sponsored Keynote Speaker

Dr. Utibe R. Essien, MD, MPH presenting Bending the Arc Toward Justice in Health

Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine
Core Investigator, Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System

2020 Workshop Speakers & Facilitators

  • Dr. Kathryn Scott, MD, MPH presenting Sickle Cell Disease and its Inequalities
    • Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at SUNY Upstate Medical Center
  • Miriam Callahan, MD Candidate presenting The Power to Organize: Political Action for Structural Determinants of Health
    • MD Student at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons
  • Dr. Rachel Fabi, PhD presenting Bioethics, Social Responsibility, & Immigrant Health: Ethical Policy Advocacy for Health Professionals
    • Assistant Professor of Bioethics and Humanities
  • Dr. Brian Thompson, MD presenting Native American Healthcare
    • Assistant Dean for Diversity, SUNY Upstate Medical University
  • Dr. Renee E. Mestad, MD, MS presenting Attaining Equity Through Abortion Access
  • Katie Robbins, MPH presenting on NY State Health Act
    • Director for the Campaign for New York Health
  • Dr. Mario R. Mendoza, MD presenting on Undocumented Health: The Impact of Detainment
    • Founder of LifeUNDocumented
  • Kina Collins, presenting on Gun Violence
    • Organizer for Generation Progress and the Beyond the Gun Campaign
  • Nakeia Chambers, MSEd presenting on Increasing Minority Faculty and Students
    • Direct of Multicultural Affairs & Student Inclusion, SUNY Upstate Medical University

2020 Panel Speakers

  • Balancing Academics and Activism
    • Alan Blayney, MD/PhD Candidate
    • Madelyn Garcia, MD Candidate
    • Humayra Mayat, MD Candidate
    • Desiree Pizzaro, MD Candidate
    • Michael Vidal, MD/MS Candidate
  • Building Your Path: On Getting into Medical School
    • Krystal Ripa, Director of Special Admissions Programs/Pre-Health Advisor, SUNY Upstate Medical University
    • Maleek Griffin, MD Candidate
    • Jade Jenkins, PA Candidate
    • Mario Mejia, DPT Candidate
  • Balancing A Healthcare Career and Activism
    • Dr. Sunny Aslam, MD, Associate Profressor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
    • Others to be announced

Keynote Speakers of the Past

Health Justice at Upstate is held annually on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The event is located in the SUNY Upstate New Academic Building, 790 Irving Ave, Syracuse, NY 13210. We recommend that attendees park at the East/West Garages at Upstate Medical University's Downtown campus (map, rates). For wheelchair-accessible parking, we recommend that you park in the East Garage and review available accessibility featuresEscorts will be available in the East Garage for anyone who may need assistance.

Health Justice Scholars

Scholarships are available for current students below the graduate level. Awards will be based on demonstrated commitment to the health professions, racial equity in medicine, and the Syracuse community. If you would like to receive an email announcement when the 2020 Health Justice Scholars application is available, please contact our Conference Chairs (Robertha Barnes, Deashia McAlpine, and Azwade Rahman) at hjcupstate@gmail.com.

2019 Health Justice Scholars:

  • Jazmine Richardson, Syracuse University
  • Rosalia Sedano, Canisius College

Health Justice Advocate

The Health Justice Advocate award is given to a community leader who is not a health professional but utilizes a “health in all policies” approach to social justice issues in Syracuse, NY, including housing, transportation, and safety/violence prevention. SUNY Upstate Medical University's mission includes serving our community, but that wouldn't be possible without our many partners. This award recognizes their contributions to improving the state of public health in Syracuse.

2019 Health Justice Advocate

2020 partners to be announced. If your community organization would like a display table at the 2020 conference, please contact our Conference Chairs (Robertha Barnes, Deashia McAlpine, and Azwade Rahman) at hjcupstate@gmail.com.

Tax-Deductible Gifts

Thank you for your interest in supporting the Health Justice at Upstate conference! All donations go through the Upstate Foundation to be used for Health Justice at Upstate expenditures, including the annual conference, scholarships for high school and undergraduate students, and establishing an endowed fund to ensure the program's sustainability.

To make a tax-deductible donation to the Health Justice at Upstate fund, please visit the Upstate Foundation website, select the Designation "Other", and enter "Health Justice at Upstate."

If you have donated and do not see your name or department below, please contact Conference Chairs (Robertha Barnes, Deashia McAlpine, and Azwade Rahman) at hjcupstate@gmail.com. Thank you for your generosity.

Current and Past Sponsors

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