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Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solutions Projects

International Conference on the Health of the African Diaspora (ICHAD)

The International Conference on the Health of the African Diaspora (ICHAD) was held from July 5-8, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. The goal of the conference was to bring together an international group of scholars working on health disparities among people of African descent to compare research findings, and share solutions. Beginning in the seventeenth century, the African slave trade resulted in large populations of persons of African descent living throughout the Western Hemisphere and Europe. The descendants of the dispersed African populations have shared ancestry of forced migration and subjugation. However, there are differences in ancestral experiences owning to differences in the cultural and historical evolution of the countries in which they live. These cultural variations contribute to how the concept of race is operationally defined which may cause an interplay between race and social class to occur.

There is ample research demonstrating disparities between people of African descent and their non-African descent countrymen in many countries including the U.S., Brazil, Colombia and Mexico. However, scholars working to address disparities in their countries have worked mainly within geographic silos. There are notable exceptions, such as the International Society on Hypertension in Blacks or the African Society of Human Genetics. However, the exceptions tend to be focused on a single discipline or condition. Disparities have been documented across a broad array of conditions, including conditions in which genetics appears to play only a modest role. Thus, a full explication of race disparities requires the simultaneous consideration of multiple health states from the vantage point of multiple research disciplines.

Topics of the conference focused on further elaborating on the factors and etiologies that contribute to variations in the health of individuals of African descent. The conference provided an environment for the exchange of ideas between scholars of multiple disciplines. The International Conference on the Health of the African Diaspora will encourage future collaborations in new directions in research, international leadership and influence policy development that is dedicated to eliminating health disparities.

By establishing an international network of scholars, health workers and community activists we hope to advance the health of the African Diaspora. The network will facilitate the transnational sharing of solutions to addressing the common health problems of the African descent population.

We will do this by:

  • Coordinating a biannual conference
  • Coordinating a youth art competition in 2011  to visually depict the conference theme
  • Publishing a book consisting of the papers delivered at the conference, which outline the health status and solutions of health inequities
  • Maintaining a website to facilitate ongoing communication among members of the network between biannual conferences

For more information, please visit the ICHAD website at: http://ichad.com/.