Regional Conference to Address Latino Health Disparities, Policy Impacts

George Washington University, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, and Regional Primary Care Coalition – Joint Sponsors of October 7 Event

Media Contacts:
Kathy Fackelmann, 202-994-8354,
Jeanne Saddler, 202-962-3250,

WASHINGTON, DC (September 30, 2015)—Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) at the George Washington University, in partnership with the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and the Regional Primary Care Coalition, will host a conference on October 7 to discuss the high burden of health problems that affect Latinos living in the Metropolitan DC area and efforts underway to address these health burdens. Please join GW’s Avance Center for the Advancement of Immigrant/Refugee Health and their partners for this opportunity to learn more about research, best practices, and policy solutions that might help strengthen the way the region addresses Latino health disparities.

Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham, chair of the Healthcare Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, will be a featured speaker.  Walter Tejada, vice chairman of the Arlington County Board, Montgomery County Councilmember Nancy Navarro, and Jackie Reyes, director of the Mayor’s Office on Latino Affairs in the District of Columbia, will discuss policy solutions for health disparities and other serious concerns in Latino communities.

The October 7 event will also feature talks by Mark Edberg, PhD, director of the Avance Center, and Faith Mitchell, PhD, president of Grantmakers In Health, a national nonprofit, educational organization dedicated to helping foundations and corporate giving programs reduce health disparities. Chuck Bean, executive director of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, and Sharon Zalewski, executive director of Center for Health Care Access at the Regional Primary Care Coalition, will provide welcoming remarks.

Dr. Edberg will provide a brief summary and update of the multiple research, intervention and community activities ongoing at the Avance Center. 

The event will include breakout sessions focusing on immigration policy and its impact on health programs that provide integrated behavioral health services for Latinos and immigrants who may struggle with language and other barriers that can hinder access to care; emerging research on a project called Water Up that aims to reduce the risk of obesity/diabetes in Latino populations; a discussion of ways to combat high rates of domestic violence; innovative approaches to management of chronic health conditions; and new data on reducing problems that often occur together in the community—namely substance abuse, risky sex and gang violence.

The Avance Center, which is based at Milken Institute SPH, was established in 2012 to better understand and address health disparities that affect immigrant/refugee communities both in the DC metropolitan area and nationwide. The Regional Primary Care Coalition is a collaboration of local philanthropic organizations and primary health care providers committed to improving the health of vulnerable populations and advancing health equity in metropolitan Washington, D.C. The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments is an independent, nonprofit association that brings area leaders together to address major regional issues in the District of Columbia, suburban Maryland, and Northern Virginia.


Regional Latino Health Disparities Conference:
Breaking Down Structural Barriers to Latino Health Equity


October 7, 2015; 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


Milken Institute School of Public Health
First Floor Convening Center
950 New Hampshire Avenue
Washington, DC 20052


Press who wish to attend must register with Kathy Fackelmann at or Jeanne Saddler at