HEALTH: A Call to Action



Bringing together health professionals, scientists, community leaders, policy makers, stakeholders, and more from around Texas to:

  1. Disseminate best practices for preventing and treating chronic diseases in diverse community settings
  2. Foster intellectual incubators that generate novel solutions to current health challenges
  3. Build sustainable partnerships and resources to coordinate activities aimed at achieving health equity

Areas of Focus
Thematic areas of health equity focus around prevention, detection, treatment, and survivorship of:

  • Cancer, including screening, early detection, novel treatments, and survivorship
  • Diabetes, with a focus on racial/ethnic disparities and prevention
  • Mental Health, including disparities in treatment and access to care and comorbid disorders
  • Obesity, including prevention, nutrition, and physical activity
  • Substance Use, specifically disparities in substance use disorders and treatment

Registration Options

  • General: working professional or non-student interested in attending the conference
  • Student: undergraduate or graduate student interested in attending the conference
  • Vendor: organization or business interested in vending/tabling at the pop-up shop
  • Volunteer: University of Houston Faculty, staff, students, and community members interested in helping the conference planning team


Reasons to Attend

Wondering why you should attend? This conference is a great opportunity for:

  • Academics to foster collaborative relationships with community decision makers. 
  • Community Leaders and Service Providers to participate in progressive and unfiltered conversations with policy makers, researchers, community members, and public health professionals.
  • Students to learn about the current health issues affecting our community and find ways to get involved.


Pre-Conference Schedule

January 30
University of Houston-Main Campus
KIVA Room - Farish Hall

Time Session
4:00 pm


4:15 pm


Developing Best Practices for Training Community Leaders to Advance Health Equity Initiatives
Presented by the HEALTH Research Institute

7:00 pm


Conference Schedule

January 31
University of Houston-Main Campus
Houston Room - Student Center South
View Building Map (2nd floor)

Time Session
8:00 am


8:45 am

Official Welcome

9:00 am

Keynote Address

Andrea Caracostis, MD, MPH
CEO of HOPE Clinic

9:45 am

Breakout Session 1

A comprehensive approach for obesity management in primary care settings
Nikhil Dhurandhar, PhD, FTOS
Texas Tech University
Leah Whigham, PhD, FTOS
UTHealth School of Public Health El Paso


Be Well Communities: Mobilizing communities for health
Ruth Rechis, PhD
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center


Behavioral health among Latinx adults: Findings from the Health of Houston Survey and related initiatives
Virmarie Correa-Fernandez, PhD
University of Houston

11:00 am

Breakout Session 2

Using a medical home for youth as a social determinant portal for employment
Peggy B. Smith, MA, PhD
Baylor College of Medicine


Equity in the Local Food System
Emily Foxman (Urban Harvest), Tyler Froberg(Recipe for Success), Nick DeBrock (Recipe for Success, Hope Farms), Karim Alston (GREEN), Jorge Olvera (GREEN)


The intersection between Housing and Health
Maria Aguirre-Borrero
Avenue (formerly Avenue CDC)

12:00 pm

Vendor Tables and Student Poster Session Open for Attendees

12:30 pm


1:00 pm

Afternoon Keynote Address

Dr. Salil Deshpande
Chief Medical Officer of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Texas

1:45 pm

Breakout Session 3

Addressing Health Disparities in Specialty Care: Strutt MacDonald Service Model for Equitable Healthcare
Adriana M. Strutt, PhD, ABPP
Baylor College of Medicine


Using Social Determinants of Health to Implement a HIV/Teen Pregnancy Intervention Through Community and School Partnerships
Jeffery Guidry, PhDShera Williams-Jennings, PhD, MSWEdward Reddics
Change Happens!


Reaching the Hard to Reach-Using Mobile Clinics to Care for the Underserved
Margo Melchor, RDH, MEd, EdD
UTHealth School of Dentistry at Houston
Sanghamitra Misra, MD, FAAP, ABIHM
Baylor College of Medicine

3:00 pm

Panel Discussions

Uncovering needs in local communities while conducting health equity work and finding collaborative solutions
Allison Rosen, MS, Baylor College of Medicine
Felicia Latson, LCSW-S, Legacy Community Health
Helen Stagg, MSW, LMSW, CPS, Change Happens!
Diane Arms, Avenue 360
Robiel Abraha, MSPH, Episcopal Health Foundation


Collaborative work across communities and how to create the most meaningful impact through coalitions
Daphne Hernandez, PhD, MSEd, FAAHB (Moderator), UTHealth Cizik School of Nursing
Shane Chen, Asian American Health Coalition
Sherea Cary, African American Health Coalition
Norma Olvera PhD, MA, Hispanic Health Coalition

4:30 pm

Closing Remarks


University of Houston - Main Campus

29.712749, -95.34137


Conference attendees that are guests to UH central campus should park at the Welcome Center garage (4434 University Dr., Houston, TX 77204). You will be provided a parking validation ticket. Please see map below. Parking validation tickets will not be available for conference attendees that are UH central campus faculty, staff, and students.

parking map
Yes, you can register on-site but keep in mind that we have a limited number of seats. Only credit card payments are accepted.
Please email any questions or comments to
Non-students fall under General Registration. Individuals that are professionals, academics, community members, etc.
Yes. Snapper Jack’s catering will provide non-vegetarian and vegetarian options.