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Dr. Aletha Maybank to Discuss Racial Equity and Social Justice in Health Care

By Betsy Hnath

Ideally good health care, and access to it, should remain consistent regardless of class or color. However, widespread racial equity and social justice disparities continue nationwide.

On Feb. 15, Dr. Aletha Maybank, M.D., MPH, a deputy commissioner in the New York City Department of Health and founding director of the Center for Health Equity, will visit Old Dominion University to discuss her experiences with how health discrepancies arise, and how communities best work together to combat them.

Though trained as a pediatrician, Maybank felt the traditional, private-practice setting prevented conversations about all of the outside factors that can affect a person's health. Instead, she favored a career in public health.

"It's more than just what happens in a doctor's office: It's about all these other things that happen in their community like where someone lives, where somebody goes to school, how much money they make, and what job they have," Maybank said. "I wanted to focus on government and policy, because I think policy is one of the most effective ways to change a community's behavior when it comes to health."

Maybank holds a BA from Johns Hopkins University, a M.D. from Temple University School of Medicine, and a MPH from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

She is a founding board member of the Artemis Medical Society, an international mentoring, networking, and advocacy organization of over 3,500 Black female physicians, and has served as a health contributor to Ebony.com and Arise TV. Maybank has also appeared on MSNBC, BET, and HuffPost Live.

A panel conversation on health and social justice in Hampton Roads featuring Maybank, Kimberly Adams Tufts, Old Dominion's associate dean for IPE and Evaluation; L.D. Britt, M.D., MPH, EVMS Henry Ford Professor and Edward J. Brickhouse Chairman; and Mekbib Gemeda, vice president for Diversity and Inclusion at EVMS, will follow Maybank's presentation.

"For healthcare to be made equitable, it must be placed in conversation with a long and troubled history of racism, classism, and xenophobia, which affects how communities not only access, but also interpret and trust the health services available to them," said Avi Santo, associate professor of communication and director of Old Dominion's Institute of the Humanities. "This event will offer an important opportunity for conversation about the intersections of healthcare and social justice in Hampton Roads. Having Dr. Maybank is an exciting opportunity to compare notes and explore how these issues are currently being addressed by the Center for Health Equity in New York City, under her guidance."

The event is scheduled for 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. in the Strome Entrepreneurial Center, located at 1006 Visual Arts Building in Norfolk. It is free and open to the public.

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