Dr. William R. Harvey, President
Hampton University

Of the over 42 million immigrants in the United States, the majority are of Caribbean descent. Health disparities in Caribbean populations are rampant and the Caribbean region has high rates of preventable and premature death and illness due to the burden of non-communicable diseases. Data suggests that health disparities in the U.S. and in the Caribbean share similarities in terms of underlying causes. However, there are unique cultural, political, social, and environmental factors in both regions that influence health status and outcomes that are not well understood.

Today, there is increasing recognition that health disparities are multifactorial.  Social and environmental elements, as well as genetics, surround people and play a crucial role in their health outcomes. As such, the research is clear: healthcare must encompass more than simply treating illnesses; it must also identify the factors that cause these diseases and conditions and directly address them. Despite this clear health crisis, very little research has examined the effect of social and biological determinants of health (e.g. age, gender, socioeconomic status, geographic location, place of birth/residence, etc.) on differential disease patterns, disease prevalence, and mortality among these populations.

It is with these disparities in mind that Hampton University established the dual long-term goals of: 1) addressing the social, environmental, and biological determinants of health for Caribbean populations through research and education; and 2) establishing itself as a Center of Excellence in Caribbean Health Equity.  As we “hit the ground running” to reach these goals, we will host the 1st Annual Caribbean Health Disparities Conference and Research Symposium April 16 – 18, 2019 on the Hampton University campus.  The conference is sponsored in part, by a grant from the National Institute of Health – National Institute on Minority Health and Disparities (#R13MD012764-01), providing an exciting array of innovative topics and opportunities for fertile and informative networking.

Hampton University is a dynamic, progressive institution of higher education, providing a broad range of technical, liberal arts, and graduate degree programs. Hampton exemplifies and upholds the tradition of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) through its commitment to providing a high quality education to African American and other racial and ethnic minority students in a supportive and challenging community of teachers and researchers.