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Public Affairs

Health of minority adolescents focus of SFSU forum

May 3, 2004

Photo of keynote speaker Ana Mari CauceThe César Chávez Research-Practice Forum, held at the Seven Hills Conference Center on April 23, brought together about 120 SFSU faculty, Bay Area health-care providers and students whose academic experience relates to health care and youth of color.

Participants in the one-day event generated ideas on how to bridge the gap between medical research in academia and actual medical practice in the community.

"The major benefit of the forum is the meaningful linking of faculty members with community service providers," said Rafael Dìaz, director of the César E. Chávez Institute and professor of ethnic studies. "This linkage of academic research and community services will result in research that is more sensitive to the needs of the community, and community programs that are more research-based and properly evaluated. Such linking efforts will definitely result in better and more relevant programs for youth."

"Our nation is becoming increasingly aware that ethnic disparities in health care are real," said SFSU President Robert A. Corrigan, who praised forum planners and participants in the first speech of the day.

Ethnic youth encounter barriers to getting health care, said keynote speaker Ana Mari Cauce, the Earl R. Carlson Professor of Psychology and American Ethnic Studies Department chair at the University of Washington. Cauce demonstrated strong ethnic disparities among youth in accessing mental health care, and pointed out that minority youth are under represented in medical research.

Miriam Martinez, associate clinical professor and director of the Division of Infant, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at University of California, San Francisco, spoke about the importance of early intervention in young lives. Faye Belgrave described "Project Naja," a Richmond, Va.-based HIV and drug-abuse program that incorporates Afrocentric values into its curriculum.

A panel of staff members from Berkeley-based Youth Radio was the last to present, with a documentary film showing the daily operation of the radio station and speeches about the importance of youth perspectives in research design and practice.

Forum planning committee member Caitlin Ryan, director of adolescent health initiatives for the César E. Chávez Institute, said the key message of the forum was that "(health) services must be youth-centered and include youth in the planning and that collaboration is essential to develop services that meet the needs of adolescents from a wide range of cultural backgrounds."

The forum was sponsored by the César E. Chávez Institute and the Marian Wright Edelman Institute for Children, Youth and Families.

-- Public Affairs Student Writer Elizabeth Davis with Matt Itelson


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