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Lecture: ‘Building a Healthier America’

Tuesday, January 13, 2009JOHNSON CITY – Harvard Professor Dr. David R. Williams will present “Building a Healthier America,” a lecture and community meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 20, at 7 p.m., hosted by East Tennessee State University’s College of Public Health.

The event, part of ETSU’s Leading Voices in Public Health Lecture Series, will be held in the Grand Soldiers Ballroom at the Carnegie Hotel. Joining Williams will be members of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America. Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a member of the commission, will introduce Williams at the lecture. An extended question-answer session is planned for community members to address the commission on important health issues in the region.

Williams is the Florence and Laura Norman Professor of Public Health at the Harvard School of Public Health and professor of African and African American Studies and of Sociology. He is also staff director for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America. He previously held academic appointments with Yale University and the University of Michigan.

An internationally recognized authority on social influences on health, Williams has focused his research on trends and determinants of socioeconomic and racial disparities in health, the effects of racism on health, and the ways in which religious involvement can affect health. He is the author of more than 180 scholarly papers in scientific journals and edited collections, and his research has appeared in leading journals in the fields of sociology, psychology, medicine, public health and epidemiology.

In addition, he has served as a member of the editorial board of 10 scientific journals and as a reviewer for more than 50 others. According to ISI Essential Science Indicators, he was named one of the Top 10 Most Cited Researchers in the Social Sciences during the decade of 1995-2005. The Journal of Black Issues in Higher Education ranked him as the second most cited black scholar in the social sciences in 2006 and 2007. He is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Williams has been involved in the development of U.S. health policy at the national level. He has served on the Department of Health and Human Services’ National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics and on six panels for the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. He has held elected and appointed positions in such professional organizations as the American Sociological Association, AcademyHealth, and the American Public Health Association. Presently, he is a member of the MacArthur Foundation’s Research Network on Socioeconomic Status and Health.

Williams’ current research includes studying the health of Black Caribbean immigrants in the U.S., examining how race-related stressors can affect health, and assessing the ways in which religious involvement is related to health.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information or special assistance for those with disabilities, call (423) 439-4243.


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