Health Equity

Mercer, DeKalb County Board of Health, Morehouse School of Medicine, Piedmont Healthcare Partnering on Interprofessional Health Equity Conference

Dr. Thomas LaVeist

Dr. Thomas LaVeist

ATLANTA – Mercer University will host “Health Equity: Principles and Practice” interprofessional health conference March 25, 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m., on the Cecil B. Day Graduate and Professional Campus in Atlanta.

Mercer’s College of Health Professions is partnering with the DeKalb County Board of Health, Morehouse School of Medicine, Piedmont Healthcare and Mercer’s College of Nursing to provide this opportunity for healthcare professionals, preceptors, instructors and students to learn about health equity in an interprofessional setting.

Health equity, according to the World Health Organization, “implies that ideally everyone should have a fair opportunity to attain their full health potential and that no one should be disadvantaged from achieving this potential.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that “health inequities are reflected in differences in length of life; quality of life; rates of disease, disability and death; severity of disease; and access to treatment.”

“There is a need for a common understanding and language around the topic of health equity,” said Dr. Nannette Turner, professor and chair of the Department of Public Health in Mercer’s College of Health Professions. “We want to provide a health equity lens for health practitioners, students and academicians to approach their training and work so communities can experience the best health outcomes possible.”

Dr. Donna Peterson

Dr. Donna Peterson

Mercer’s undergraduate and graduate public health programs, accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health, focuses on diverse populations and health equity. The conference, Dr. Turner said, is a “natural outgrowth” of the programs’ concentration and provides a “unique opportunity” due to its interprofessional approach to the subject matter.

Topics addressed will include common understanding of health equity; understanding privilege, implicit bias and fragility; health equity in the classroom; and health equity in practice.

Keynote speakers will include Dr. Thomas LaVeist, dean, professor and Weatherhead Presidential Chair in Health Equity in the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at Tulane University, as well as Dr. Donna Peterson, senior associate vice president and dean of the College of Public Health at the University of South Florida.

Dr. LaVeist earned master’s and doctoral degrees in sociology and medical sociology, respectively, from the University of Michigan. His research and writing addresses racial disparities in health-related outcomes, and his areas of expertise include U.S. health and social policy, the role of race in health research, social factors contributing to mortality, longevity and life expectancy, and the utilization of health services.

Dr. Peterson earned master’s and doctoral degrees in maternal and child health from John Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health. She is the author of numerous publications, book chapters and a textbook on needs assessment in public health, and she is a frequent lecturer on topics related to educational innovation in public health, maternal and child health, healthcare reform, and systems change and leadership.

Registration for the conference is available online. General admission is $50, and student admission is $25. Lunch will be provided. For more information, contact Barbara Love-Smith at or (678) 547-6492.

About the College of Health Professions

Mercer University’s College of Health Professions is composed of five disciplines: physical therapy, physician assistant studies, public health, clinical psychology, and athletic training. The College offers a doctoral-level physical therapy program, master’s-level physician assistant program, bachelor’s- and master’s-level public health programs, doctoral-level program in clinical psychology, and master’s-level athletic training program. The Department of Physical Therapy offers residencies in orthopaedic, neurologic and cardiovascular/pulmonary physical therapy; a fellowship in orthopaedic manual physical therapy; and an onsite clinic. Each program is housed in a department that provides students with comprehensive didactic courses taught by an extraordinary faculty and extensive clinical experience enhanced by outstanding service-learning opportunities. For more information, visit