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Tuesday, October 19  |  Friday, October 22

Health Education and Health Care Disparities:
A Critical Look at an Interdisciplinary Approach to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Tuesday, October 19 at 1 pm
MART Auditorium  (East Campus) 

That health care practice, health outcomes, and health research disparities adversely affect underrepresented groups, (including but not limited to, race/ethnicity, physical ability, LGBTQIA+, age, geographic location, etc.), has been well researched and established. Eliminating disparities in health care and health outcomes requires an understanding of the determinants of disease, causes of health disparities, and effective interventions for prevention and treatment.

In order to achieve these goals, it is imperative that stakeholders and thought leaders work collectively to achieve equitable health care and optimal health outcomes for underrepresented populations, as well as preeminent education and research opportunities for students. To that end, and in celebration of the inauguration of our President Maurie McInnis, this mini-symposium, presented as an interdisciplinary and collaborative effort from several schools within the Health Science Center, will discuss the panel's efforts to reduce such disparities.

Directions and Parking:

For GPS: Stony Brook Medicine
101 Nicolls Road
Stony Brook, NY 11794

Take the Long Island Expressway (LIE, I-495) Eastbound from the Queens Midtown Tunnel in Manhattan or the Throgs Neck Bridge or Whitestone Bridge in Queens to Exit 62 - Nicolls Road North (Route 97) 8½ miles. The main entrance to Stony Brook University Hospital and The Health Sciences is on the right. Follow signs to Garage Parking.

jennie williamsErasing Health Inequalities
Jennie Williams, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Family, Population and Preventive Medicine

Dr. Williams’ research focus is cancer chemoprevention/chemotherapy.  She investigates the chemopreventive/therapeutic properties of  Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory drugs (NO-NSAIDs) and its formulated derivatives as well as novel natural agents against cancer ignition and progression. Concurrently, she is addressing the underlying genetic/regulatory causes associated with cancer racial disparity; a major health concern in this nation. As such, Dr. Williams’ group is assessing social influences, the dysregulation of gene expression, and aberrant DNA methylation as factors influencing racial health disparity in incidence and mortality rates of cancers. In addition, she serves as the Assistant Dean for Student Diversity at the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University and the Associate Director for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the SBU Cancer Center. The overall actionable goals of these position are to enhance diversity through active recruitment and retention, generation of diversity awareness in research, and improvement of culture competency in the workforce.


hector alcalaRacial and Social Determinates of Health
Hector E. Alcala, PhD, MPH
Assistant Professor, Department of Family, Population and Preventive Medicine, Program in Public Health

Dr. Alcalá studies the impact of early life adversity on health. In particular, he examines how adversity impacts cancer risk and known correlates of cancer like smoking, cancer screening and use of other preventive health services. Dr. Alcalá’s research also focuses on health disparities, with a strong focus on racial and ethnic disparities. This work explores differences between broad racial categories, examines how policies have impacted these disparities, and examines the heterogeneity that exists within racial and ethnic groups. In this research, he has investigated a variety of outcomes including access and utilization of health care, arrests, tobacco use and dietary behaviors. 


lisa johnsonCreating Inclusive and Equitable Learning Spaces
Lisa Johnson, MS, RT, RRT-NPS
Chair, Department of Respiratory Care
Program Director, Respiratory Care and Polysomnographic Specialty Option Programs
Clinical Associate Professor

Lisa Johnson is a Clinical Associate Professor, Chair of the Respiratory Care Department, and Program Director of the Respiratory Care Program in the School of Health Technology and Management (SHTM) at Stony Brook University. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in respiratory therapy from Quinnipiac University and received an Advanced Graduate Certificate in Community Health and a Master’s of Science degree in Health Care, Policy and Management from Stony Brook University. Her responsibilities include teaching, advisement of students, faculty mentor, and serving on committees in the School of Health Technology and Management and campus-wide. Ms. Johnson's passion for teaching and inspiring others about the respiratory care profession has led to professional service not only within Stony Brook University but has also reached into various communities on Long Island and abroad.


adam gonzalezPromoting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Stony Brook Medicine
Adam Gonzalez, PhD
Founding Director, Mind-Body Clinical Research Center
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry

Adam Gonzalez is a licensed clinical psychologist and the Founding Director of the Mind-Body Clinical Research Center. He is an expert in cognitive behavioral treatment for mood and anxiety disorders, dialectical behavior therapy, relaxation/mindfulness-based treatments and behavioral medicine. His program of research focuses on understanding the interplay of cognitive, emotional and behavioral health factors that may affect physical and mental health, as well as disease management among chronically ill populations.

In addition to his responsibilities with the Mind-Body Clinical Research Center, Dr. Gonzalez is also the Co-Director of the Stony Brook University Consortium Pre- and Post-Doctoral Training programs in clinical psychology and the Co-Director of the Center for Disaster Health, Trauma & Resilience. 

Tackling Inequality in Higher Education: Past & Present

Inaugural Symposium
Friday, October 22 at 3 pm
Simons Center, Della Pietra Family Auditorium
Reception immediately following 

To celebrate the inauguration of Maurie McInnis as Stony Brook University’s new president, this symposium honors her accomplishments as a national leader in higher education and as an historian, including as author/editor of Educated in Tyranny: Slavery at Thomas Jefferson's University. The event will illuminate the historical context and lasting impacts of inequities in students’ preparedness, resources, and access to college and graduate school. Upon taking the helm of Long Island’s flagship SUNY campus, President McInnis also renewed her long-standing commitment to advancing equality in higher education.  

The symposium will feature Dawn Medley, vice provost for enrollment management and retention at Stony Brook University; Edward Ayers, professor of Humanities and president emeritus of the University of Richmond, and author of numerous award-winning books about American history; Casey Nguyen of the Education Trust-New York, an advocacy organization dedicated to improving educational outcomes for children from kindergarten to college; VanJessica Gladney, a PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania, who has researched its institutional ties to slavery for the “Penn & Slavery Project” and served as a community liaison to share these findings with the public; and Jennifer Anderson, professor of history at Stony Brook University, whose current scholarship focuses on the roots of racial segregation and economic inequality on Long Island.

Directions and Parking:

For GPS: Stony Brook Simons Center for Geometry and Physics

Take the Long Island Expressway (LIE, I-495) Eastbound from the Queens Midtown Tunnel in Manhattan or the Throgs Neck Bridge or Whitestone Bridge in Queens to Exit 62 - Nicolls Road North (Route 97) 8½ miles. Turn left onto Shirley Kenny Drive to the main entrance of Stony Brook. Head northwest on Shirley Kenny Drive toward Circle Rd. Turn left onto Circle Road. At the traffic circle, take the 1st exit and stay on Circle Road. Turn right onto Campus Drive.Turn left onto John S. Toll Drive. Turn right. Make a slight right. The Simons Center for Geometry and Physics will be on your left. Please park in the lot to the right that does not have a barrier in front of it (also known as the Mathematics lot).


edward ayersEdward Ayers, Professor of the Humanities and President Emeritus at the University of Richmond, has written and edited twelve books, including In the Presence of Mine Enemies: Civil War in the Heart of America, winner of the Bancroft Prize and the Beveridge Prize; and The Promise of the New South: Life After Reconstruction, a finalist for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, and, most recently, The Thin Light of Freedom: The Civil War and Emancipation in the Heart of America.

He has also served as president of the Organization of American Historians and been named National Professor of the Year. In 2013, he received the National Humanities Medal from President Obama, who hailed Ayers’ “commitment to making our history as widely available and accessible as possible.”


dawn medley

Dawn Medley is the Vice Provost for Enrollment Management and Retention at Stony Brook University. Medley leads all international and domestic enrollment efforts at the undergraduate and graduate levels, is the chief enrollment and financial aid officer for the institution and is responsible for all incoming student marketing and communication.  Prior to joining Stony Brook, she was the Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management at Wayne State University (WSU).  Prior to WSU, Dawn served as a vice-president at St. Andrews University, Warren Wilson College, Forest Institute and was chief enrollment officer at the University of Arkansas.  She worked in enrollment and financial aid at Missouri S & T and Southeast Missouri State University. Dawn has a B.S. in English education from University of Missouri, a Master’s in Administration from Southeast Missouri State University, and an Ed.S. from Lindenwood University.  She is currently completing her doctorate in educational leadership with research focused on student debt mitigation. Dawn is expert in financial aid, access, innovative support systems for students, technology for student engagement, and is a nationally recognized leader in financial aid solutions and technology adoption for enrollment management. 

vanjessica gladneyVanJessica Gladney, a doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania, has worked with the Penn & Slavery Project since its first semester. As an undergraduate, she researched the eighteenth-century connections between slavery and Penn's original and current campuses, as well as the activities of its slaveholding trustees and faculty members.

After graduating in 2018, she served as the Provost's Public History Fellow, presenting information about the project to members of the greater Philadelphia community. Over the summer of 2019, she assisted with the design of an Augmented Reality mobile application which will feature student work.

Currently, she manages the project's website, speaks at campus events on behalf of the project, and is pursuing a PhD in Penn's History Department. 

jennifer andersonJennifer L. Anderson is Associate Professor of History at Stony Brook University. She has an MA from the Winterthur Program in Early American Culture and a PhD in Atlantic and Early American History from New York University. She is the author of Mahogany: The Costs of Luxury in Early America (Harvard Univ. Press, 2012) about the social and environmental history of the tropical timber trade in the 18th century. In 2013, she curated an exhibition at New York University about Sylvester Manor, a 17th century plantation in New York, and in 2019 served as an Adviser for Long Island Museum’s exhibition: “Long Road to Freedom: Surviving Slavery on Long Island.” She has received many fellowships and awards, including the Society of American Historians’ Nevins Prize, the Murrin Prize from the McNeil Center for Early American Study, a Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellowship, and a Scholars and Society Fellowship from the American Counsel of Learned Societies. She also shared an Emmy nomination for research on “Traces of the Trade,” a documentary about the Northern slave trade. Strongly committed to public history, she serves as a historical consultant at numerous historic sites and museums.

casey nguyenCasey Nguyen is a Data and Policy Analyst with the Education Trust-New York. Her responsibilities include collecting and analyzing data to support its mission of improving educational experiences and outcomes for postsecondary students, especially low-income and students of color. As the daughter of Vietnamese immigrants, she was encouraged to value education as a driver of opportunity. After receiving her BA in Community Development and Asian American Studies from the University of California-Davis, she earned an MA in Education Policy from Teachers College, Columbia University, where she participated in initiatives to enhance faculty diversity and an NSF-funded study to evaluate college outcomes for low-income students. Prior to joining the Education Trust, she served as Development Coordinator for The Opportunity Network, which is dedicated to improving college access, academic achievement, and career-readiness for students under-represented in higher education.