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Lecture Explores African American Health Issues

Health Disparities for African Americans is Topic of Talk

Dr. Ernest Levister, Jr. will speak about the training of African American physicians and biomedical scientists

(March 3, 2008)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( -- Dr. Ernest C. Levister, Jr. will be speaking at the University of California, Riverside at 5 p.m. Thursday, March 6 in room 1208 Olmsted Hall.

He is the first speaker in a free public lecture series focusing on health disparities in the African American community. The title of his talk is “Impacting Health Care Disparities: A Case for Diversity: University of California Riverside.”

He will address barriers to the training of African American physicians and biomedical scientists and what can be done to overcome those barriers.

Dr. Levister is a physician in San Bernardino, and the Chair of the James Wesley Vines, Jr. M.D. Medical Society Foundation.

Health disparities have been documented in the United States for over 100 years. In 1906, W.E.B. DuBois reported, in The Philadelphia Negro, an excess of Black (compared to White) deaths from heart disease, stillbirths, consumption, and other ailments.

In the mid 1980s, Dr. Margaret Heckler, then Secretary of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, commissioned a special task force to investigate the excessive death rate of Black Americans.

And, again in 2003, the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) landmark report, Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Healthcare, presented clear evidence that African Americans receive differential treatment in healthcare and that this differential treatment results in adverse health outcomes.

“This situation has worsened with an epidemic of increasing obesity within the African American community,” said Carolyn B. Murray, professor of psychology at UC Riverside and the coordinator of the series. “Both the causes and the solutions are complex, ranging from lifestyle choices to bias within the healthcare delivery system.” She said she will bring other speakers in during 2008 to address this issue.

The talk is free but parking on campus requires a permit. Visit the parking kiosks to purchase a permit.


The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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