Public health leader to deliver Clyburn Lecture at UofSC April 18

Addressing health inequities at a time of chaos and privilege will be the focus of the 10th annual James E. Clyburn Health Disparities Lecture April 18 at the University of South Carolina.

Natalie S. Burke, President and CEO of CommonHealth ACTION, a national public health organization that develops people and organizations to produce health through equitable policies, programs, and practices, will deliver the keynote at 10 a.m. in the university’s Alumni Center, located at 900 Senate St. The event is free and open to the public.

Burke’s talk, titled “Health Equity in the Age of Chaos, Privilege and Bravery,” will explore the factors that have created health inequities and the role that citizens and public health leaders can play to ensure that all people have the opportunities to achieve their best possible health and their best possible lives.    

“Since the inception of our nation, inequities in health have been persistent threats to our communities, to our people — to us,” Burke says. “They reflect systemic flaws and abnormalities in the economic, social and moral fabric of our country — rooted in systems of privilege and oppression. To end those threats to our society, we need to find new solutions to old problems.”

Burke says those new solutions require leaders across sectors, disciplines and in communities to challenge widely accepted information, language and sometimes deeply held beliefs. She says making systems and institutions equitable, diverse and inclusive is the starting point.

Burke’s career has focused on viewing health as a product of complex interactions among systems and factors that include education, employment, environment, access to technology, housing, transportation and healthcare.

Rep. James Clyburn and Sen. Ernest F. Hollings helped establish the Arnold School of Public Health’s Institute for Partnerships to Eliminate Health Disparities in 2003. The Clyburn Lecture brings together researchers, health care professionals and community leaders committed to health equity.

The lecture is co-sponsored by Arnold School’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Department of Health Services Policy and Management, the university’s Center for Civil Rights History and Research and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Office of Health Equity.

For more information, contact David S. Simmons at or 803-777-8282.

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