Health Care Data Researcher on Minority Populations to Give Lecture Thursday

February 27, 2008

Media Contact:
Judith Lunsford
(678-547-6425) 

ATLANTA – Gary A. Puckrein, Ph.D., a nationally recognized leader in collecting and organizing health care data on minority populations, will deliver the 2008 G. Van Greene Distinguished Lecture at 11 a.m. on Thursday, March 20, on the Atlanta campus of Mercer University, 3001 Mercer University Drive. Puckrein will speak on “Building a 21st Century Health Care System.” The lecture is free and open to the public.

Puckrein founded the National Minority Quality Forum, of which he serves as president and chief executive officer, in 1998. The goal of the not-for-profit organization is to strengthen the capacity of local communities to eliminate the disproportionate burden of premature death and preventable illness in minority populations through prevention, early detection and control of disease complications.

“The College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences is honored to have such a distinguished researcher speak on addressing today’s health care needs among our nation’s minority populations,” said Dean H.W. “Ted” Matthews. “Health care is a major concern across this nation, and Dr. Puckrein is providing valuable information that is enabling the health care profession to address this critical need in a more effective manner.”

The National Minority Quality Forum Inc. has developed a variety of data tools to gain a clearer understanding of health care needs in specific areas. The Forum’s Zip Code Analysis Project, supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is a comprehensive database that links vital statistics—including demographic, environmental, claims, prescription, laboratory, hospital and clinical data—in a centralized data warehouse, organized around zip codes. It has enabled the Forum to develop the Health Assessment Tool that measures and forecasts health status in small geographic areas, evaluates the impact of specific interventions, monitors changes in health outcomes, and undertakes risk assessments.

He also serves as the acting Executive Director of the Alliance of Minority Medical Associations, which is a collaborative effort of the Asian and Pacific Physicians' Association, the Association of American Indian Physicians, the InterAmerican College of Physicians and Surgeons, and the National Medical Association. AMMA was formed on the basis of evidence based data that highlight significant disparities in health care treatment plans and outcomes among many underserved populations within the United States.

Puckrein serves on numerous boards, including the National Advisory Board on Health Disparities for the Health Research and Educational Trust of the American Hospital Association, the CLAS/Health Disparities Expert Panel of the National Committee for Quality Assurance, and the Pharmacy Education Advisory Council of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.

About the Lectureship:
The annual lectureship brings world-renowned health care leaders to Mercer to discuss contemporary topics in pharmacy and the health sciences. It is named in honor of Dr. G. Van Greene, who has generously supported Mercer and the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences with his gifts and leadership. Greene has been associated with Mercer University since the 1950s, when he and his wife, Minta, established a scholarship for undergraduate students in honor of her father, Mercer graduate I.W. Jackson, class of 1901. In addition to two undergraduate scholarships for Mercer students, the Greenes established the G. Van and Minta J. Greene Endowed Scholarship for pharmacy students. He endowed the distinguished lectureship in 2005.

About the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences:
Mercer University’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences has a century-long tradition of excellence and a national reputation for producing outstanding leaders in the profession of pharmacy. In September 1981, the College became the first pharmacy school in the Southeast and fifth in the nation to offer the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) as its sole professional degree. The College also offers the Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences. In January 2008, the College accepted the inaugural class in its Physician Assistant program. 

About Mercer University
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University has 7,300 students; 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies; major campuses in Macon and Atlanta; four regional academic centers across the state; a university press; two teaching hospitals — Memorial Health University Medical Center and the Medical Center of Central Georgia; educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta; an engineering research center in Warner Robins; a performing arts center in Macon; and a NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit
www.mercer.edu .
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