Health Care Data Researcher to Give March 20 Van Greene Lectures

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.

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