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April 25, 2003


The 7th Annual Health Disparities Community Conference: Emory Conference To Teach Fitness & Wellness With Interactive Workshops

Gym shorts, sweatpants and t-shirts are the suggested attire for this year’s 7th Annual Health Disparities Community Conference, "Wellness…Making People Healthy." The event is sponsored by Emory Healthcare and will feature interactive workshops taught by fitness leaders in the local Atlanta area, including Lee Haney, former eight time title holder of "Mr. Olympia."

The May 3 conference will be held at the Holiday Inn Select Hotel in downtown Decatur from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

As director of the Office of Community Affairs and Market Development, Don Speaks has worked with Emory Healthcare for nine years to make health services and information available to the local community. His goal has been not only to educate, but ensure that people ­ especially minorities and the underserved -- utilize the services.

"The conference is an avenue to empower citizens to make a lifetime commitment to healthy lifestyle choices," Speaks says. "We’ve created a forum for people to share what has worked for them. There are many innovative ideas that may not be conventional wisdom so the conference will be an environment where we can cross-pollinate these ideas."

Haney serves as the community chairman for this year’s conference. "The state of physical fitness is something to cherish and behold," he says. "To be able to get one’s self in a state of physical fitness is one of the most unique experiences in life. And we can all have that experience."

Three workshops have been designed to encourage participation by attendees:
  • Donna Goodman-Greene and Dr. David Moore will lead "Nutrition and Diet: How to Eat to Live Instead of Living to Eat." The facilitators will discuss healthy eating from the food groups and lead cooking demonstrations.
  • Flexibility expert Trevor Pace and other fitness and training specialists will demonstrate how to incorporate low impact aerobics, walking and running into a fitness routine with "Wellness: How To Get Started."
  • And for people already into an established physical fitness routine but desirous of moving to the next level, Denise Blount and Haney will lead "So You’re Serious?" They will introduce more advanced exercise techniques.

Other workshops will examine the national and local data relating to minority health and the unique issues of men’s and women’s health. Together the workshops will discuss the barriers that prevent men, women, minorities from being well and how to remove them.

Former CDC Director Jeffrey Koplan, MD, of Emory University’s Woodruff Health Sciences Center, and local internal medicine physician Christopher Leggette, MD are serving as the medical co-chairs for the event. Both Dr. Koplan and Dr. Leggette believe in the empowerment of the community as a beginning step to taking responsibility for its health and wellness, Speaks says.

The 7th Annual Health Disparities Community Conference is co-sponsored by Emory Healthcare and the American Heart Association.

Each year, the Health Disparities Community Conference focuses on health issues that are pervasive in African-American communities. Past conferences have addressed cancer, HIV/AIDS, heart disease, prostate, youth violence and organ and tissue donation.

"Wellness…Making People Healthy" will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Select Hotel in downtown Decatur. For more information about the conference or to register, interested persons can call 404-778-3033 or (404) 778-5433. Registration can also be completed on the conference web site at


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