Distinguished Seminar Series resumes with a focus on health disparities


Published November 4, 2020

Jessica Reynolds.
“The special focus for fall 2020 is on two important topics in clinical and translational research: health disparities and the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Since its start in 2017, the University at Buffalo Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) Distinguished Seminar Series has featured top experts in their respective fields speaking on a diverse range of topics. On November 17, the series resumes virtually with Deidra Crews, MD, ScM, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Nephrology, and Associate Director for Research Development, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Equity, at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Crews will speak on a topic of vital importance in Western New York and beyond: “The Pursuit of Structurally Competent Research to Achieve Health Equity.” The free seminar will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. online via Zoom; find more information and registration link here.

Serving as faculty leader for the series is Jessica Reynolds, PhD, Associate Director of the CTSI’s Workforce Development Core, co-investigator of the CTSI K Scholars Program, and Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. She says that current events helped solidify the season’s thematic approach.

“The special focus for fall 2020 is on two important topics in clinical and translational research: health disparities and the COVID-19 pandemic,” Reynolds says.     

Kicking things off on November 17 is Crews, who has received national recognition for her work addressing health equity and disparities. Her seminar will address disparities in health outcomes, using kidney disease as an example.

“I will highlight structural inequities, and specifically structural racism, as root causes of these disparities,” Crews says. “In addition, I will point to opportunities to enhance our structural competence in each of our settings towards achieving health equity.”

Lining up the series speakers involves finding recognized experts with an ability to tackle pressing research issues. Reynolds describes the selection process as seeking out “internationally renowned investigators with expertise in the latest discoveries in clinical and translational research.”

This description fits Crews, the series’ opening speaker, perfectly.

“Dr. Crews is an outstanding example of a clinician investigator performing translational research in health disparities,” Reynolds explains. “She can provide valuable knowledge and insight to investigators here at UB.”

Two additional Distinguished Seminar Series lectures are scheduled for December. Ann Regina Falsey, MD, Professor of Medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, will discuss “The Road to a COVID Vaccine” on December 1. And on December 7, Gonzalo Bearman, MD, MPH, Professor and Chair, Division of Infectious Diseases and Hospital Epidemiologist/Medical Director of VCU Healthcare Infection Prevention Program, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, will present on COVID-19 and health disparities. Bearman, who received his medical degree from UB in 1997, returns to the university as a role model for the emerging new generation of graduate and medical students, residents and junior faculty.

The series will expand into 2021, and Reynolds says the plan is to “further engage our community by inviting internationally renowned investigators in clinical and translational research.”

For questions about the Distinguished Seminar Series, contact scholar1@buffalo.edu or (716) 829-4718.