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By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 30 November 2005

Pictured left: The Rev. Robert Wisner, of Under the Blood Ministry, left, joins U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore., the Rev. LeRoy Haynes, of Allen Temple CME Church, Bishop A.A. Wells, of Emmanuel Temple Church, state Sen. Avel Gordly, D-Portland, and the Rev. W.G. Hardy of Highland United Church of Christ at Wednesday's health disparities forum at Emmanuel Temple.

It's a subject that never goes away: the continuing disparities between Whites and people of color in physical, mental health and access to appropriate health care.

Federal, state and local lawmakers joined members of the local faith community, state and local health officials and the community at large this week to address the longstanding problem.

U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Ore., headed the gathering, held Wednesday at Emmanuel Temple Church. The discussion also included state Sen. Avel Gordly, D-Portland, and Multnomah County Chair Diane Linn. After Sen. Smith's departure, participants spoke directly with his staff, as well as with state and county health policy makers.

Pictured Right: Multnomah County Chair Diane Linn, left, and others listen in at the health disparities forum.

The event's goals included:
• Reaching a shared understanding of the health disparities crisis and mental health needs in Oregon's African American community;
• Reaching a shared understanding of the historical and political context of health disparities among African Americans in Oregon;
• Providing the names and faces of some of the individuals and organizations leading the work to eliminate cultural health disparities and to address mental health needs from a culturally specific perspective;
• Providing examples of the work being done to eliminate the disparities at the community, county and state levels; and
• Identifying and sharing opportunities to leverage federal funding and support the advance work being done locally to close the health care gap.

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