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The Fourth Annual Healthcare Disparities Conference
A Call for Collaboration: Intersectionality and Health Equity

By: Leigh Guarinello, MPH, Director, Community Health Programs, Inova


This virtual conference is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022: 12:30 – 3:15 p.m. REGISTRATION LINK COMING SOON


The 2022 online, half-day symposium for healthcare professionals will address the role sociocultural barriers and intersecting identities play in the care of culturally and ethnically diverse patients. Invited speakers will discuss local, regional and national approaches to improving awareness and overcoming bias.

In order to provide this essential information to the widest audience, the program is being provided free of charge, with the goal of reaching and engaging as many as stakeholders as possible.


The impact and reach of this annual conference have steadily increased over the past three years. The first conference, held in 2019, was an in-person event highlighting the significance of health disparities and discussing ways to advance research and practice related to health disparities and social determinants of health. This inaugural conference inspired an interdisciplinary, multi-institution group to establish an annual event in partnership with iTHRIV. The second and third annual conferences were held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic and found a receptive audience of healthcare teams throughout Virginia and across the country.

The third annual conference was held in 2021 and focused on providing strategies for advancing health equity and implementing change in practice settings and communities. Speakers shared approaches to being a community ally by supporting departmental, institutional, and governmental policy changes that promote health equity.

When asked how the 2021 conference would change how the participants relate to or communicate with patients and colleagues, one individual shared, “I will take pause before I assume I understand where someone is coming from, especially when interacting with patients. I will actively recognize my own biases, not just those of others.”

The planning committee includes a team of healthcare professionals; educators; diversity, equity and inclusion leaders; and team members from Inova, the University of Virginia, Carilion Clinic, Virginia Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) and iTHRIV. Given the virtual conferences’ national reach, the committee decided to maintain the conference format for 2022.


Keynote Speaker

The planning committee is excited to announce our keynote speaker:

Oluwaferanmi O. Okanlami, MD, MS

Dr. Oluwaferanmi Okanlami is the Director of Student Accessibility and Accommodation Services at the University of Michigan, where he oversees the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities, two testing accommodation centers, and the Adaptive Sports and Fitness Program. He is also an Assistant Professor of Family Medicine, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Urology at Michigan Medicine, and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He has a catch phrase – “Disabusing DisabilityⓇ – through which he hopes to demonstrate that DISability does not mean INability.

In addition, the conference will include presentations focusing on community and individual experiences of inequity and collaborative strategies for promoting diversity, equity and inclusion.

The registration link will be available in early September.


Persons wishing for more information on the program may contact Leigh Guarinello at


Diversity Conference Planning Committee

Karen Brown, MAEd, Center Director, Northern Virginia AHEC

Deron Campbell, MPH, Director, Community Health Programs, Inova

Eugenie Charles, MD, Chief Diversity Officer, Commonwealth Emergency Physicians; Medical Director, Inova Loudoun Concussion Clinic

Leah Chedid, Program Coordinator, Inova Community Health

Leigh Guarinello, MPH, Director, Community Health Programs, Inova

Kristin Miller, Partnership Manager, University of Virginia

Tijani Musa, MPH Student, George Mason University

Kat O’Donnell, MSW, LCSW, Manager of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Inova

Molly Roberts, MPH, Community Benefit Manager, Carilion Clinic

Elyssa Wood, PhD, RN, MPH, RN, FAEN, CPEN, TCRN, Nursing Research Scientist, Inova

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