1. What is the ICHAD 2012?
The International Conference on Health in the African Diaspora – ICHAD 2012 – is an unprecedented gathering of researchers, policymakers, government leaders, health and development advocates, journalists and others concerned about the health of nearly 160 million people of African descent living in the Western Hemisphere. The event will be held July 5-8, 2012 at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. The conference is organized by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and funded in part by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. We anticipate over 500 attendees.
2. What is the African Diaspora?
The term "African Diaspora" refers to the geographic dispersal of people of African descent throughout the world. ICHAD 2012 is focused principally on African descendants whose ancestors were brought to the Western Hemisphere by way of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Their ancestors came to the region from Africa in the 16th century. The institution of slavery lasted for 400 years, ending in the late 1800s, and was followed by other official and informal systems of racial marginalization throughout the region.
3. Does the African Diaspora refer mainly to "African Americans" (i.e., "blacks") now living in the United States?
No, but it includes this group. ICHAD 2012 will focus more inclusively on the much larger population of descendants of the Transatlantic Slave Trade residing throughout the entire Western Hemisphere – from Canada to Argentina. Only 25% of all people of African descent in the Western Hemisphere live in the United States. The vast majority - roughly 75% - live south of the United States. There are 114 million people of African descent in Latin American and Caribbean, 42 million in the United States, and less than 784,000 in Canada. Together, this population comprises the African Diaspora of the Western Hemisphere.
4. What is the mission of the conference?
The mission of ICHAD 2012 is to explore how the nearly 160 million descendants of the Transatlantic Slave Trade are doing today – and what can be done to improve their health. The international, multidisciplinary conference adopts a "many voices" approach, drawing individuals from across a wide spectrum of professions and disciplines, including public health, government, civil society, medicine, sociology, psychology, genetics, anthropology, media, law, and human rights.
5. What countries will be represented at the ICHAD 2012?
Conference sessions will explore the health and socioeconomic development of people of African descent living in over a dozen countries in the Western Hemisphere, including Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Cuba, Belize, Panama, Peru, Venezuela, and the United States. Presenters include U.S. and international speakers. We anticipate over 500 hundred attendees, many of whom will come from nations in Latin America and the Caribbean as well as the United States and Canada.
6. What is the theme of ICHAD 2012?
The theme of the conference is "The Great Scattering: Solving the Puzzle of Slavery, Race, and Contemporary Health in the African Diaspora." Conference organizers believe that by situating the health of African descendants in the context of the history of slavery and the social experience of race, there are vital lessons to be learned about the root causes of major health trends marking the current health status and health trajectory of this population. There are also universal lessons about the powerful relationship between health, history, and the broader human experience.
7. Why does the ICHAD 2012 coincide with U.S. Independence Day? Why does the Opening Ceremony begin on July 5th? Is there historical significance to all of this?
Yes. There is historical significance to both dates. Independence Day, commonly called the Fourth of July, is a national holiday commemorating the founding of the United States as an independent nation. Ratified on July 4th, 1776, the Declaration of Independence put forth the nation's founding principle of human equality. To honor this important principle, the Opening Night Reception will include a commemorative fireworks display at the world-famous Baltimore Harbor.
July 5th, the day of the Opening Ceremony, also has historical significance. On July 5th, 1852, the famous abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who lived along the Baltimore Harbor - on Philpot Street not far from the conference site - commemorated Independence Day with an historic speech that called attention to the contradiction between the principle of human equality and the "gross injustice" of slavery and racial inequity. At the Opening Ceremony on July 5th, ICHAD 2012 will commence a 4-day exploration of the inequitable health status of the nearly 160 million descendants of the Transatlantic Slave Trade living today throughout the Western Hemisphere, including the 42 million descendants living in the United States.
8. Who is the conference chairman?
The ICHAD 2012 chairman is Thomas LaVeist, PhD. Dr. LaVeist is the Director of the Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solutions and the William C. and Nancy F. Richardson Professor in Health Policy at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He has studied the major health gaps in America, the root causes, and the problems these inequities create for society. As a professor, author, and public speaker, Dr. LaVeist has been featured in Newsweek, Newsday, and the Baltimore Sun, as well as on CNN, National Public Radio and other major media outlets. He has written numerous articles that have been published in scientific health journals. His edited volume, Race, Ethnicity and Health: A Public Health Reader was published in 2002.
9. What topics will be addressed at the conference?
The conference will address a range of intersecting topics, including maternal and child health, chronic disease, HIV/AIDS, genetics, health policy, healthcare access and quality, and the many social determinants of health such as social habitat, racism, culture, and history.
10. How do I register for the conference?
Go to www.ICHAD.com and click on Registration. The website and the online registration system are available in three languages: English, Spanish, and Portuguese. If you have questions about registration send an email to registration@ICHAD.com.
11. Are there scholarships available?
Yes. There are a limited number of need-based registration scholarships available for students only (US or international). For more information go to www.ICHAD.com/scholarships or send an email to scholarships@ICHAD.com.
12. What is the "Partners for Life" project? How do I become a member of this network?
A major goal of the conference is to establish an international, multidisciplinary network of individuals who want to improve public understanding of the health of people of African descent in the region and find innovative solutions for improving the well-being of this population. This network is called "Partners for Life." The network will have key opportunities, both during and after the conference, to explore major health issues affecting people of African descent and establish strategic international partnerships to find real-world solutions. To sign up for the network go to www.ICHAD.com and click on Partners for Life.
13. What is the Three Seeds Project?
A guiding philosophy of ICHAD 2012 is that the many health challenges addressed at the conference must be accompanied by solutions. The Three Seeds Project is a dynamic, solutions-driven leadership forum where representatives from a dozen countries will gather to brainstorm solutions to address key challenges. Each participant will bring "three seeds" – three innovative ideas – for future collaborations designed to improve the health of African descendants in the Western Hemisphere. The "seeds" will be planted across the network channels of major organizations, including academic institutions, government agencies, NGOs, and grassroots organizations. The harvest will be appraised at ICHAD 2014.
14. What is the ICHAD 2012 Declaration?
At the closing ceremony, on July 8, 2012, the conference will release the ICHAD 2012 Declaration. This written statement will describe the health and development status of the descendants of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and identify essential actions needed to improve their health. The statement will be drafted by the Declaration Working Group (DWG), comprising leaders from network countries working in various specialties, including public health, medicine, health policy, economics, and human rights.
15. Are there opportunities to volunteer for the ICHAD 2012?
Absolutely! There are many volunteer opportunities available at the conference. Currently, there are immediate opportunities available to support the ICHAD 2012 Social Media Team. For more information about how to get involved visit www.ICHAD.com or send an email to volunteers@ICHAD.com.