March 24, 2017Women’s health is the focus of the 18th annual Rural Health Conference hosted by The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences and its Institute for Rural Health Research. “Empowering Women in Health: Bridging the Gap between Clinical and Community,” will be held March 30-31, from 8 am to 4 pm each day, at the Bryant Conference Center on the UA campus. Keynote speakers include: Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, professor of Medicine and director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham; and Dr. Marji Gold, a faculty member in the Department of Family and Social Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. Marrazzo is internationally recognized for her research and education efforts in the field of sexually transmitted infections, especially as they affect women’s health. Her conference presentation is titled “Optimizing Infectious Disease Care for Women in Rural Settings: Current Challenges and Opportunities.” Marrazzo conducts research on the human microbiome, specifically as it relates to female reproductive tract infections and hormonal contraception. Her other research interests include prevention of HIV infection using biomedical interventions, including microbicides. She recently led the VOICE Study, a National Institutes of Health-funded study that evaluated HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis to women at high risk for HIV infection in sub-Saharan Africa. She obtained her medical degree from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and completed a residency in Internal Medicine at Yale-New Haven Hospital in Connecticut. She earned a master’s degree in Public Health with a concentration in Epidemiology at the University of Washington in Seattle, where she also completed a fellowship in Infectious Disease. Gold was instrumental in integrating a women’s health curriculum into the family medicine residency at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and has focused on woman-centered language as an integral component of woman-centered care. Her conference presentation is titled “Reproductive Equality.” Gold works with medical students, residents and fellows at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and also maintains a primary care practice at a community health center in the Bronx where she supervises medical students and residents. Gold received her medical degree from New York University College of Medicine and completed a Family Medicine residency at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Breakout sessions on issues related to the conference topic will also be offered. Sessions include: Lactation Support and Resources; Long-acting Reversible Contraceptives; Understanding the Link between Food Insecurity and Obesity among African-American Women; Sexual Health among Latinas in Alabama; and Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault on Women. The annual Rural Health Conference is attended by health-care providers, researchers, community leaders, government officials and policymakers who hear from prominent speakers in the field and share information and knowledge about rural health issues. The registration fee for the conference is $150 per person and $35 for students and includes breakfast and lunch on both days. Continuing education will be provided for some health care professionals. For more information and to register online, visit the conference website or call (205) 348-9640. The Institute for Rural Health Research was established in 2001 and conducts research to improve health in rural Alabama. The goal is to produce research that is useful to communities, health care providers and policymakers as they work to improve the availability, accessibility and quality of health care in rural areas. The Institute also serves as a resource for community organizations, researchers and individuals working to improve the health of communities in Alabama.