Calendar & Events

Seminars and Lectures: Seminar/Lecture

"Sleep Health Disparities: Opportunities to Improve the Health of the Community"

May 14, 2012 7:30 am -  2:30 pm



Presented by the Harvard Catalyst Health Disparities Research Program

View the final agenda

Sleep deficiency and sleep disorders (e.g. sleep apnea, insufficient sleep time, shift work, insomnia) afflict a high proportion of children and adults and are associated with significant chronic health conditions, including: obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, stroke, heart failure, as well as impaired quality of life, behavioral problems, cognitive deficits, increased health care utilization, and increased mortality. Emerging data indicate that individuals from disadvantaged neighborhoods and racial/ethnic minorities are at increased risk for poor sleep and for sleep disorders due to a variety of environmental exposures, occupational and psychosocial conditions, and physiologic and genetic factors. Furthermore, insufficient sleep and sleep disorders are often under recognized and inadequately treated in these groups. This symposium will bring together experts in health disparities research, sleep medicine, population health, community outreach, and environmental science to foster new dialogue, consider emerging questions and methodological challenges, and identify important next steps to move forward the field of sleep health disparities.

Pre-register and reserve your seat at the Harvard Catalyst registration website. Registration will close when all seats are reserved. Please contact Kathryn Pollenz at pollenz@hcp.med.harvard.edu or (617)432-7357, with questions related to this symposium or questions about the Health Disparities Research Program. View the event page at the Harvard Catalyst website for more information.

Final Agenda
Download the symposium agenda (.pdf)


Sleep Health Disparities: Opportunities to Improve the Health of the Community

Monday, May 14th 2012
Rotunda Room, Joseph B. Martin Conference Center, 3rd Floor
7:30am – 2:30pm


7:30am – 8:00am      Registration, 3rd Floor Mezzanine


8:00am - 8:15am    Introduction and Welcome
Michelle A. Williams, ScD (HSPH), Stephen B. Kay Family Professor of Public Health, and Susan Redline, MD, MPH (BWH), Peter C. Farrell Professor of Sleep Medicine

8:15am – 8:30am    Michael Twery, PhD (National Center on Sleep Disorders Research, NHLBI, NIH), Director and Branch Chief
Sleep Disparities Research: A NIH Perspective


8:30am – 9:45am    Session 1:  Overview: Health Disparities and Chronic Diseases: A Mediating Role for Sleep Health Disparities?

Lisa Berkman, PD
(HSPH), Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Public Policy and of Epidemiology
Health Disparities and Cardiovascular Disease

Lauren Hale, PhD (SUNY Stony Brook), Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine
Differences in Sleep Disorders/Sleep Traits and Shift Work across the Population: Links to Chronic Diseases       

Elsie Taveras, MD (CHB), Associate Professor of Population Medicine
Differences in Sleep Traits across Pediatric Populations: Disparities in Obesity, Diabetes, and Academic Performance

Moderator: Michelle A. Williams, ScD (HSPH), Stephen B. Kay Family Professor of Public Health


9:45am - 11:00am    Session 2:  Mediators and Mechanisms Linking Sleep Disorders to Chronic Health Conditions

David Williams, PhD (HSPH), Florence Sprague Norman and Laura Smart Norman Professor of Public Health
    Role of Stress in Mediating Health Disparities in Chronic Diseases

Frank A.J.L. Scheer, PhD (BWH), Assistant Professor of Medicine
    Cardio-metabolic Responses to Shiftwork

Orfeu Buxton, PhD (BWH), Associate Neuroscientist, Assistant Professor of Medicine
    Environmental and Biological Mechanisms Impacting Sleep and Health

Moderator: Frank Hu, MD, PhD (HSPH), Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology


11:00am - 11:15am    Break & Refreshments, outside Rotunda Room


11:15am - 12:30pm    Session 3:  Barriers to Clinical Recognition and Treatment of Sleep Deficiency and Sleep Disorders in Disadvantaged Populations

Nancy Kressin, PhD (BU), Professor of Medicine
Reducing Disparities in Sleep-related Care and Outcomes in the Clinical Setting: What Do We Know and What Do We Need to Know?

LeRoi Hicks, MD, MPH (UMass), Associate Professor of Medicine
Challenges Faced by the Primary Care Practitioner in Addressing Sleep Disorders

Girardin Jean-Louis, PhD (SUNY Downstate), Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry
Novel Approaches for Improving the Recognition and Treatment of Sleep Disorders in Community-based Settings

Moderator:  Susan Redline, MD, MPH (BWH), Peter C. Farrell Professor of Sleep Medicine


12:30pm – 12:40pm    *Call to Action*:  Consider emerging questions, methodological challenges, and important next steps to move forward the field of sleep health disparities
John Ayanian, MD, MPP (HMS), Professor of Medicine and Health Care Policy

Pick up tote lunches and report to breakout rooms


12:45pm – 1:45pm     Idea Generation & Brainstorming about Important Next Steps

Rotunda – Session 1 Discussion, Overview: Health Disparities and Chronic Diseases: A  Mediating Role for Sleep Health Disparities?

Room 214 – Session 2 Discussion, Mediators and Mechanisms Linking Sleep Disorders to  Chronic Health Conditions

Room 217 – Session 3 Discussion, Barriers to Clinical Recognition and Treatment of Sleep Deficiency and Sleep Disorders in Disadvantaged Populations


1:45pm – 2:15pm    Report Back from Breakout Groups

2:15pm – 2:30pm    Closing Remarks
         Sanjay Patel, MD (BWH), Lecturer in Medicine



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