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Assessing the challenges of urban health through anthropology

HOUSTON, March 5, 2009 As urban areas of Texas are growing becoming denser and more diverse so do the challenges of health, illness and healing in multicultural urban populations. A two-day symposium March 6-7 at the University of Houston will address such timely questions. The event is free and open to the public.

The field of anthropology, with its dual roles of research and practice, is uniquely equipped to assess and meet these diverse challenges. The anthropology department at UH, in an effort coordinated by assistant research professor Jerome Crowder, is presenting "Urban Health and Anthropology: A Symposium on Current Practices." The conference will feature five panel discussions and a student poster exhibit.

The talks shed light on such varied influences as gender, income disparities, chronic illness and technology that can affect the health and well-being of the urban citizenry. The panel discussions will cover urban health in prehistoric and historic populations; health disparities and clinical trials; health and technology in underserved urban neighborhoods; chronic illness; and gender, age and the human body in an urban environment.

These trends are characteristic of both the United States and the world, with the United Nation's Population Division estimating that we are at a tipping point where the majority of world populations live in cities. This means future population growth will be urban, presenting considerable challenges to lesser-developed nations. This symposium focuses on Houston and other urban settings, presenting current anthropological research of interest to those concerned with urban life today and the prospects for a healthier society.

Hosted by the Texas Learning & Computation Center (TLC2), sponsors include the Abramson Center for the Future of Health, the Greater Houston Education Collaboration, The Honors College Medicine & Society Program at UH, the Office of the Vice President for Research and TLC2. Attendees must register at

WHAT:Urban Health and Anthropology: A Symposium on Current Practices

1-7 p.m. Friday, March 6
9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, March 7

University of Houston
Philip G. Hoffman Hall, Room 232 (TLC2)


Contact: Lisa Merkl
University of Houston

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