From the Office of State Senator Royce West - District 23

For Immediate Release
CONTACT: Kelvin Bass
(214) 467-0123
January 20, 2006

African American health issues to be explored at Legislative Summit

DALLAS - One of the highlights of the upcoming African American Legislative Summit will be a full day of panels and presentations devoted to health care and health-related issues with the focus directed at Texas' African American population. Hosts, State Senator Royce West (D-Dallas) and State Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) extend an invitation to join them in Austin for this informative, statewide conference.

The 7th biennial African American Legislative Summit will take place beginning Thursday, February 9, 2006 and continuing through the Saturday night, February 11, closing banquet. The Summit's first day will feature discussions of health-related topics as coordinated by the Texas Department of State Health Services - Office for the Elimination of Health Disparities. All workshops and presentations will take place in the State Capital Building - Capital Extension.

"In 2003, the Legislature passed into law a massive bill that completely overhauled the public health care delivery system in Texas," said Senator West. "And while that implementation is near completion, problems that affect the health of children, the elderly and others who depend on public resources continue to present themselves on a daily basis.
"Most Texans don't know that an African American, Albert Hawkins, heads one of the state's largest and most vital agencies,"
Senator West added. "Throughout the day, Health and Human Services Commission officials will lead discussions aimed at providing our citizens with what could be life-saving information."

Despite numerous medical and scientific advances, disparities in access and treatment still persist for minorities in Texas. African Americans have higher incidences of cancer than other racial or ethnic groups, particularly as it relates to colorectal, cervical and prostate cancers. African American males have higher rates of lung cancer than whites and Hispanics. And African American female breast cancer mortality rates also exceed those of other races. Black infant mortality, diabetes and how family structure plays a role in health concerns are all topics that will be explored at the Summit.

Friday morning, Senator West, Senator Ellis and other state officials will officially welcome attendees to the African American Legislative Summit before heading to the University of Texas' Frank Erwin Center for the "Doing Business Texas Style" - Spot Bid Contract Fair, an event especially designed to promote and enhance procurement opportunities for Texas' minority and Historically Underutilized Business Owners (HUBs).

For information on 7th biennial African American Summit registration, please call the offices of State Senator Royce West at 214-467-0123 or 512-463-0123 or the offices of State Senator Rodney Ellis at 713-236-0306 or 512-463-0113.