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Event focuses on causes, cure of obesity in African-Americans

GREENVILLE   (Jan. 18, 2006)   —   The public is invited to attend the second annual Jean Mills African-American Health Symposium to be held Friday, Feb. 10. The event will focus on causes and cure of obesity in African-Americans.

The program will be held 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at the Edwin W. Monroe AHEC Conference Center in Greenville. The symposium is held in collaboration with the East Carolina University School of Allied Health Sciences, Division of Health Sciences and the Eastern Area Health Education Center. It is supported by the ECU Medical Foundation through a generous gift in the memory of Jean Elaine Mills.

Mills earned her bachelor's degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1977 and a master's in public administration with a concentration in community health from ECU in 1984. She died from breast cancer in 2000.

The symposium was created by Amos T. Mills III, Jean's brother, in an effort to keep her spirit of discovery and community outreach alive. The purpose is to bring attention and seek solutions to critical health care issues facing minority populations.

The symposium will begin with a keynote address by Dr. Monica Loundy Baskin, assistant professor in the Department of Health Behavior at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Baskin's topic is "The Who, What, When, and Why of Obesity Among African-Americans." Mary Brimmage Chatman, president of ViQuest and vice president of specialty services at Pitt County Memorial Hospital, will address "Barriers to and Impact of Exercise on Obesity." Following lunch and poster sessions on research and projects related to obesity activity and exercise by various ECU departments, smaller groups will discuss community and faith-based resources.

Speakers will examine the psychosocial and cultural factors that contribute to obesity in African-Americans and will describe the social and personal support needs of individuals as well as resources for professionals and families dealing with obesity.

Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Feb. 10. Participants may register online at A registration discount will be available until Feb. 3. For more information, call allied health education at (252) 744-5205 or e-mail


Contact: Crystal Baity | 252-744-2481