University of Pittsburgh School of Education

SOE Helps Lead Cross-disciplinary Conference on Family and Healthy U

Published on 11/9/2017 10:40:00 AM

CALL FOR PAPER (DUE 01/25/2018, 11:00 PM)

Cross-disciplinary Conference on Family and Healthy U

University of Pittsburgh | March 28th, 2018 | University Club
123 University Place, Pittsburgh, PA 15260

Health and health care disparities are well recognized in the United States. According to Healthy People 2020, health disparities disproportionately impact racial and ethnic minorities as well as others based on socioeconomic status, religion, gender, place and more. These disparities are due to systemic barriers to accessing health care and beliefs about western medicine.

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Commission on Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) noted that the social and physical circumstances in which people find themselves significantly affect the way they live, as well as a wide range of health and quality-of-life outcomes. Reducing disparities to achieve health equity will require a multidisciplinary approach to tackling SDOH through changes to policies and practices in education, neighborhoods, economic and employment opportunities, healthcare access and parenting support. 

As part of the Provost’s Year of Healthy U initiative, we are organizing a one-day cross-disciplinary conference around the topic of family and health. In this conference, we plan to focus on the role of the family in education, health, caregiving, social support, and in shaping beliefs about sickness/health and medicine, and health behaviors. 

Family structure and family interactions vary by culture, race, gender identity, religion, and socioeconomic status. Family is often the foundation of determining a healthy (or unhealthy) lifestyle for all family members, including children. Family narrative and dynamics, kinship and social organization, parental literacy and educational level, household income, and sociolinguistic background represent the early input children receive and shape the construction of identities, roles in society and expectations and values. They affect the earliest experiences which impact our health, starting with prenatal and birth practices and beliefs, child rearing, well child care, and schooling.

These family structures are furthermore crucial at the doctor’s office, hospital admission or discharge, and in critical situations when the individual cannot make decisions for themselves. When the family order breaks down, as in situations of abuse or neglect, studies have documented a negative effect on future health, termed adverse childhood events.

The Year of Healthy U and this conference represent a unique opportunity to convene experts to discuss the diverse roles family plays in health and well-being and to discuss how to make our community safe and healthy for all. The conference will allow the Pitt community a chance to reflect on the multifaceted dimensions of family and its interplay with health as seen through childhood experiences, early education, language, beliefs about health, socioeconomics and more. 

This conference builds on past initiatives from previous years such as our 2016 Humanities in Health, 2017 Cultural and Linguistic Diversity, and 2017 Advancing Diversity Research Across Disciplines.  

We invite you to submit abstracts to present and share collaborative work that you have performed or are in the process of performing on the topics highlighted above. Any submission related to the topic of Family and Health in all its forms is welcome. 

Presentations may focus on research projects and can describe findings of completed projects, preliminary findings, or research in progress. 

Teaching abstracts may describe curricular examples of cross-disciplinary understanding of role of family or other related social determinants in health, novel curricula, teaching or evaluation strategies, or instructional materials. 

A list of potential topics follows, but this should not be taken as a comprehensive list. If your topic falls outside these specific areas, we still encourage you to submit to the conference for consideration. 


Research papers:

  • Language background and access
  • Role of the family in education, health, literacy, and networking
  • Family, culture, ethnicity, race and health
  • End of life discourse
  • Gender identity, religion, and socioeconomic status
  • Family structure and family dynamics
  • Parental literacy and educational level
  • Family narrative and health
  • Kinship, social organization, and health

Teaching and Innovation:

  • Curricular examples of interdisciplinary work on family and health
  • Teaching or evaluation strategies


Abstracts addressing the topic of Health in Humanities (HinH) should be no more than 300 words and should be organized in the following formats when possible. We recognize that all submissions may not be amenable to this format and you should feel free to modify it as necessary. 

For all abstracts, include title of your paper, authors, corresponding author’s name and contact information. References are optional in the abstract but if included, cite no more than two or three. References will not count towards the word limit. Please send abstract in word format to:  


  • Background, rationale, and aims
  • Methods 
  • Results (even if preliminary)
  • Discussion/implications 


  • Introduction with institutional context and educational objectives
  • Instructional and/or assessment methods 
  • Program evaluation results 
  • Discussion/implications 
  • Innovation
  • Introduction/context, educational objectives if applicable
  • Description of policy, practice innovation, or teaching methods
  • Evaluation/impact
  • Discussion/implications

All Proposals must be submitted by 11pm EST on January 25th, 2018 to

Late submissions will not be accepted. Notification of acceptance will be sent out via e-mail no later than February 15th, 2018. Abstracts selected will be included in the program as oral presentations only, no posters. Presenters are responsible for obtaining any special permission required to share their work. 

All abstracts will be reviewed by the conference committee following the criteria described above. We will organize accepted key talks and panels thematically. The conference will feature two keynote presentations and concurrent sessions.  

This interdisciplinary event is of practical value to students, teachers, researchers and staff in arts and sciences, healthcare professionals, counselors, therapists, healthcare policy officials, business, education and health sciences, nurses, physicians, counselors, physician-assistants, nurse practitioners, public health officials, administrators, heath educators, and community and government organizations.  


  • Abdesalam Soudi, PhD (Linguistics)
  • Jeannette South-Paul, MD (Family Medicine)
  • Shelome Gooden, PhD (Linguistics)
  • Valerie Kinloch, PhD (Education)
  • Audrey Murrell, PhD (David Berg Center)
  • Christy Malone, MBA (David Berg Center)
  • Judy Chang, MD (Obstetrics, Gynecology, & Reproductive Sciences)
  • Scott Kiesling, PhD (Linguistics) 

Hosted by: Departments of Linguistics in collaboration with the Department of Family Family Medicine; School of Education; David Berg Center; and Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, & Reproductive Sciences. 

Contact us at for any questions


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