One-third of all adults in the United States have limited health literacy, according to the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, hampering their ability to adequately understand information to make smart healthcare decisions. To help close this healthcare disparities gap, the American Conference on Diversity is hosting its annual Health Equality Conference December 7 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

This event is sponsored by Horizon Foundation for NJ – “Health Literacy: Key to Improving the Quality & Safety of Care for Diverse Patient Populations” will explore the relationship between health literacy and equality and what health professionals can do to foster more health literate organizations. The one-day cultural competency event is designed for healthcare professionals and health system administrators and will be held at the NJHA Conference Center on 760 Alexander Rd., Princeton, N.J.

New Jersey’s rich diversity is reflected in the more than 130 different languages spoken by state residents, with more than 26 percent speaking a language other than English. This diversity is also reflected in the patient population cared for by the state’s healthcare systems. The multiplicity of languages, cultures, faiths, and healthcare practices can be overwhelming to healthcare professionals and the settings in which they practice.

That’s why this year’s Equality Conference will kick off with an insightful keynote presentation titled Found in Translation by Nataly Kelly. Kelly is Chief Research Officer at the market-research company Common Sense Advisory and co-author of the new book Found in Translation: How Language Shapes Our Lives and Transforms the World*.  Kelly, a former Fulbright Scholar in Spanish sociolinguistics, has worked in the language services industry since 1996 for some of the world’s largest translation and interpreting suppliers. She has served as an invited speaker for the European Commission and was a member of the National Project Advisory Committee for a web-based training program for culturally and linguistically appropriate services offered through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health.

Additional program highlights include:

►Health Literacy: Critical to Health Outcomes?  C. Darryl Hughes, Manager, Cultural Diversity, Meridian Health

Kendra Haydel, Language Assistance Program Administrator, Meridian Health

►What Does a Health Literate Organization Look Like?  Nekia Lewis, Manager, Health Education, Horizon NJ Health

►Reaching Into and Providing Care Inclusive of Diverse Markets  Firoozeh Vali, MLS, MA, Ph.D., Vice President, Research HRET NJHA

Frances Munet-Vilaro, Ph.D., Associate Professor, UMDNJ School of Nursing

Cydney Savage, Director, Adult Outpatient Services, AtlantiCare Behavioral Health

The registration fee is $15 and includes breakfast, lunch, and program materials. Register online by November 30 at, email, or call 732-745-9330 x25.

*Early registrants will receive a complimentary copy of Kelly’s book while supplies last.

What a few attendees said about last year’s Health Equality Conference:

“Outstanding conference; the delivery of the info by presenters was fantastic; I left with increased knowledge and it also provided me with new insights.”

– Pius Peters, Sr., Residential Substance Abuse Counselor, Pinnacle Treatment Center

“Value-added and informative.”

– Dr. Michele Scott, Adjunct Professor, NJIT & Rutgers