Pac-12 convenes first-of-its-kind Health Equity Summit to discuss healthcare disparities in collegiate athletics and approaches for paths forward
SAN FRANCISCO – The Pac-12 Conference held a first-of-its-kind Health Equity Summit and convened past and present student-athletes, medical professionals, and athletic training personnel for in-depth presentations and panel discussions related to healthcare disparities in collegiate athletics. The two-day summit was held Jan. 26-27 on the campus of UCLA and hosted by the Pac-12 Student-Athlete Health & Well-Being Initiative (SAHWBI), in collaboration with the Office of Continuing Medical Education at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Additional support was provided by the NCAA, the American Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) and the U.S. Council for Athletes’ Health (USCAH).
“The Health Equity Summit was everything we hoped it could be,” said Miguel A. Rueda, Chair of the Pac-12 SAHWBI Board and Sr. Associate Athletic Director/Health & Performance for the University of Colorado. “The meeting provided an inclusive environment for attendees to learn about the challenges student-athletes face in receiving healthcare and how we can be better equipped to provide care to diverse populations.”
This was the third major healthcare summit hosted by the Pac-12, with previous events focusing on concussion research in 2017 and student-athlete mental health in 2020.
Takeaway Resources: Pac-12 Health Equity Summit
- Video recordings of each presentation from the summit are available here: pac12.me/HES-videos.
- Additional takeaway resources related to the summit and health equity in general, including the slideshow presentations from the speakers and key takeaways from the event, are available here: pac12.me/HES-takeaways.
- A complete program brochure for the event, including participating speakers and Pac-12 student-athletes information, can be found here.
Event Highlights: Pac-12 Health Equity Summit
Introductory remarks for the event were provided by Rueda, who was later joined on stage by Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff and Chief People & Inclusion Officer Quashan Lockett. The trio expressed their excitement for the event and reaffirmed the Conference’s commitment to leadership in matters of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Keynote addresses for the Health Equity Summit were provided by Dr. Leon McDougle, former President of the National Medical Association, and Devon Still, former NFL defensive lineman who won the Jimmy V ESPY Award for Perseverance with his daughter, Leah, following her battle with cancer.
The Pac-12 Health Equity Summit also included a diverse slate of presentations that featured expert analysis from medical practitioners and professionals in the DEI space. Session topics included mental health considerations to supporting health equity, adaptive athletics and the recently enacted Pac-12 Para Athletics Policy, and how to expand healthcare in collegiate athletics to positively impact lifelong outcomes for student-athletes.
“This event was important because it was a dedicated effort for these minoritized groups,” said Dr. Mitchell R. Lunn, Assistant Professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine. “In order to have the best student-scholar, student-athlete that exists, we need to pay attention to people as they are as a whole.”
A group of 15 student-athletes from across the Conference was also in attendance to provide the unique perspective of how healthcare is administered to diverse student-athlete populations. Lauryn Carter (softball, UCLA), Claire Marion (women’s rowing, Washington), Jayden Newkirk (women’s soccer, Colorado), and Arjun Vadgama (men’s cross country/track & field, California) spoke on a panel discussion and answered questions from the audience, explaining the healthcare challenges they have faced across their respective careers and how medical staffs can cater to the specific needs of student-athletes.
“Sports has given me a platform to talk about issues like this,” said Carter. “Most people look at athletes based on their performance. When we really break down identities of student-athletes, we get to dive into who we are and what makes up our genetic code, but also our well-being.”
▪️ Mental health considerations for health equity
▪️ Provision of care with diverse patients
▪️ Expanding college athletics health to impact lifelong outcomes
— Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) January 27, 2023
About the Pac-12 SAHWBI
Created in 2013, the Pac-12 Student-Athlete Health & Well-Being Initiative (SAHWBI) is a collective effort between the Pac-12 and its member universities to find ways to reduce injuries, share current best practices and latest studies, and conduct research to uncover new ways to keep student-athletes as safe as possible. Learn more at Pac-12.com/health.