Health Equity Conference


About the Conference

Each year MHDI holds an annual conference that brings together organizations, researchers, and thinkers to share strategies and resources for advancing health equity in Nebraska and beyond. The 2024 conference will address how social, economic, and environmental factors impact health and healthcare. It will be held on Friday, February 23, 2024, at the Nebraska Innovation Campus Conference Center in Lincoln, Nebraska. There will be a variety of health equity speakers, workshops, research sharing, and networking opportunities. The event is FREE and open to the public.

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8:30am – 9:00am CT   Check In

9:00am – 9:30am CT   Indigenous Land Acknowledgement & Welcome

9:30am – 10:30am CT   Poster Session
This session will showcase a multitude of projects in health equity research through brief presentations that will allow for more personal conversation and discussion. We are accepting poster abstracts until December 01, 2023. View the call for abstracts.

10:30am – 11:00am CT   Break & Yoga is for Every Body
During the break, Kjersten Egger, Wellness and Education Director at the Wellbeing Initiative, Inc, will lead inclusive yoga for those who are interested.

11:00am – 12:00pm CT   Workshops

  • Getting Started with Community Data | Alian Kasabian
    This session will touch on several issues around community data: the importance of transparency, getting and collecting data, communicating findings, and publicly available tools.
  • Storytelling and Emerging Media Arts for Health Equity | Anna Henson & Ash Smith
    This workshop will feature storytelling and emerging media arts as culturally relevant methods to gather and share narratives to uplift communities by addressing health disparities and health equity. Henson and Smith will present case studies of projects co-created with Emerging Media Arts faculty and communities to explore the ways that art can inform research. Methods to build interdisciplinary teams that include emerging media artists and scholars as part of the research/project plan will also be discussed.
  • Engaging with State Policy to Address Social Determinants of Health | Kelsey Arends, Kait Madsen, & Allison Derr
    This session will explore opportunities to participate in the Nebraska state legislative process to address social determinants of health. Speakers representing Nebraska Appleseed’s health care access, child welfare, and economic justice programs will share insight into the legislative process, examples of policy advocacy, and ways to leverage your expertise to shape state law. This timely workshop coincides with the 2024 Nebraska legislative session, so attendees will leave equipped to take immediate action on pending bills that impact Nebraskans’ health or social determinants of health.
  • Lessons Learned in Seeking Funding with Community-Academic Partnerships | Trey Andrews & Roméo Guerra
    This session will focus on the experiences and lessons learned from a multi-year partnership between a community non-profit (El Centro de Las Américas) and university researchers. Roméo Guerra will share insights from El Centro and Dr. Trey Andrews will share insights as the university partner. Together, they have successfully sought funding through a variety of local, state, and federal sources. They will emphasize answering audience questions and fostering discussion.

12:00pm – 1:00pm CT   Lunch

1:00pm – 2:00pm CT   Connect & Collaborate: Building Bridges for Health Equity Solutions
In this networking session, participants will be divided into groups and provided with a list of health equity themes to spark discussion. The session will allow attendees to foster new connections by working together to strategize ways to improve health outcomes for underserved communities in Nebraska.

2:00pm – 2:15pm CT   Break

2:15pm – 3:15pm CT   Keynote Speaker

Sharla Smith Profile Photo title=

Sharla Smith, PhD | "Advancing Health Equity in Maternal and Child Health"
Social determinants of health, racism, and social injustice perpetuate a violent cycle that includes inequities in maternal and infant health. The goal of the presentation is to highlight the inequities including access to quality healthcare, structural racism, implicit bias, wealth inequalities, and underlying chronic conditions. Dr. Sharla Smith is an Associate Professor in the Department of Population Health and Director of Birth Equity in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

3:15pm – 3:30pm CT   Closing Remarks


Platinum Sponsors

  • Molina Healthcare Logo

    Molina Healthcare

    We’re excited to be Nebraska’s newest Medicaid health plan in 2024—created by your neighbors who live here, too. Molina brings more than 40 years of Medicaid experience and expertise in supporting communities just like yours. Molina provides access to expert care from quality doctors, along with extra benefits and dedicated member services to help you feel your best.

    Molina Healthcare Website
  • MAP Academy CFP Handout

    MAP Academy

    The MAP Academy, housed within the Nebraska Center for Research on Children, Youth, Families and Schools, promotes the advancement of methodologies, applied analytics and data infrastructure to support and enhance rigorous research within the social, behavioral, health and educational sciences. Proposals are being accepted now for the Applied Analytics and Data Infrastructure (AADI) Catalyst Program — an initiative to support the rigor of high-quality, field-based human research at the University of Nebraska. Learn more at

    Download AADI Catalyst Program Handout