The 16th Academic & Health Policy Conference on Correctional Health recently took place on April 13-14 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Hosted by the Academic Consortium on Criminal Justice Health (ACCJH) and supported by ForHealth Consulting™ at UMass Chan Medical School, the event highlights emerging research and policy across the justice field and brings together researchers, clinicians, public health experts, and policymakers. ACCJH aims to improve evidence-based practices and policies to advance the health of justice-involved populations. This interdisciplinary event highlights emerging research and policy across the justice field.
In all, 380 professionals from 35 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico attended the event, representing dozens of academic institutions. The conference hosted 140 academic presentations and posters.
The conference’s keynote panel presentation was “Belly of the Beast: Challenging Eugenics in Prisons Using Collaborative Cinema as an Effective Strategy to Expose Healthcare Injustices.” Three panelists spoke about their work and experiences in challenging the California Department of Corrections around healthcare injustices with incarcerated females. Attendees were given access to watch their acclaimed documentary as part of their keynote presentation.
The panel included:
- Cynthia Chandler is an acclaimed attorney and change agent with demonstrated success tackling pressing social issues. Her innovations include launching the first organization advancing the rights of HIV+ women in prison, creating the compassionate release process allowing for release of terminally ill people in prison, and co-founding Justice Now and Critical Resistance, early prison abolitionist organizations.
- Erika Cohn is a Peabody and Emmy Award-winning director/producer who Variety recognized as one of 2017’s top documentary filmmakers to watch and was featured in DOC NYC’s 2019 “40 Under 40.” Most recently, Erika completed “The Judge,” a Peabody Award-winning and Emmy-nominated film about the first woman judge appointed to the Middle East’s Shari’a courts, which premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival and was broadcast on PBS’ 2018 Independent Lens series.
- Kelli Dillon is the co-chairperson for the Empowerment Congress Southeast Neighborhood Council. She is a survivor of domestic/gang violence and an advocate for violence prevention and intervention programs. Kelli found herself incarcerated at the age of 19 and was sentenced to serve a 15-year sentence. While in the California Department of Corrections, she began her advocacy and community work assisting fellow inmates with counseling and social justice issues. In addition, Kelli is the founder and executive director of Back to the Basics, a community empowerment organization and outreach program.
Friday’s plenary speaker was Rebecca Shlafer, PhD, speaking about “Enhanced Perinatal Programs for People in Prison: A Little Serendipity and a Lot of Science.” Shlafer is an associate professor in the Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Health at the University of Minnesota, and her research focuses on promoting the health and well-being of children and families exposed to the criminal legal system.
ACCJH is administered by the Justice, Health & Equity program at ForHealth Consulting. ACCJH is a member organization with a mission to advance the science and practice of health care for individuals and populations impacted by the justice system. Visit their website to learn more.
From left to right: Erika Cohn, Kelli Dillon, and Cynthia Chandler, keynote speakers from the film ‘Belly of the Beast‘
From left to right: Patti Onorato, MS, ANP, Deputy Executive Vice Chancellor for Operations; Warren J. Ferguson, MD, Professor and Senior Vice Chair of the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health and Director of Academic Programs, Health, and Criminal Justice Program at UMass Chan Medical School; Dyana Nickl, JD, Deputy Managing Director of Justice, Health, & Equity; Lisa Colombo, DNP, MHA, RN, Executive Vice Chancellor; and Meaghan Dupuis, LMHC, Executive Director of Justice, Health, & Equity.
The ForHealth Consulting at UMass Chan Medical School Justice, Health, & Equity Team with Patti Onorato, MS, ANP, Deputy Executive Vice Chancellor for Operations and Lisa Colombo, DNP, MHA, RN, Executive Vice Chancellor.
ACCJH Conference attendees listening to session.
ACCJH Conference attendees applauding plenary speaker.
Duke University Host Committee
ForHealth Consulting’s Justice, Health, & Equity (JHE) team and the UHealthSolutions team from the Federal Medical Center (FMC) in Butner, NC.