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Blood at the Roots’ Conference April 13-14

TULSA, OKLA. – [April 12, 2023] – The Be Well Community Development Corporation (Be Well CDC) and , the Tulsa Health Department are hosting a two-day conference to highlight systems-level changes required to birth opportunities for true health equity. The conference, entitled Blood at the Roots, Issues of Health Equity: The New Civil Rights Movement, will take place on April 13-14 at Oklahoma State University-Tulsa, 700 N. Greenwood Ave.

The conference title is a nod to the Abel Meeropol poem, “Strange Fruit,” made famous by Billie Holiday and Nina Simone. The conference will feature more than 50 local and national experts in the fields of health equity and social justice to assist over 200 attendees with developing strategies to strengthen efforts to create sustained change in their communities. 

“This inaugural  conference is the culmination of years of planning and groundwork to address the impact of deeply rooted inequities that contribute to alarming health disparities in Tulsa County and in other communities throughout the United States,” said THD Associate Executive Director Reggie Ivey. “We know that conversations about discrimination, systemic racism, and health equity can cause discomfort. And yet, these conversations are essential to spark action. It is our sincere hope that attendees are empowered to step out of their comfort zones to engage in meaningful dialogue that will lead to solutions to address systemic issues and barriers of health equity. 

The American Public Health Association defines “health equity” as the opportunity for everyone to attain their highest level of health. THD collaborates with many local partners to address health equity issues and the social determinants of health. These determinants of health include the conditions in the environments in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks.

Featured keynote speakers include Zach Norris, Ivelyse Andino, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, Dr. Rachel Villanueva, and Jay Jordan. Elected officials delivering special remarks include Oklahoma State Representative for District 73 Regina Goodwin and Tulsa City Councilor for District 4 Laura Bellis. Conference topics include:

Racial Wealth Gap: Does an Education Matter?
The Root Causes of Poor Health Outcomes for BIPOC Communities
Addressing Health Equity through Community Initiatives
A Criminal Justice System that is Not “Just”

Be Well CDC has partnered with the Tulsa Birth Equity Initiative to host a pre-conference screening of the documentary film, “Birthing Justice.” The documentary screening and doula panel discussion will take place on April 12 at 6 p.m. at the Circle Cinema, 10 S. Lewis Ave. The pre-conference event is free to attend but registration is required.

Sponsors for the conference include the Tulsa Health Department, Be Well Community Development Corporation, the Terrence Crutcher Foundation, the George Kaiser Family Foundation, ProsperOK, Oklahoma Complete Health, Amplify, and the Birth Through Eight Strategy for Tulsa. 

A limited number of conference tickets are still available. For more information or to register, visit 

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