Free Women's Health Awareness and Wellness Conference at NCCU, April 15

Posted April 03, 2023, 1:36PM

The 9th annual Women's Health Awareness (WHA) Wellness Conference will be held Saturday, April 15, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Mary Townes Science Building, 1900 Concord St., on the campus of North Carolina Central University (NCCU).

The free and popular wellness conference has already helped more than 5,000 women and their families in North Carolina and across the United States. The conference, led by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences’ (NIEHS) Office of Human Research and Community Engagement and co-sponsored by the NCCU Department of Public Health Education, Durham Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., and the Durham Alumnae Delta House Inc., will offer educational seminars, health screenings and health resources. Free mammograms will also be offered to qualifying women. For more information and to determine eligibility, call 984-287-4414 or email [email protected].

Focusing on important women’s issues

This year’s event features health experts presenting the most up-to-date information on topics of interest to women from various racial and ethnic backgrounds. Sessions will include presentations on chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, inflammation, autoimmune disorders and dementia. Societal and environmental issues, including Black maternal mortality, substance abuse, domestic violence and mental health, as well as offering coping skills through mindfulness for stress reduction and caregiving, will also be addressed.

To promote community and health resiliency for Latinx and Hispanic communities, Spanish-language resources and bilingual sessions will be provided.

Powerful speakers

This year’s conference theme is “Environmental Justice: Reducing Environmental, Economic and Racial Disparities,” and Robert Bullard, Ph.D., known as the ‘Father of Environmental Justice,’ will serve as the keynote speaker. Bullard is an award-winning author and Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy and director of the Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice at Texas Southern University. Bullard was named to serve on President Biden’s White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council (WHEJAC) in 2021.

Another national leader on environmental justice who will participate includes Jalonne White-Newsome, Ph.D., senior director for environmental justice at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Newsome provides leadership for the Justice40 Initiative, a plan to direct 40% of certain federal investments to marginalized communities overburdened by pollution.

Additionally, six-time Grammy nominated jazz singer and creator of the WUNC award-winning Great Grief podcast, Nnenna Freelon, will lead a session titled “Great Grief Live!”. Freelon will bring a fresh perspective to the universal and personal experience of loss by providing her grief experience and discussing its impact and healthy ways to cope.

To further increase health equity, organizers will host satellite sites in Granville and Haywood Counties to reach rural communities with limited health access.

“We are honored to partner with our esteemed co-sponsors to host the 9th annual Women’s Health Awareness, Women’s Wellness conference. After three years of being virtual, we are excited to be in-person on the campus of North Carolina Central University. We will also be offering some sessions virtually to serve women across our great state and beyond,” said Joan Packenham, Ph.D., director of the Office of Human Research and Community Engagement, and the WHA program.  

“We have an impressive program lined up with renowned local and national speakers. This conference affords us the opportunity to achieve our goal of reducing environmental health disparities by empowering women with health education, environmental health literacy, resources, screenings, and services, thus providing health access, equity, and building health resiliency so women can live healthier and longer lives,” Packenham said.

All participants can preregister for the free conference at

Onsite registration will be available the day of the event. Preregistration is required to reserve a space for lunch.

For more information on the WHA program, visit

Individuals with disabilities who need accommodation to participate in this event should contact the Office of Human Research and Community Engagement at 919-541-3852 or [email protected]. TTY users should contact the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339. Requests should be made at least five business days in advance of the event. 

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