8th Academic and Health Policy Conference on Correctional Health to focus on implementation science

March 11, 2015

The newest research concerning the health care of incarcerated populations will be presented by national experts at the 8th Academic and Health Policy Conference on Correctional Health March 19-20 at the Hyatt Boston Harbor.

The conference is hosted by the Academic Consortium on Criminal Justice Health, is supported by UMass Medical School and co-hosted this year by the Yale School of Medicine.

“One in every 35 individuals in the United States is involved in the criminal justice system, and this very vulnerable population suffers from substantial health disparities,” said conference founder and co-chair Warren Ferguson, MD, a professor in Family Medicine & Community Health at UMass Medical School.

“We hope the research shared at this conference can influence the practices and policies concerning the health care of justice-involved populations,” said Dr. Ferguson, who is also director of academic programs for the Health and Criminal Justice Program within UMass Medical School’s Commonwealth Medicine division.

Two days of seminars, lectures and peer sessions will encompass topics that include mental health, infectious disease, substance abuse, recidivism and re-entry into the community. A full schedule of presentations is available on the conference website.

A theme of this year’s conference is implementation science, which is adapting evidence-based practices developed in the community to work in alternative settings such as  prisons and jails.

Faye S. Taxman, PhD, director of the Advancing Correctional Excellence Center at George Mason University, will tackle that subject at 8:30 a.m.  March 19 in her keynote presentation, The Criminal Justice System as a Health Care Provider: Using Implementation Science to Advance Evidence Based Practice.

The conference will offer correctional health professionals the chance to learn and share best practices to improve the health of inmates. It will also provide a platform for leaders in the field to present innovative research on reducing the social and financial costs of incarceration.

The plenary at 9:45 a.m. on March 20 will feature Nabila El-Bassel, PhD, director of the Social Intervention Group at the Columbia University School of Social Work. Dr. El-Bassel will present: Global perspective on HIV and gender-based violence among women who use drugs and are involved in the criminal justice system: Multilevel HIV prevention strategies.

This year’s conference will include participants from five countries, 30 states, and the District of Columbia. Attendees will include researchers, clinicians, administrators, educators, policy makers, and grant funding professionals from over 130 academic and correctional institutions.

The University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Commonwealth Medicine division supports the Academic Consortium on Criminal Justice Health. The Consortium is a membership organization consisting of universities and departments of corrections from across the country.