National symposium aims to address health inequities

In addition to having been chosen to host this year’s Clinton Global Initiative University conference, the University of Miami will also host the National Symposium for United Against Inequities in Disease (UAID) this spring.

UAID is an organization created in 2009 by Yale University student Sonia Gupta. Its goal is to empower communities to solve public health issues, and it has more than 30 chapters in the nation. Every year, these chapters come together at a three-day national symposium where students attend workshops and work together to propose solutions to real public health problems.

This year, the symposium will be held from Jan. 16 to 18. The theme will be “finding sustainable solutions to improve health inequities.”

“The whole point is to empower our members by giving them the education resources and tools they need to help them communicate well to other students and the community,” said Gabriela Lins, the UAID national director of awareness and a senior at UM.

According to Lins, who is helping plan the event, the conference will be very interactive and encourage dialogue between like-minded individuals. One of the main components of the symposium will be the Innovative Social Change Competition, which will give students the opportunity to come up with a petition or public service announcement and take the winning team’s issue implemented by the national board.

“Hosting the National Symposium is a big responsibility and a tremendous honor,” said Emilio Issa, President of UM’s UAID Chapter. “One of the biggest things is to be able to connect with students that have similar passions and similar interests. Sparking that passion for public health and igniting teamwork is so much better than working on your own.”

The symposium will bring together experienced speakers that will share their knowledge of public health and communication with attendees.

“We are a very science and medicine-oriented campus, so this is a fantastic opportunity to learn more about public health and the implications to society,” said Zoe Cosner, intern to the National Director of Events and a sophomore at UM.

Public health, Lins explained, should be a matter of concern for all members of the society, and this is one of the issues the event plans to emphasize.

“It’s important that people be well-grounded in public health, as this is not just an issue for medical professionals,” Lins said. “It isn’t a one-person job. … Doctors alone can’t deal with it – it requires everyone to be on the same page.”

Students do not have to be members of UAID to register for the symposium. Registration will be open through Dec. 15. To register, visit