headshot of MaryAnn Black leaning to the left side with a blue matte overlay
MaryAnn Black

MaryAnn Black Distinguished Health Equity Symposium

Community Event




Durham Convention Center
301 W. Morgan St.
Durham, NC 27701
MaryAnn Black

The annual MaryAnn Black Distinguished Health Equity Symposium is hosted by the Duke Cancer Institute’s Community Outreach, Engagement, and Equity (COEE) program and supported by Duke Health Community Health, the Department of Population Health Sciences, the Duke University School of Medicine, and the Duke Clinical & Translational Science Institute, in honor of the late MaryAnn Black.

Representative Black was a powerful advocate for health equity on behalf of Duke University, the Duke Health System, and DCI, in her role as associate vice president for Community Relations for the Duke University Health System. She was instrumental in the establishment of the DCI Office of Health Equity & Disparities (OHED) that paved the way for DCI’s robust COEE program, and she mentored and supported numerous individuals across Duke who are today’s leaders in advancing community engagement and health equity. Black left a legacy of excellence in serving the needs of our patients, faculty, students, employees, and community members.

COEE is hosting the second annual symposium at the Durham Convention Center on February 9, 2024 from 3:00-6:30 pm in honor of MaryAnn’s boots-on-the-ground, ‘meet people where they are’ approach.

Dean of the School of Medicine and Executive Vice President for Health Affairs Mary Klotman, MD, will deliver opening remarks.

Mary T. Bassett, MD, MPH — former New York State Health Commissioner (2021-22) and current director of the François- Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center for Health and Human Rights and FXB Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health — will be the keynote speaker.

headshot of Mary T. Bassett, MD, MPH
Mary T. Bassett, MD, MPH

With more than 30 years of experience devoted to promoting health equity and social justice, both in the United States and abroad, Bassett’s career has spanned academia, government, and not-for-profit work.

Bassett’s many awards and honors include the prestigious Frank A. Calderone Prize in Public Health, a Kenneth A. Forde Lifetime Achievement Award from Columbia University, a Victoria J. Mastrobuono Award for Women’s Health, and the National Organization for Women’s Champion of Public Health Award. Her recent publications include articles in The Lancet and in the New England Journal of Medicine addressing structural racism and health inequities in the United States.

In accordance with the wishes of MaryAnn’s family, the 2024 event will also include an award ceremony for individuals (Youth, Policy, and Community Health categories) who exemplify MaryAnn’s spirit of community service and impact, as well as a panel discussion with Duke and community leaders (Invitees from the community include: Representative Vernetta Alston; Senator Natalie Murdoch; Bishop Godbee of River Church; and Pilar Rocha-Goldberg of El Centro Hispano), and a poster session.


The MAB Distinguished Health Equity Symposium reinforces Duke’s longstanding history and unwavering commitment to meaningful community engagement, by working collaboratively with communities in our backyard to understand and address the root causes of health disparities. MaryAnn embodied the spirit of transcending silos by collaborating with anyone, anywhere, to find solutions to meet the needs of our community.

She also personified a strong sense of institutional pride; her work on behalf of Duke University with Durham, surrounding communities, North Carolina State legislature, Chamber of Commerce, and numerous other entities is a shared legacy and inspirational roadmap for Duke’s commitment to excellence in advancing health equity over the next century.

The inaugural MAB event — held in Feb. 2023 before a crowd of nearly 300 people in Trent Semans Great Hall — featured then-Chancellor for Health Affairs at Duke Eugene Washington, MD, MPH, MSc; COEE Assistant Director Tomi Akinyemiju, PhD; Founding Director, Duke CTSI (Clinical Translational Scientific Institute) Center for Equity in Research Nadine Barrett, PhD; Program Manager for Community Engagement in the Office of Community Health at Duke Health Kimberly E. Monroe, MPA, and keynote guest speaker Marcella Nunez-Smith, MD, MHS, (Associate Director, Yale Cancer Center, and Associate Dean for Health Equity Research, Yale School of Medicine).

Five people standing at a lecture.

COEE Hosts Inaugural MaryAnn Black Distinguished Health Equity Lecture (2022)

Poster Session Call for Abstracts

DCI COEE invites abstract submissions for the poster session. Students/trainees, community organizations, researchers, and healthcare professionals are invited to submit abstracts that highlight work to advance health equity in our community.

Proposal Categories

Abstracts may be submitted under the following categories:

  •     Youth (work led by youth <25 years that advances health equity)
  •     Policy (work to advance healthcare policy to improve health and reduce disparities)
  •     Community Health (work that reduces the burden of disease for communities)

Evaluation Criteria

Abstracts will be reviewed and evaluated for the quality and impact of their work to advance health equity in the community and among resource constrained populations.

Submission Instructions

  • Submissions by individuals or organizations working in NC communities are welcome.
  • Abstracts will be scored based on the body of work’s potential and impact in meeting the needs of the community as well as demonstrated commitment to advancing health equity over the next century.
  • The presenting author MUST register to attend the MaryAnn Black Health Equity Symposium if accepted for a poster presentation.
  • Word count for abstract text must be 250 or less.
  • Presenting authors are responsible for ensuring that all authors listed in the submission have been notified of the abstract submission.
  • Each submitted abstract will be evaluated by the Review Committee, and final selections will be made by the MaryAnn Black Health Equity Symposium Planning Committee.

Timeline and Due dates

  • Abstract Submission Closes: Dec. 4, 2023, AT 11:59 PM (ET)
  • Abstract Acceptance Notification: Jan. 8, 2024
  • Acceptance of Poster Presentation Due: Jan.15, 2023, 11:59 PM (ET)
  • Final Electronic Poster Presentation Due: Jan. 29, 2024, 11:59 PM (ET)
  • Symposium: Feb. 9, 2024, 3:00-6:30 PM

For any questions or clarifications, please email DCICOE@dm.duke.edu

SUBMIT ABSTRACT for consideration