The annual Minority Health Conference was launched by the Minority Student Caucus in 1977 and has been
conducted nearly every year since then. Major objectives are to highlight health issues of
concern to people of color and to attract students interested in minority health to the School.
Initially the Conference was held in Rosenau Auditorium in the School of Public Health, but when
attendance increased to 300-400 during the 1990's, the Conference moved to the William and Ida
Friday Continuing Education Center, where it now regularly attracts over 500 attendees plus as many more on the webcast of the William T. Small, Jr. Keynote Lecture.
Planning and implementation of the Conference are led by the School's Minority Student Caucus,
which designates the chair of the Planning Committee each year. The Planning Committee includes
representatives of the sponsoring organizations (the Caucus, Dean's Office, NC Institute of Public Health, Minority Health Project) and student volunteers. The
Conference is co-sponsored by various organizations in and outside the University (see co-
sponsors for each year's conference).
In 1999, Dean William Roper named the Keynote Lecture after William T. Small Jr., Associate Dean
and Senior Advisor for Multicultural Affairs, who for over a quarter of a century worked on
behalf of and won the respect and affection of public health students - enrolled students,
former students, and prospective students, and their families - as well as faculty, staff, and
administrators. (Dr. Roper's remarks [DOC]).
Also in 1999 the Minority Health
Project began organizing webcasts of the annual William T. Small Jr. Keynote Lecture, and in
2001 added a satellite broadcast with support from the North Carolina Department of Health and
In 2009, student organizations at five other public health
schools presented the broadcast of the Annual William T. Small Jr. Keynote Lecture in
conjunction with their own events, including the 1st Annual Minority Health in the Midwest
Conference at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Since then, "partner conferences" have become a regular feature.