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UMaine Institute of Medicine

207.581.3026||https://umaine.edu/medicine/

June 2021

Microbes and Social Equity Symposium 2021 Session 1: “Biopolitics and the human microbiome”

June 14 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Free

Session leaders: Michael Friedman and Sue Ishaq The human microbiota is a mediator between social determinants of health and health outcomes. Social determinants, such as racism, sexism and social class position are power relations that shape human microbial communities by providing access and exposure to varying biological factors. In turn, shifts in such communities are associated with distinct health outcomes. This opening session will introduce the concept of microbes and social equity, and open the discussion on how to create…

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Microbes and Social Equity Symposium 2021 Session 2: “Nutrition and the gut microbiome”

June 15 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Free

Session leader: Laura Grieneisen Access to fresh foods, and especially fruits, vegetables, and other products high in fiber, is well demonstrated to be affected by social inequity. The lack of fiber and nutritious food can dramatically hamper a functional gut microbiome. With the effects of COVID-19 being felt, the loss of income/loss of SNAP benefits and disruption to our food and transport systems will make it more difficult for many individuals to obtain a nutritious diet and reap the benefit…

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Microbes and Social Equity Symposium 2021 Session 3: “Natural resources and access to environmental microbes”

June 16 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Free

Section leader: Gwynne Mhuireach The relationship between health and greenspace is well-established. There is also a recognized association between social equity and distribution of greenspace in many cities—parks are often larger, higher quality, and more prevalent in higher-income, upper-class neighborhoods; private yards and gardens are a luxury sometimes inaccessible to lower-income households; even street trees tend to be older, larger, and more numerous in higher income neighborhoods. New evidence shows that exposure to microbial diversity may be an important ecosystem…

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Microbes and Social Equity Symposium 2021 Session 4: “Social and Environmental Stress”

June 17 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Free

Section leader: Patricia Wolf While it has been established that human behavior may impact microbiome structure, it has become evident that this is only part of the story. Historically racist housing policies may lead to inequitable exposure of those living in segregated neighborhoods to environmental pollutants. Additionally, life-long exposure to social and environmental stress faced by minority groups within the US may increase risk to disease through the alteration of host and bacterial metabolites. These inequities were compounded during the…

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Microbes and Social Equity Symposium 2021 Session 5: “Access to healthcare and the microbiome”

June 18 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Free

Section leader: Emily Wissel Access to healthcare, including treatment and preventative care, is critical to moderate beneficial host-microbe interactions and mitigate host-pathogen interactions, yet healthcare is inequitably distributed and often curbed by social policy. For instance, maternity care is well-demonstrated to improve health outcomes and facilitate the transfer of beneficial maternal microbes to newborns. Policies which support breastfeeding likewise promote this transfer of maternal microbes. Similarly, newborns and infants with access to care in their first five years of life…

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