St. John the Divine Offers Health Disparities Webinar Series


Health Disparities Webinar Series

Overview, Implications & Intervention

A New Educational Series: Zoom Webinar Format – January 6th, 6:30-7:30 PM

The pandemic has shone a light on the pre-existing problem of health disparity. In this webinar series, learn about what health disparities are, the consequences of living with stressors including long-term poverty, and what we can do to address it. Faculty from the University of Houston College of Medicine will present an overview of health disparities and consequent adverse outcomes common among lower socio-economic groups in Houston and across the United States. In addition, the Executive Director of the Episcopal Health Foundation will review current interventions and potential strategies intended to address social determinants of health (SDOH) underlying these disparities. Finally, ways in which the Church can engage the Community will be considered.

January 6th

Health Equity and COVID-19, LeChauncy Woodard, MD, MPH

January 13th 

Could Campaign Finance Reform Improve Health more than Increasing Health Access? David S. Buck, MD, MPH

January 20th

Episcopal Health Foundation’s Role in Advancing SDOH, Elena Marks, JD, MPH

January 27th

Engaging Disparities in the Local Community, Greg Buffone, PhD


Register for the webinar here

Faculty Biographies

LeChauncy Woodard, MD, MPH

LeChauncy Woodard, MD, MPH is a general internist and Professor in the Department of Health Systems and Population Health Science at the University of Houston College of Medicine. She also serves as the Founding Director of the Humana Integrated Health Systems Sciences Institute, a partnership between the University of Houston and Humana, Inc. The institute’s goal is to advance the next generation of health professionals through interdisciplinary training with a focus on social needs, risk factors and determinants of health, and expanded use of value-based payment models.   As a clinician educator and health services researcher, Dr. Woodard has extensive experience in interprofessional team-based care, quality improvement, and patient safety. She is also an adjunct faculty member at Baylor College of Medicine and the Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness, and Safety, where she served as principal investigator on several federally funded grants, including the Houston VA Center of Excellence in Primary Care Education, an interprofessional training program that integrated trainees from medicine, mental health, nursing, social work, and pharmacy to care for high-complexity Veteran patients. Dr. Woodard’s research focuses on performance measurement and improving quality of care for chronically ill, multimorbid adults through team-based behavioral health interventions to enhance collaborative goal-setting. Dr. Woodard is committed to advancing the University of Houston’s mission to address health disparities and increase the value of health care for patients both locally and nationally.

David S. Buck, MD, MPH

David S. Buck, M.D., M.P.H., is an Associate Dean for Community Health at the University of Houston’s College of Medicine, Clinical Professor at the UT McGovern Medical School and Professor (Adjunct) at University of Texas School of Public Health – Houston: Management, Policy and Community Health Division and Rice University’s Department of Sociology. He was Professor at Baylor College of Medicine’s Department of Family & Community Medicine for 21 years. He began working with the underserved developing medical and dental clinics for the indigent population in Houston in 1984 after working with Mother Teresa in Calcutta, India. In 1999, he founded Healthcare for the Homeless—Houston. He co-founded Doctor’s for Change and served as its Chair from 2006-8. He founded the Houston-Galveston Albert Schweitzer Fellowship Program in 2007 and served as its chair 2007-2016. He served on the founding board and later as Chair of the International Street Medicine Institute from 2010-2012. He served on the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan Advisory Board at the request of the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services 2010-2012.

Dr. Buck serves as Chairman of the Board for the Patient Care Intervention Center, a nonprofit that leverages community-wide care coordination and technology to deliver resources to patients with complex social and medical needs. Additionally, Dr. Buck continues to serve as a practicing physician, including medical street outreach.

Elena Marks, JD, MS

Elena M. Marks is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Episcopal Health Foundation. Ms. Marks is also a nonresident Fellow in Health Policy at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy where her work focuses on health reform and access to care for low-income and uninsured populations.

She serves on the boards of Grantmakers in Health, the largest national organization serving the field of health philanthropy, Harris Health System, a public hospital system serving over 300,000 patients annually, and Community Health Choice, a nonprofit, community-based health insurance company with more than 400,000 members.

Ms. Marks holds a bachelor’s degree from Emory University, a law degree from the University of Texas School of Law, and a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Texas School of Public Health.  Ms. Marks’ previous professional experience includes serving as the Director of Health and Environmental Policy for the City of Houston; consulting in the health care industry with large systems and community-based providers; starting and directing a successful legal placement firm; and practicing trial and appellate law with major Texas law firms.


Gregory Buffone, PhD, MS

Forty-five years’ experience in Clinical Pathology with an emphasis on molecular diagnosis and information technology. He served as a medical educator for students, residents and fellows in clinical pathology, management and medical informatics and in a variety of leadership roles in quality management, Laboratory Medicine and Pathology Informatics. His research and publications largely focused on: clinical decision making – creation and presentation of evidence-based guidelines and outcomes, and their use in patient-focused and computer-aided decisions related to utilization of health care resources. Dr. Buffone retired as Professor Emeritus from Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s in 2019.

Ordained Episcopal Deacon in 2007 and Rev. Buffone served has served as bi-vocational clergy in the Diocese of Texas at St. John the Divine Episcopal Church. In retirement, he now leads the St. John the Divine GO Ministry under the direction of The Rev. Leigh Spruill, Rector.

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