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Deeper Than DNA -- The Role of Cultural Health Behaviors on Chronic Conditions | Sean Small & Emya Lee


As health and wellness professionals, we understand that the prevalence of disease risk is not distributed equally among populations, communities, and individuals. In this session, attendees will discover how chronic condition predisposition goes beyond genetics and examine the effects of various cultural norms and their role in the exacerbation of disease risk and outcomes. Using a culturally competent lens to examine the role of cultural health behaviors and their relationship to chronic conditions will inform diverse and inclusive practices that we can use to facilitate the broadest possible changes.

Following this session, participants will be able to:

  1. describe specific cultural health behaviors that play vital roles in chronic condition outcomes, specifically among people of color.
  2. demonstrate how to utilize health literacy and other strategies to address and change adverse health behaviors in a culturally competent manner.
  3. discuss ways to increase diversity and inclusion in wellness programming to have a greater effect on wider populations.

NOTE: "Registration" for individual sessions is not required. Once onsite, you may attend any sessions on the day(s) for which you are registered.


  • Sean Small, MPH, CHES

    Sean Small is a public health practitioner and Certified Health Education Specialist with a palpable passion for affecting tangible change in the health behaviors and outcomes of the people he serves. In his role as Public Health Education Chief for the City of Houston, he manages the nationally recognized Employee Wellness Program which seeks to provide the more than 22,000 city employees with the education, tools, and resources needed to achieve optimal physical and mental health. Sean also serves on multiple boards and health coalitions. A product of Oakwood University (undergraduate) and Nova Southeastern University and Meharry Medical College (graduate), Sean is a proponent of education as a means of health betterment for underserved and disproportionately affected communities. Seeking to stem the tide of chronic disease in the African American community, Sean has utilized health education, community organization, and clinical research to affect tangible change.

  • Emya Lee, MA, CHES

    Emya Lee is a Sr. Public Health Educator for the City Houston. She facilitates chronic condition health classes, coordinates employee wellness events, and leads the city’s MoveSpring physical activity platform that is designed to encourage movement. Emya studied Public Health, Health Science, Biology and Substance Abuse, receiving a Bachelor of Science from James Madison University in Virginia and later received her master’s degree in Healthy Lifestyle Coaching. She is a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) through NCHEC and a Certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach (CPT&CNC) through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). She also serves as chair for the City of Houston Human Resources Safety Committee to create a culture of employee safety in the workplace.

August 27, 2024
Tue 1:30 PM CDT
In-person Individual session registration NOT required

Duration 1H 15M

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