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The Coronavirus Exposes America’s Public Health Crisis: Racism

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With support from: Lowell Institute
Date and time
Wednesday, February 10, 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic is the most devastating health issue of this century. It has disproportionately impacted African Americans and other marginalized populations, heightening awareness of racism as the root of America’s public health crisis. Dr. Christina M. Greer, Associate Professor of Political Science at Fordham University, moderates a discussion in three parts to examine the impact of COVID-19 and the need to retool healthcare to improve health outcomes for African Americans and other marginalized people. Covid-19 researchers from Moderna share the most up-to-date information about the vaccines and public health officials discuss plans for vaccinating underserved communities in Massachusetts. This conversation also covers the historical perspective of race, medicine and healthcare in America, especially the role that Black physicians and community health centers play in addressing the social determinants of health. Finally, meet the next generation of physicians and learn how they and their colleagues are working to end the existence of implicit bias in health care. Image: Museum of African American History ### **Links to more information** [MGH Disparities Solutions](https://www.mghdisparitiessolutions.org/dsc-team) [BU School of Public Health](https://www.bu.edu/sph/) [Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers](https://www.massleague.org/) Article: [Historically, crises have lasted longest in Black communities. Bostonians worry that COVID-19 will be no different.](https://www.bostonglobe.com/2021/01/30/metro/historically-crises-have-lasted-longest-black-communities-bostonians-worry-that-covid-19-will-be-no-different/)

**Dr. Christina Greer** is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Fordham University - Lincoln Center (Manhattan) campus. Her research and teaching focus on American politics, black ethnic politics, urban politics, quantitative methods, Congress, New York City and New York State politics, campaigns and elections, and public opinion. Prof. Greer's book Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream (Oxford University Press) investigates the increasingly ethnically diverse black populations in the US from Africa and the Caribbean. She finds that both ethnicity and a shared racial identity matter and also affect the policy choices and preferences for black groups. Professor Greer is currently writing her second manuscript and conducting research on the history of all African Americans who have run for the executive office in the U.S. Her research interests also include mayors and public policy in urban centers. Her previous work has compared criminal activity and political responses in Boston and Baltimore. She is the host and producer of The Aftermath with Christina Greer on Ozy.com http://www.ozy.com/topic/the-aftermath. Prof. Greer received her BA from Tufts University and her MA, MPhil, and PhD in Political Science from Columbia University.
**Dr. Paulette Denise Chandler** is a primary care physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital. She is also an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. She specializes in internal medicine and preventative medicine in Boston, MA. She graduated from Duke University School of Medicine with her medical degree in 1993. Her research aims to uncover links between nutrition and colorectal cancer risk by using metabolomics, the systematic study of small molecules, that are present in blood.
**Dr. Bisola Ojikutu** is an infectious disease physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital. She has dedicated her career to overcoming racial and ethnic inequity experienced by people living with or at risk for HIV. Dr. Ojikutu is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Global and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School and an Associate Physician within the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She is also a faculty member within the Infectious Disease Divisions at Brigham and Women’s and Massachusetts General Hospitals. Her research explores the impact of structural factors and norms/beliefs (e.g. racism/discrimination, immigration, medical mistrust, homonegativity) on HIV transmission and use of biomedical HIV prevention.
Michael Curry, Esq. the immediate past president of the Boston Branch of the NAACP (2011-2016). Mr. Curry has over twenty years of dedicated service to the NAACP on the city, state-area conference and national levels. Mr. Curry serves as the Legislative Affairs Director & Senior Counsel at Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, which represents 49 health centers, serving over 800,000 patients. He also serves on the boards of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, the Massachusetts Non-profit Network, Kids Count Advisory Board, City of Boston’s Compensation Advisory Group, and Roxbury Community College. He has received numerous local and national leadership awards for leadership and advocacy.
Udodiri Okwandu is a graduate student in the History of Science, with a secondary in African and African American Studies and a Presidential Scholar at Harvard University. She is interested in the history of medicine and public health, history of gender and sexuality, and critical race theory in the United States. She is particularly interested in the ways in which scientific and medical inquiry have been deployed by the state to manage and control marginalized populations. Orginally from Southern California, Udodiri completed her undergraduate studies in 2017 at Harvard College where she graduated cum laude with an AB in the History of science (with a focus in Mind, Brain, and Behavior) and a minor in Global Health and Health Policy. Her senior thesis, which won the Thomas T. Hoopes Prize, an award which recognizes outstanding scholarly work or research by students selected by a committee of faculty from Harvard University's Faculty of Arts and Sciences, examined the medicalization and racialization of Civil Rights protests in the 1960s, contextualizing it with the rise of law and order political ideology.
**Dr. Yvette Cozier** is the Assitant Dean of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice at Boston University's School of Public Health. Dr. Cozier is currently an investigator on the Black Women’s Health Study (BWHS) and the BWHS Sarcoidosis Study at the Slone Epidemiology Center. Her research interests include social and genetic determinants of health in African-American women -- specifically, the influence of factors such as racism, neighborhood socioeconomic status, and genetics in the development of cancer, cardiovascular risk, and pulmonary (sarcoidosis) disease. Additional research interests include oral health, and the role that the faith community, particularly the black church, plays in health promotion/disease prevention efforts associated with HIV/AIDS, hypertension, and obesity.
**Dr. Lucy Ogbu-Nwobodo** is a resident at MGH and McLean Harvard Psychiatry Residency Program. Born in Nigeria, Lucy was brought by relatives to Oakland, California when she was eleven. The United States promised to provide a better life, but as an undocumented student for over twelve years Lucy had to fight for her own survival. As a medical student at UC Davis School of Medicine, Lucy serves as co-director of the Imani Clinic, a student-run clinic that provides services to the medically disenfranchised in Sacramento. She is the co-president of the Student National Medical Association, as well as the president and founder of the UC Davis Neurosurgery Student Interest Group. Lucy is dedicated to improving health care through social justice. She plans to specialize in neurosurgery. After medical school, her goal is to bring specialty medical services to low-income communities.
**Dr. Alden Landry** is Assistant Dean of the Office for Diversity Inclusion and Community Partnership and Associate Director and Advisor for the Castle Society at Harvard Medical School. He is also an Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA. He is an emergency medicine physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and is the founder of Hip Hop Health Inc. He received his BS from Prairie View A&M University in 2002, MD from the University of Alabama in 2006 and completed his residency in Emergency Medicine at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in 2009. In 2010, he earned an MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health. He completed the Commonwealth Fund/Harvard University Fellowship in Minority Health Policy in 2010 as well. He was also awarded the Disparities Solutions Center/Aetna Fellow in Health Disparities award in 2010-2011. In addition to his clinical interests, Dr. Landry is involved in research on emergency department utilization trends, disparities in care and quality of care.
**Dr. Josh Budhu** is a neuro-oncology fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women's Hospital. His work is focused on addressing and improving health equity through advocacy and writing.
**Dr. Nattaly Greene** is an orthopedic surgery resident at Mass. General Hospital. Dr. Greene graduated from the Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine in 2019. She specializes in Orthopedic Surgery.