Naming Racism

Yesterday I had Camara Phyllis Jones, PhD, MD, MPH, as guest lecturer for my seminar on health disparities. It was a homecoming of sorts for her. She and I first met in the early 1990s when I was a newly minted assistant professor and she was a PhD student at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Jones’ work should be well known to readers of this blog. She has published and lectured on the effects of racism on health and health disparities for many years. She played a leading role in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s work on race, racism, and health in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.  And she was just elected president-elect of the American Public Health Association. She is a fantastic lecturer and often uses allegory to illustrate how racism affects health. 

About midway through her lecture, a student raised his hand and got her attention to ask a question about the utility of “naming racism.” My interpretation and rephrasing of his question—is it helpful to use the word racism or is the word so politically charged and divisive that it causes people to “tune you out?”


You can return home

I just returned from a visit to my old neighborhood, Brownsville (which is the capital of the Republic of Brooklyn. I had a great time and met with some great people there. Brownsville seems to always get a bad rap for being a violent place. But there is a lot of love and beauty there as well. 


Election to the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences

I am thrilled that the Institute of Medicine has elected me as one of the 70 new members this year!  Election to the IOM is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of public health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service. It's particularly special that I was elected along with my academic advisor during my public health training at the University of Michigan, Dr. Arline Geronimus. The Johns Hopkins Office of Communications has issued a press release highlighting this career achievement.