Lecture Series Explores Effects of Race and Racism on Health


Over the past decades, research has documented substantial disparities in health outcomes associated with race. Yet science has proven (in fact, disproven previously dominant opposing theories) that race is not a biological determinant for disease. So how can we explain these disparities?

The Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy (IRRPP) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) is sponsoring a series to examine why race is so consequential for health outcomes.

The Embodied Inequality: Unpacking the Impact of Race & Racism on Health series organized by IRRPP aims to explore the connections between race and health, with an emphasis on the impacts of racism. The series addresses the role of race and racism in access to health care and health care delivery; the mental, emotional, and physical health impacts of structural and interpersonal racism; and how academics, physicians, and community groups can play a role in improving health outcomes for vulnerable communities.

The Institute for Health Research and Policy (IHRP) is proud to be one of the co-sponsors of this series.

The next event in the series will focus on Trauma as Community Public Health Crisis: Healing the Harms of Police Violence at UIC’s School of Public Health auditorium from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 17, 2016.

The panel of speakers will include a survivor of torture by Chicago police and activists from the Chicago Justice Torture Center. Public health scientists from the UIC School of Public Health and Adler University’s Institute on Public Safety and Social Justice will also contribute to a discussion of police violence as a public health crisis for the Black community. Panelists will explain how survivors and activists are addressing these challenges and explore the role that health professionals can play in healing collective harms.

For more information on the series and to RSVP for the next event, visit: http://irrpp.uic.edu/events/FY2017/nov/11-17-2016.shtml.

Last month, IRRPP brought in Dr. Jonathan Metzl, director of the Center for Health, Medicine, and Society at Vanderbilt University and author of The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease. Dr. Metzl discussed “structural competency,” a new paradigm and approach to health care that can address more upstream factors than “cultural competency.”

The series kicked off early in 2016 with a discussion between leading UIC critical race and public health scholars on overcoming silos as barriers to interdisciplinary work on these issues. It was followed by a guest lecture from Harvard’s renowned epidemiologist and health activist Dr. Nancy Krieger on the need for data to measure police violence and its disproportionate impacts on racial minorities as well as the impacts of segregation and Jim Crow laws.

To learn more about the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy at UIC, visit their website.

This news release was written by Alison Goldstein, MPH, senior research specialist and director of communications for the Health Policy Center at UIC’s Institute for Health Research and Policy.