Examining Race and Public Health

June 12, 2020

A recent faculty webinar explored the public health impacts of systemic racism and violence, with speakers including Dean Linda P. FriedCharles Branas, chair of epidemiology; Raygine DiAquoi, assistant dean of the Office of Diversity, Culture, and InclusionRobert Fullilove, associate dean of community and minority affairs; and Goleen Samari, assistant professor of population and family health. (Read Dean Fried’s recent statement on anti-Black violence here.)

“In the wake of the racist murders of the last few weeks, on top of the disparate effects of Covid on black and brown communities in our city and our country, and in the context of longstanding systemic racism, it is critical to now propel our School and our partnerships forward toward transformational goals and actions. We have a responsibility as public health leaders in a leadership institution to wholly dedicate to resolving the health inequalities that result from racism to put the full weight of our leadership and our whole community into agreeing on a next-stage transformational agenda that is required,” said Dean Fried.

Columbia Mailman School senior leadership is committed to identifying and creating the actions to carry out this transformative agenda, leveraging the expertise and passion of students, faculty, and staff. Every person has a right to dignity, safety, wellbeing, and health. Racism and anti-Black violence demonstrate how far we are from ensuring those basic rights to all individuals. As a public health community, we know that anti-Black violence is an epidemic, and we must develop solutions to end it. The devastating impact of COVID-19 on communities of color has also laid bare the legacies of health inequities and injustice experienced by communities of color in our country, which are rooted in our history of slavery and upheld systemically throughout our society.