Racism is a public health crisis
On September 10th, 2020, Denison hosted a virtual conversation addressing COVID-19, Public Health, and the central Ohio Black community. The webinar, titled “Racism Is A Public Health Crisis” was sponsored by The Black Studies Program. Dr. Terrance Dean (Black Studies) coordinated the event featuring Denison panelist Dr. Fareeda Griffith (Director, Global Health and faculty member in Anthropology/Sociology), and Dr. Mysheika W. Roberts, MD, MPH, Health Commissioner for Columbus Public Health.
The webinar tackled topics of: COVID-19 and its effects on the Black community, the impact of implicit biases in health care delivery, the historical and present implications of vaccinations and the Black community, differential health outcomes related to race, and trust between Black communities and health-care institutions as a historical concern. To combat systemic racism and its impact on health care, a prominent solution discussed as a recurring theme was the need to create an equity agenda that changes stereotypical narratives of Blackness. Examples of such stereotypes include things such as Black pain being perceived as invalid, or Black patients not being believed when they present their symptomatology). The ability to forge a health equity agenda is only activated when there is a willingness to work across differences. This willingness to come together across identities helps assure that Black populations will not merely survive, but will also thrive as they navigate Health care systems throughout the Diaspora.
Dr. Mysheika Roberts:
Dr. Mysheika Roberts is a Maryland School of Nursing(UMSOM) alum and a Michigan alum where she earned both her MD and her MPH from MICH. She is currently Health Commissioner for the Columbus Public Health Board, where she leads more than 500 health professionals in addressing the social determinants of health ranging from safe affordable housing and education to job—toward the overall goal of decreasing contemporary health disparities across race, class, gender and other differences.
Dr. Fareeda Griffith is an Paine College (PC) alum where she majored in Sociology, graduating summa cum laude. She attended University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), earning an M.A. in Demography and a Ph.D. in Sociology. Dr. Griffith is currently the inaugural Director of Global Health and Associate professor of Anthropology Sociology here at Denison. Her scholarship includes research on race relations and residential segregation patterns in South Africa and Somali immigrants and health perceptions in Columbus, Ohio.
Dr. Terrance Dean is an Assistant Professor in the Black Studies Program. He received his BA in Communications from Fisk, and his Masters of Theological Studies and Doctorate of Philosophy from Vanderbilt. He is author of several books including: Hiding in Hip-Hop: On the Down Low in the Entertainment Industry—from Music to Hollywood (2008), Mogul: a Novel (2011), Straight From Your Gay Best Friend: The Straight Up Truth About Relationships, Work, and Having a Fabulous Life (2010), and Visible Lives: Three Stories in Tribute to E. Lynn Harris (2010).