Racism as a Public Health Crisis: UMass Amherst-Health Equity Network Webinar Series Continues

Loretta Ross
Loretta Ross

*** MEDIA ADVISORY ***

Racism as a Public Health Crisis: UMass Amherst-Health Equity Network Webinar Series Continues

DATE:         Wednesday, Sept. 23

TIME:          12 noon-1 p.m.

WHAT:        Loretta Ross, Smith College visiting associate professor in the Program for the Study of Women and Gender, will lead a conversation on “Calling In, Not Calling Out.”

WHERE:     Register here for the free virtual conference.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences and its partners in the Western Massachusetts Health Equity Network continue their series of virtual conversations on racism with the first of three talks by social justice activist Loretta Ross, co-founder of the Reproductive Justice Movement.

“Racism is a public health crisis — manifesting as police brutality and the disparities made more explicit by COVID-19, which has disproportionately affected communities of color and has further illuminated the deeply rooted structural racism in our country,” says Risa Silverman, director of the School’s Office of Public Health Practice and Outreach. “This series delves into the underlying factors behind these disparities in exposure and care, as well as the long-standing barriers to healthcare that communities of color continue to experience, and begins conversations as to what we can do collectively to address them.”

Reflecting on five decades of social justice activism, Ross teaches a course at Smith College called “White Supremacy, Human Rights and Calling In the Calling Out Culture.” She will host two more talks in October and November.

“These conversations are needed and timely,” says Brenda Evans, coordinator and community research liaison with the School’s Center for Community Health Equity Research and co-chair of the Network’s Conversations. “I am very excited to listen and learn from Loretta Ross – she is one of my sheroes!”

The health equity series kicked off last month with a webinar on “Race and Health Equity Tools for Local Governments and Organizations.” A recording of the session is available here.

The Western Massachusetts HealthEquity Network is a broad, cross-sectional coalition of Western Massachusetts community members and entities housed at the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at UMass Amherst. Together, they work to advance health equity and address the social determinants of health and root causes of institutional and structural barriers to health.

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