COVID, Racism and Critical Race Theory
About the talk:
With her declaration that racism is a public health issue, CDC director Walensky ushered in a shift toward naming racism in order to address its health implications. Stark racial/ethnic inequities in COVID diagnoses and deaths have persisted over the course of the COVID pandemic, revealing the myriad of mechanisms by which racism contributes to health disparities and the need for more sophisticated approaches to investigating them. For instance, residential segregation, a form of structural racism, limits access to healthcare in segregated communities, while hate crimes, an interpersonal form of racism often directed toward Asians during this period, affects mental health outcomes in this population. These health inequities are not unrelated to the racialized social inequalities and political strife that characterize the US in the early 21st century. Public Health Critical Race Praxis (PHCRP), which is rooted in Critical Race Theory (CRT), offers a set of tools to guide how researchers and others conceptualize, examine, explain and address these problems.
Drawing on PHCRP, this presentation characterizes racism in the early 21st century,
discusses cautions and opportunities for addressing the implications of racism for
COVID inequities and shares recent findings from ongoing research.
About the speaker:
Chandra L. Ford is a professor of community health sciences and the founding director of the Center for the Study of Racism, Social Justice and Health in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. She is lead editor (with Derek Griffith, Marino Bruce and Keon Gilbert) of Racism: Science & Tools for the Public Health Professional (APHA Press, 2019), which was named an Outstanding Academic Title for 2020 by the American Library Association’s Choice magazine. She earned a doctorate in health behavior from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and completed postdoctoral fellowships in social medicine (at UNC School of Medicine) and epidemiology (at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health), the latter as a W. K. Kellogg Foundation Kellogg Health Scholar.
Her work offers conceptual and methodological tools for studying racism as a public health problem. She originated (with Collins Airhihenbuwa) the Public Health Critical Race Praxis, which is an approach for applying Critical Race Theory empirically. Much of her empirical work examines inequities in HIV testing, care and prognoses, or documents barriers to services among LGBTQ survivors of intimate partner violence. Her work has been published in the American Journal of Public Health, the Boston University Law Review, Ethnicity & Disease, Health Promotion Practice, JAIDS, Social Science & Medicine, and other peer-reviewed journals.
Ford has received many teaching awards and several notable honors, including the 2020 Wade Hampton Frost Award from the Epidemiology Section of the American Public Health Association, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Black Women Physicians, a TrueHero Award from TruEvolution and the 2019 Paul Cornely Award from the Health Activist Dinner group.
Ford serves the profession extensively. In 2016, she served on the National Academy of Medicine’s Committee on Community-based Solutions to Promote Health Equity in the United States and was named co-chair of the Committee on Science of the American Public Health Association’s Anti-Racism Collaborative. She is a longstanding member of the American College of Epidemiology’s Minority Affairs Committee and a former president of the Society for the Analysis of African American Public Health Issues. In addition, she has been involved with the Black Radical Congress and remains involved with the Black Coalition Fighting Back Serial Murders.