Jefferson Humanities & Health Programs

Anti-Racism in Health Focus

The Anti-Racism in Health Focus, a subset of the Asano Humanities & Health Certificate, brings Jefferson students together to discuss topics at the intersection of health, race, inequity, and justice.

Through a series of discussion-based events, students will develop their understanding of present and historical factors affecting health equity—including how systemic racism disrupts access to and quality of care—to inform their futures as healthcare practitioners committed to socio-political awareness and cultural humility. In doing so, participants will collectively explore ways to incorporate anti-racist practices and paradigms into their work with patients, colleagues, and communities.

The Anti-Racism in Health Focus is committed to::

  • Deconstructing race as a biological category and understanding social constructions of race
  • Acknowledging and confronting structural racism in both healthcare systems and at broader societal levels
  • Highlighting narratives and practices of resilience and creative healing

How do I earn the Anti-Racism in Health Focus?

Jefferson students, from all colleges and programs, are invited to earn the Anti-Racism in Health Focus by doing the following:

  • Register for the Asano Humanities & Health Certificate program and check the box that marks your interest in the Focus (this is not binding).
  • Attend four (4) discussion-based events on the Anti-Racism in Health Focus event list (below). Your other four (4) Asano event credits can come from general Asano events.

Anti-Racism in Health Focus Events 2022-2023

Please note: Events are added to the calendar as they are confirmed. Please check regularly for additional events. 

*If you would like to receive credit for the Asano Humanities & Health Certificate, please fill out this attendance form after the event. All event attendance forms can be found in their respective event listings or on Canvas.

^This event counts as credit towards the Anti-Racism in Health Focus, a subset of the Asano Humanities & Health Certificate, which brings Jefferson students together to discuss topics at the intersection of health, race, inequity, and justice. 

Monday, September 19, 5:30-6:30 p.m. 
Connelly Auditorium,
Dorrance H. Hamilton Building, 1001 Locust Street, Philadelphia 

This event is free and open to all. 

We are facing a tumultuous future that requires a unified and strategic approach to human rights. To create this future, we must weave our strengths together and use our differences as a platform for modeling a positive future built on justice and the politics of love. We need to make a commitment to recognize and support each other by calling people in rather than calling them out. 

Loretta J. Ross is an award-winning, nationally-recognized expert on racism and racial justice, women's rights, and human rights. Her work emphasizes the intersectionality of social justice issues and how intersectionality can fuel transformation. Ross is a visiting associate professor at Smith College (Northampton, MA) in the Program for the Study of Women and Gender. She was a co-founder and the National Coordinator, from 2005 to 2012, of the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective. 

Ross has co-written three books on reproductive justice: Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organize for Reproductive JusticeReproductive Justice: An Introduction; and Radical Reproductive Justice: Foundations, Theory, Practice, Critique. Her latest book, Calling In the Calling Out Culture, is forthcoming in 2022 from publisher Simon & Schuster. 

Ross is a rape survivor, was forced to raise a child born of incest, and is a survivor of sterilization abuse. She is a model of how to survive and thrive despite the traumas that disproportionately affect low-income women of color. She is a graduate of Agnes Scott College and holds an honorary Doctorate of Civil Law degree awarded in 2003 from Arcadia University and a second honorary doctorate degree awarded from Smith College in 2013. She is pursuing a PhD in Women’s Studies at Emory University in Atlanta. She is a mother, grandmother and a great-grandmother.

Following her talk, Professor Ross will be conversation with Karima Bouchenafa, MA, Assistant Director, Philadelphia University Honors Institute at Thomas Jefferson University.

During 2022-2023, the Jefferson Humanities Forum hosts multidisciplinary scholars and thinkers to investigate the theme of Repair. 

Monday, October 3, 12-1 p.m., Scott Memorial Library 200A

Open to all Jefferson students, faculty, and staff

Reading/Listening:

This week, the Health Humanities Reading Group explores the life and legacy of Henrietta Lacks, whose cervical cells, taken and used without her knowledge, have played a role in modernity as we know it: from vaccines to medicine to space travel. Lacks’ story is unique but also representative of the pervasive mistreatment of Black people by institutions of medicine, science, education, and healthcare.

Special guest discussant: Ana Mari­a Lopez, MD, MPH, MACP, Professor and Vice Chair, Medical Oncology, Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Chief of Cancer Services, Jefferson Health New Jersey, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center

Tuesday, November 8, 12-1 p.m., Hamilton 505

Open to all Jefferson students, staff and faculty; registration coming soon

Presenter: Kesha Morant Williams, PhD., Senior Advisor for College Diversity, Equity & Belonging, Elizabethtown College

This presentation challenges participants to consider their Center or what guides the way they show up and operate in the world by examining dominant models of health communication. More specifically participants (1) gain an increased awareness of cultural considerations during health interactions, (2) analyze examples highlighting the need for cultural respect in health care interactions (3) receive a model for implementing relationship-centered aspects of health communication in professional interactions. 

An accomplished communicator and researcher, Dr. Kesha Morant Williams works to improve health and well-being by building community social capital through writing, speaking, researching and teaching. She is the author of The Color of STEM, a booklet highlighting the experiences of Black and Brown young women interested in careers in science, technology, engineering, and math, and co-editor of Reifying Women's Experiences with Invisible Illness.

Wednesday, November 30, 12-1 p.m., in-person, Center City campus location TBD, registration coming soon

Open to all Jefferson students 

Art Therapy is often used as a healing intervention and as a way to foster creativity. Attend Addressing Racial Trauma through Art and learn about racial trauma and how it impacts us and participate in an artistic method of expression of your diverse self. Engage in an art exercise that will help you explore your experience of the racial and ethnic violence occurring in our world and in our communities.  

The art supplies below will be provided. If you have favorite art materials you would enjoy working with, please feel free to bring your own supplies as well. 

  • Paper of various sizes and small canvas options  
  • Colored pencils, markers, paint 
  • Magazine, scissors, glue stick 

Facilitated by: Dr. Shawn Blue, Staff Psychologist, Student Counseling Center, Thomas Jefferson University. 

Co-presented by the Student Counseling Center and Jefferson Humanities & Health. 

2021-2022 Archive

Thursday, August 26, 12-1 p.m., Hamilton Building

Open to all Jefferson students, faculty, and staff

Continue the conversation about race and medicine following Professor Dorothy Roberts’ Berkowitz Humanism in Medicine lecture. Join a small-group discussion, facilitated by a Jefferson faculty member, to debrief with classmates about ways to integrate the history of race and medicine into both the present moment, and your future professional practice. 

Jefferson faculty facilitators:

    Denine Crittendon, MPH, PhD(c), Instructor, Master of Public Health Program, Jefferson College of Population Health.

    Bernard Lopez, MD, Associate Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, Thomas Jefferson University Senior Associate Dean for Diversity and Community Engagement, Professor and Executive Vice Chair, Department of Emergency Medicine, Sidney Kimmel Medical College

    Dimitri Papanagnou, MD, Associate Dean, Faculty Development, Associate Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, Sidney Kimmel Medical College.

Please note: These discussions will take place in-person, in the Hamilton Building on Jefferson's Center City campus. Participants will be randomly assigned to a small group and notified of the room number leading up to the event; lunch provided.

 

Open to all Jefferson students, faculty, and staff

Reading/Listening:

This week, the Health Humanities Reading Group explores the life and legacy of Henrietta Lacks, whose cervical cells, taken and used without her knowledge, have played a role in modernity as we know it: from vaccines to medicine to space travel. Lacks’ story is unique but also representative of the pervasive mistreatment of Black people by institutions of medicine, science, education, and healthcare.

Special guest discussant: Ana Mari­a Lopez, MD, MPH, MACP, Professor and Vice Chair, Medical Oncology, Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Chief of Cancer Services, Jefferson Health New Jersey, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center

Open to all Jefferson students, faculty, and staff

Join a conversation with Deirdre Cooper Owens, PhD, the Charles & Linda Wilson Professor in the History of Medicine and Director of the Humanities in Medicine Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Director of the Program in African American History at The Library Company of Philadelphia. Professor Cooper Owens is the author of Medical Bondage: Race, Gender and the Origins of American Gynecology (University of Georgia Press, 2018). In her book, she investigates the relationship between chattel slavery and modern gynecology in the U.S., retelling the stories of Black enslaved women and Irish immigrant women whose lives were shaped by exploitative medical research. Professor Cooper Owens highlights the role of structural racism in the achievements of pioneering American doctors including James Marion Sims, who received a medical degree from Jefferson Medical College in 1835. 

Materials
Discussion group participants are asked to watch Prof. Cooper Owens’ recorded lecture in advance (Total length: 1 hr to view recorded lecture; begin at approx. 8 min, after introductions, and end at 1 hr 07 min).

  • WatchDeirdre Cooper Owens, PhD, on "Medical Bondage: Race, Gender and the Origins of American Gynecology" at UC Berkeley on Feb. 21, 2020. 
  • Optional Reading: Read Chapter 1 of Medical Bondage, available on Canvas. To access the reading, visit the Anti-Racism and Racial Justice Resources page in the DEI Resources Module in the Jefferson Humanities Health Canvas page. Instructions to access Canvas below.

Open to all Jefferson students, staff and faculty; light refreshments provided.

Join us for the fifth annual Interprofessional Story Slam

Over the past year and a half, many of us have become more aware of the manifestations and impact of racism in our society. We have struggled to begin to dismantle and transform the systems that uphold racism, which can feel overwhelming, angering and painful. During the Story Slam, Jefferson faculty, students and alumni will share five-minute stories exploring the theme “A Step Forward: Moving from Awareness to Anti-Racism in Healthcare” and help us consider how we can create change and move forward during a time of growing attention to racism and disparities; stand with each other for social justice and health equity; and ultimately, care for our patients, our communities, our families and ourselves. Following the stories, attendees will be invited to join brief small group discussions and share reflections and goals for the future.

Open to all Jefferson students

Art Therapy is often used as a healing intervention and as a way to foster creativity. Attend Addressing Racial Trauma through Art and learn about racial trauma and how it impacts us and participate in an artistic method of expression of your diverse self. Engage in an art exercise that will help you explore your experience of the racial and ethnic violence occurring in our world and in our communities. 

Art supplies to have on hand:

  • A piece of paper, any size, but at least 8.5 x 11 or a canvas or art journal 
  • Colored pencils, markers, paint
  • Optional: Magazine, scissors, glue stick

Facilitated by: Dr. Shawn Blue, Staff Psychologist, Student Counseling Center.

Co-presented by the Student Counseling Center and Jefferson Humanities & Health. 

Open to all Jefferson students, faculty, and staff

Reading: Marie V. Plaisime, David J. Malebranche, Andrea L. Davis and Jennifer A. Taylor, “Healthcare Providers’ Formative Experiences with Race and Black Male Patients in Urban Hospital Environments,” Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities (2017) 4: 1120-1127. 

Facilitator: Denine R. Crittendon, MPH, PhD(c), Lecturer, Jefferson College of Population Health

How does the normalization of structural racism at systemic levels impact patient-clinician encounters? This discussion will focus on a recent study conducted with Philadelphia-area physicians, nurses and 3rd and 4th year medical students which explored how personal and professional experiences influence interactions with Black male patients.

Participants are expected to read, and come prepared to discuss, the selected reading. To access the reading, participants must visit the Anti-Racism in Health Focus page in the Event Links module of the Jefferson Humanities & Health organization on Canvas. 

Please note: This discussion will take place in-person, in the Hamilton Building on Jefferson's Center City campus. Please only register if you are able to join in-person. Lunch gift card provided.

Open to all Jefferson students, faculty, and staff

Reading: Brad N. Greenwood, Rachel R. Hardeman, Laura Huang and Aaron Sojourner, “Physician–patient racial concordance and disparities in birthing mortality for newborns,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2020) 117 (35): 21194-21200. 

Facilitator: Denine R. Crittendon, MPH, PhD(c), Lecturer, Jefferson College of Population Health

This small-group discussion will consider a 2020 paper that posits that newborn-physician racial concordance (the newborn and doctor have the same race) improves mortality rates for Black babies, especially during more challenging births and in hospital spaces where more Black newborns are delivered.

Participants are expected to read, and come prepared to discuss, the selected reading. To access the reading, participants must visit the Anti-Racism in Health Focus page in the Event Links module of the Jefferson Humanities & Health organization on Canvas. 

Open to all Jefferson students, faculty, and staff

Reading: McMillen, Matt. (2021, April 8). Race-Norming in Health Care: A Special Report. HealthCentral.

Facilitator: Denine R. Crittendon, MPH, PhD(c), Lecturer, Jefferson College of Population Health

Join a discussion about the implications of “race-norming” and the movement to phase out race-based calculations in medical education and clinical settings. Participants are expected to read, and come prepared to discuss, the selected reading. 

Open to all Jefferson students, faculty, and staff

Reading: Marilisa C. Navarro, “Radical Recipe: Veganism as Anti-Racism”
Time: 18 min read

Special guest discussant: Marilisa C. Navarro, PhD, Assistant Professor of African American Studies, College of Humanities and Sciences, Thomas Jefferson University.

This week, HHRG will discuss anti-racism in relation to food, foodways, veganism and cookbooks. Special guest discussant Dr. Marilisa Navarro will join the group in considering how two cookbooks—Afro-Vegan by Bryant Terry and Decolonize Your Diet by Luz Calvo and Catriona Esquibel—go beyond conveying recipes to produce knowledge, critique racism and colonialism, deconstruct the white-centric veganism narrative, and highlight the voices, histories and experiences of people of color.

Participants are expected to read, and come prepared to discuss, the selected reading. To access the reading and registration link, participants must visit the Health Humanities Reading Group: Radical Recipe page in the Event Links module of the Jefferson Humanities & Health organization on Canvas.