Sharrona Pearl, PhD, believes in decency, community and the power of collective experience.
As an associate teaching professor of Bioethics in the Health Administration Department, she saw firsthand how the shared reality of a worldwide pandemic shifted some of her students’ thinking about healthcare as a fundamental right. “Having witnessed and experienced the lack of health equity and justice, and healthcare access, these students are so deeply and profoundly committed to taking on these challenges,” Pearl shared. Looking at such a clear acknowledgement of the death, the stakes of inequities and lack of access, she and many other activists felt that these systemic issues would finally be addressed.
Pearl often contemplates how she occupies space on the planet making a personal commitment to change what she can in her immediate surroundings. A few times per month, she and her family volunteer at a community kitchen packing up fruits and vegetables to help food-insecure folks in this city eat with dignity. It’s important for her to build a world around her that feels good for her family and community. She feels the weight of this responsibility whether she’s discussing health equity with students, writing or conducting research on how masked people of color are treated differently, more like criminals. “I have privilege, white skin, my training and others, so there is an obligation to become involved and help shape the spaces I inhabit,” Pearl remarked. This sentiment moved her to become part of the Board of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, giving her an additional platform to create opportunities for the CNHP community to hold conversations about topics that are important to her through a common reading of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and an event about Black and Jewish relations. “Getting together and talking about ideas—that’s actually the kind of society that we ought to have. I am so excited to have the resources that allow me to create these kinds of communities.”