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Mann Lecture Speaker Dr. Bassett Discusses What Epidemics Reveal

October 14, 2020

On Wednesday afternoon, October 14, 2020, the Dornsife School of Public Health hosted the first virtual Jonathan Mann Health and Human Rights Memorial Lecture. Despite not being in-person, the event was widely attended via Zoom by members of the Dornsife community and public health practitioners, leaders, and students from local and global institutions and organizations.

Ana V. Diez Roux, MD, PHD, MPH, dean and distinguished university professor of epidemiology at the Dornsife School of Public Health, welcomed attendees and introduced speaker Mary T. Bassett, MD, MPH, director of the François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University and the FXB professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, who discussed how public health crises like HIV/AIDS and COVID-19 expose and reveal health inequities in societies.

“Like the disparities in HIV prevalence, the disparities in COVID-19 mortality are not natural or inevitable; they are socially and politically constructed. These societal, cultural and political forces that lead some people to have greater exposure and poorer health than others are what we mean by the term ‘structural racism’,” shared Bassett. “Structural racism reaches back to the beginnings of U.S. history, stretches across its institutions and economy and dwells within our culture.”

Watch the Mann Lecture