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400 Years of Inequality

2019/10/28 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

This past August marked 400 years since the first documented arrival of enslaved Africans on North American shores. At a crucial juncture in our national and global history, this anniversary is a chance not only to consider the central role that slavery played in our foundation, but also to contextualize discussions around contemporary race issues in the US.

This event is part of a broader movement across schools of public health to observe “400 Years of Inequality,” acknowledging the systemic and persistent inequalities and injustices perpetuated by the slave trade.

Watch a video of the event.

Schedule of Events:

Welcome and Overview                               Dean Michelle A. Williams
Introductions                                                   Dr. Mary T. Bassett
Keynote Remarks                                           Prof. Evelynn Hammonds
Keynote Remarks                                           Ms. Linda Villarosa
Discussion                                                         Moderated by Dr. Bassett
Audience Q&A                                                  Moderated by Dr. Bassett
Closing                                                                Dr. Bassett

Reception to follow

Keynote Speaker Bios:

Evelynn M. Hammonds, PhD Evelynn M. Hammonds, PhD
Barbara Gutmann Rosenkrantz Professor of the History of Science
Professor of African and African American Studies
Chair, Department of the History of Science
Harvard University

Evelynn Hammonds is a member of the faculty in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University. She was the first senior vice provost for faculty development and diversity at Harvard (2005–2008). From 2008 to 2013, she served as dean of Harvard College. She holds honorary degrees from Spelman College and Bates College. Hammonds is director of the Project on Race & Gender in Science & Medicine at the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard. She earned a PhD in the history of science from Harvard University, an SM in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a BEE in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and a BS in physics from Spelman College. In 2010, she was appointed to President Barack Obama’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and in 2014 to the President’s Commission on Excellence in Higher Education for African Americans. She has published articles on the history of disease, race and science, African American feminism, African American women and the epidemic of HIV/AIDS, and analyses of gender and race in science and medicine. Her current research focuses on diversity in STEM fields; the intersection of scientific, medical, and sociopolitical concepts of race in the United States; and genetics and society. Hammonds served two terms on the Committee on Equal Opportunity in Science and Engineering, the congressionally mandated oversight committee of the National Science Foundation. She was appointed to the Committee on Women in Science, Engineering and Medicine of the National Academies in 2016. In 2018, she was elected to the National Academy of Medicine.


Linda Villarosa, MALinda Villarosa, MA

Linda Villarosa runs the journalism program at The City College of New York in Harlem and is an assistant professor of media communication arts. She is also a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine.

In August, Villarosa was a contributor to the Times’ 1619 Project, which examines the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans. Her essay discusses enduring medical myths that began in slavery. In April 2018, her story “Why America’s Black Mothers and Babies Are in a Life-or-Death-Crisis” ran on the cover of the magazine. The story looked at the effects of race, racism, and health care inequality on infant and maternal mortality and was nominated for a National Magazine Award.

Villarosa’s cover story “America’s Hidden HIV Epidemic,” about HIV/AIDS among black gay and bisexual men in the South, ran in June 2017. That article was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award and was honored by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists’ Association for excellence in journalism.

Formerly, Villarosa was the health editor of the New York Times and executive editor of Essence magazine. She has written dozens of articles for the Times, including three award-winning stories published on the newspaper’s front page. She is chair of the board of the Feminist Press and has written or co-written a number of books. She is the author of Body & Soul: The Black Women’s Guide to Physical Health and Emotional Well-Being and is currently working on a new book, Under the Skin: Race, Inequality and the Health of a Nation, to be published by Doubleday. A graduate of the University of Colorado and the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, Villarosa spent a year at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health as a journalism fellow.

Photo Illustration by Ben S. Wallace / Harvard Chan / Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Harvard University / Creative Commons Public Domain



1:00 pm - 3:00 pm


Kresge Building First Floor