A magazine for friends of the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Seminars to examine health disparities in US


In “Decoding Disparities,” experts will discuss adverse impacts on the health of people of color.

As the United States continues to confront the impacts of racism and simultaneously grapples with a pandemic that disproportionately affects communities of color, an open-to-the-public lineup of virtual events presented by The Warren Alpert Medical School and Brown’s School of Public Health will explore pressing issues related to health inequality.

The series, “Decoding Disparities,” will examine how the effects of systemic racism, climate change, and social determinants of health have disproportionately and adversely impacted the health of Black and Indigenous individuals and people of color in America.

“The lectures in the ‘Decoding Disparities’ series tackle issues of national importance and feature experts in the field from both within and outside of Brown,” says Jack A. Elias, MD, senior vice president for health affairs and dean of medicine and biological sciences.

Disparities in health are complex and longstanding, says Ashish K. Jha, MD, MPH, dean of the School of Public Health, and the series is designed to bring together scholars and students to discuss steps toward a more equitable and just health care system.

John Balmes

“We need a multidisciplinary approach that harnesses the best that science and evidence have to offer to tackle these challenges,” Jha says. “It’s our duty as health professionals and public health professionals to find ways to engage with communities of color and work with them to drive improvements in health and close gaps in health outcomes.”

The series will kick off on Monday, Oct. 5, when John Balmes, MD, will discuss the ways in which climate change is increasing health disparities. A professor of environmental science at the University of California, San Francisco, Balmes studies the respiratory, cardiovascular, and metabolic health effects of air pollution. Balmes, who is a member of the California Air Resources Board, is cited widely on the impact that the wildfires in western states are having on respiratory illnesses.

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