Black Bodies, Black Health: Imagining a Just Racial Future
A Directors' Signature Research Project: Institute Founding and Executive Director Michelle Stephens, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick and Senior Fellow Anna Branch, (Central), Senior Vice President of Equity and Professor of Sociology, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers–New Brunswick
The COVID-19 pandemic brought to the fore the deadly consequences of racial disparities in health. More than spotlighting racial health inequity, however, the pandemic exposed anew the depths of staggering racial inequality nationwide. In every sector from education to the labor market, housing to healthcare, the provision to meet basic human needs and take steps to ensure wellness were racially unequal. These are national problems but as one of the most diverse states in the country, New Jersey holds several unwelcome distinctions for long-standing inequities in critical systems that have profound implications for vulnerability to poor health outcomes.
What would we learn from bringing humanists, social scientists, and biomedical researchers to the table to explore, unpack, and disrupt structural racism in service of creating equitable health outcomes? What would a just racial future require to remediate the imprints of the past in the structures of our present? This one-year research project, supported by a $725,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, brings together cross-disciplinary groups of experts to explore and unpack structural racism in service of creating equitable health outcomes, centering humanistic and social scientific approaches.