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Black Bodies, Black Health

Black Bodies, Black Health

Black Bodies, Black Health is a one-year research project, supported by a $725,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Through seed grants, workshops, conferences and both scholarly and public writing, Black Bodies, Black Health incentivizes humanists, social scientists, and biomedical researchers to engage in interdisciplinary work to explore and unpack structural racism in service of creating equitable health outcomes.

Black Bodies, Black Health Steering Committee

Building an Inter-Disciplinary Conversation

Led by PIs Anna Branch and Michelle Stephens, the Steering Committee of Black Bodies, Black Health: Imagining a Just Racial Future focuses on organizing cross-disciplinary discussion groups of experts to wrestle with the question: 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? 

With a wide and diverse range of expertise, steering committee members help to frame the seed grant program that incentivizes and organizes Rutgers researchers, and the interdisciplinary workshops and conversations convened to synthesize and develop their specific research projects. Steering Committee members will contribute to the project’s final report identifying the research needed in humanistic and social scientific fields to ameliorate structural racism as a determinant of health and wellbeing.

Seed Grants

The Black Bodies, Black Health project provides seed grants for spring and summer of 2022 to support a range of multi-disciplinary research projects that focus on forms of physician educationthe carceral state; environmental racism; and the physiological impact of racism on black bodies

Researchers in fields as diverse as applied psychology (Alexandria Bauer, GSAPP NB), history (Johanna Schoen, SAS NB) and medicine (Pamela Brug, RBHS), examine such topics as communication between doctors and black families in neonatal ICUs, the impact of cultural humility among physicians, and the effectivity of technological solutions to uniting like-minded patients and physicians.

Studies of the impact of environmental racism on health outcomes by researchers from the environmental sciences (Anita Bakshi, SEBS NB), nursing (Wanda Williams and Mei Fu, SON CMD) and history (Rachel Devlin, SAS NB) focus on environmental justice and indigeneity, the impact of place-based versus person-based barriers on rates of breast cancer screenings among black women, and a micro-history of the impact of environmental racism on a southern black community.

As a crucial contemporary instance of the institutionalization of systemic, structural racism with negative health outcomes, scholars from philosophy (Lauren Lyons, SAS NB), psychology (Lori Hoggard, SAS NB) nursing (Ann Bagchi, RBHS) and social work (Maxine Davis, SSW NB), are studying the ethics of carceral justice...

Researchers from applied psychology (Peter Economou, GSAPP NB) and labor relations (Yana Rodgers, SMLR NB) study racism as a contributor to physiological stress in black athletes and black women in the labor market.

Black Bodies, Black Health Workshop 1 -  Disrupting Health Disparities, Thinking Critically About Race

Developing a shared language about race

This virtual workshop held on March 30th, 2022, brought a multi-disciplinary group of seed grantees together with humanistic scholars to begin the process of envisioning inter-disciplinary thinking and collaboration in the study of health inequities and the reification of race. BBBH seed grantees met to discuss their projects and develop further a shared vocabulary regarding race and race-thinking across their multiple disciplinary locations and methodologies. 

Speakers: Patricia Akhimie, Assoc. Prof., English SASN (NWK);  Derrick Darby, Dist. Prof. Philosophy SAS (NB); Frank Edwards, Asst. Prof., School of Criminal Justice (NWK), ISGRJ Early Career Faculty Fellow; Melinda Gonzalez, Postdoc Assoc., Sociology-Anthropology SASN (NWK), ISGRJ Post Doc; Keith Green, Assoc. Prof., Africana Studies FAS CMD, ISGRJ Senior Fellow; Jennifer Mittelstadt, Prof, History SAS (NB); Charles Senteio, Asst. Prof., School of Communication and Information (SCI), NB.

Black Health Disparities

Watch the highlight video

BBBH title

Black Bodies, Black Health Workshop 1 - Highlight Video

Mapping Value: Structural Racism and Health Consequences

The Rutgers School of Public Health hosted a 21PHirst Signature Series Webinar by Dr. Jonathan Holloway, President of Rutgers University, on May 5, 2022 titled "Mapping Value: Structural Racism and Health Consequences." 

How do we measure our values and what are the consequences of those value systems? President Holloway examined a history of this valuation through map-making, reflecting upon what these maps tell us about ourselves and the implications of our belief systems.

Watch the archive of the event here:

"On The Pandemic" - The Impact of Race on Health

On the Pandemic is a podcast series, hosted by Mary Marchetta O'Dowd, in which university experts and leaders in health examine the critical challenges we face in our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the Pandemic Podcast, Season 2, Ep. 9

Listen to Episode 9: The Impact on Race on Health


Mary Marchetta O'Dowd, MPH

Executive Director, Health Systems and Population Health Integration

Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences 


Denise V. Rodgers, MD, FAAFP

 Vice Chancellor of Interprofessional Programs

Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences

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