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Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice

Meet Michelle Stephens, a Humanist Who Explores Connections between Race and Health

Michelle Stephens RGHI Story on BBBH
Photo credit: Malcolm Manning

Meet Our Faculty: In this Rutgers Global Health Institute content series, we highlight our core faculty members.

She may not have realized it at the time, but Michelle Stephens’s apparently disparate professional roles – as the dean of humanities at Rutgers’ School of Arts and Sciences and as a psychoanalyst – placed her perfectly to create a major scholarly initiative examining the interplay between race and health. That endeavor, Black Bodies, Black Health, is a signature project of the Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice, founded at Rutgers in 2020 by Stephens, who also serves as its executive director.

“As a trained psychoanalyst,” says Stephens, who became a core faculty member of Rutgers Global Health Institute in 2022, “I’ve worked on a number of initiatives having to do with race, mental health, and psychic wellbeing, and on the relationship between individuals’ health – both psychological and physiological – and the broader cultural and social contexts within which they live.” Now, through this universitywide and highly collaborative institute and the Black Bodies, Black Health project, in particular, Stephens is bringing new energy to critical studies of the connections between structural racism and health outcomes.

Other Rutgers Roles

 Read the full story from the Rutgers Global Health Institute here.