As conversations have ignited across the nation resulting from the murder of Breonna Taylor, renowned scholar activists, researchers, and policy advisors provide research, evidence, and solutions to dismantling racial profiling of Black women. The virtual gathering emphasizes the double threat of the pandemic and raises a call to action.
Amani M. Allen, Ph.D., M.P.H is Executive Associate Dean and Associate Professor of Community Health Sciences and Epidemiology at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health, where her research focuses on race and socioeconomic health disparities and the measurement and study of racism as a social determinant of health.
Her broad research interest is to integrate concepts, theories and methods from epidemiology and the social and biomedical sciences to examine racial inequalities in health as they exist across populations, across place, and over the life-course. Allen is Principal Investigator of the African American Women’s Heart & Health Study, which examines the association between racism stress, cardiometabolic risk, and biological stress more generally, among African American women in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is also Co-Principal Investigator of the Bay Area Heart Health Study which examines similar associations among African American men with an emphasis on coping and internalized racism. Her research has included work on doctor-patient race-concordance; the intersection of race, socioeconomic status, and gender on risk for psychological distress, disability, adult mortality, and child health and development; racial segregation; income inequality; and racism stress and a range of mental and physical health outcomes. Dr. Allen has published numerous academic articles in top scientific journals including the American Journal of Public Health, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Annals of Epidemiology, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences and Psychoneuroendocrinology, where her recent paper examining racial discrimination, educational attainment and biological dysregulation among African American women was recently named ‘Editor’s Choice’. Dr. Allen’s work has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, NPR, CBS, The Guardian, and the SF Chronicle, among others. She has received numerous awards for teaching excellence and as a junior faculty member was honored with the singular award for Distinguished Graduate Student Mentoring at the University of California Berkeley.
Allen received her Bachelor of Science (BS) in Biology and Neurophysiology from the University of Maryland, College Park, her Master of Public Health (MPH) from the George Washington University; her Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) from the Johns Hopkins University; and a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholars Program at UC San Francisco and UC Berkeley, before joining the faculty at UC Berkeley in 2005.
Dr. Chandra Ford is Associate Professor of Community Health Sciences and Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Racism, Social Justice and Health at the Fielding School of Public Health at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). She is lead editor (with Derek Griffith, Marino Bruce and Keon Gilbert) of Racism: Science & Tools for the Public Health Professional (APHA Press, 2019). After earning a doctorate in Health Behavior from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina, she completed postdoctoral training in Social Medicine at the University of North Carolina and in Epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, where she was a W. K. Kellogg Foundation Kellogg Health Scholar.
Most of her research falls into two broad areas: (1) empirical research examining the relationship between specific forms of racism and disparities in HIV testing and care; and, (2) conceptual and methodological work to improve the tools available for studying racism as a public health issue. She also examines health disparities and intimate partner violence among LGBT populations. Her work has been published in the American Journal of Public Health, the Annals of Epidemiology, Social Science & Medicine, the Boston University Law Review, and other peer-reviewed journals.
Dr. Ford is privileged to have received several teaching awards and notable honors, and she serves the profession extensively. In 2016, she served on a National Academy of Medicine Committee on Community-based Solutions to Promote Health Equity in the United States of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine and named co-chair of the Committee on Science of the American Public Health Association’s newly formed Anti-Racism Collaborative. She previously served as president of the Society for the Analysis of African American Public Health Issues. In addition to her academic roles, she has been involved with the Black Radical Congress and has partnered with the Black Coalition Fighting Back Serial Murders.
Whitney N. Laster Pirtle is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Merced. She is also the faculty lead for the Sociology Health and Equity (SHE) Lab. Her published work explores issues relating to race, identity, inequality, and health. She is currently completing a book manuscript that explores the formation and transformation of the “coloured” racial group in post-apartheid South Africa and an edited volume on black feminist sociology.
Her research interests include race and racism, identity, health equity, Black feminist sociology, and mixed methods. Her research is primarily informed by social psychological framework, and explores how social structures, like racial hierarchies, impact individuals lived experiences, well-being, and identities.
Ndidiamaka N. Amutah-Onukagha received her PhD in Public Health with a focus on Maternal and Child Health at the University of Maryland, College Park School of Public Health in 2010. She received her Master’s in Public Health from The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services in Maternal and Child Health in 2005. Dr. Amutah-Onukagha also received a BS in Public Health and BA in Africana Studies from Rutgers, The State University of NJ. Ndidiamaka has a longstanding commitment to public health that spans over 15 years of experience. Her current research interests include maternal mortality and morbidity, health disparities, reproductive health, infant mortality and HIV/AIDS in women of color. Ndidiamaka is a member of the American Public Health Association and is currently the co-chair of the Perinatal and Women’s Health committee in the Maternal and Child Health section. Additionally, Dr. Amutah-Onukagha completed the Kellogg Health Scholars Program (KHSP) Postdoctoral fellowship in Baltimore, MD. During her time postdoctoral fellowship her research focused on family planning and reproductive health in women receiving home visitation services.
Dr. Amutah-Onukagha is a former President of The Society of African American Public Health Issues (SAAPHI) and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the National Women’s Health Network. Additionally, she is an Associate Professor in the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine.
Since 2018, Dr. Amutah-Onukagha has planned and led a national conference on Black Maternal Health Inequities. The audience of almost 700 attendees has spanned healthcare professionals, community health workers, doulas, students, and community activists. Now in its third year, the 2020 conference has grown from a ½ day symposium to a full day conference with speakers coming to the Boston area from across the country. In addition to her co-chairs and illustrious team of volunteers and advisory board members, Ndidiamaka provides strategic vision and leadership for the conference and related community focused activities to ensure that voices of women of color are centered and amplified to address the urgent crisis of maternal mortality and morbidity in the Boston area and around the country.
Paige Fernandez is the Policing Policy Advisor in the ACLU’s National Political Advocacy Department. Fernandez develops and implements comprehensive strategies that achieve a clear vision of effective, democratic, and constitutional policing to establish and reinforce community trust in its peacekeepers. She also develops and leads nationwide advocacy around police practices.
Fernandez’s approach to police accountability and reform places communities at the forefront of the work, a practice rooted in her grassroots experience. Prior to joining the ACLU, she co-founded and directed multiple chapters of Together We Stand, a nonprofit aimed at dismantling racism, discrimination, and police brutality. She also has a Masters degree in Public Policy from Oxford and a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College.