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Understanding the Role of Race in Health: A Moderated Discussion

September 21 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Structural racism pervades all facets of society, from education, to housing, to law enforcement. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the health disparities that result from this systemic and structural racism.

The Petrie-Flom Center has asked leading scholars in law, public health, history, sociology, and other fields to explore these issues for a digital symposium on the Bill of Health blog. The focus of the symposium is to unpack how critical race theories and other strands of racial justice scholarship can inform health care, public health, and other areas of law to improve health outcomes among minorities.

To mark the launch of the symposium and to kick off the semester, a panel of contributors will participate in a moderated discussion of some of these pressing questions, including: Which social determinants of health have the greatest effects on race hierarchies? Does the health care system itself exacerbate racial health disparities? And which legislative changes, litigation strategies, or enforcement actions by federal agencies, might work as a tool to combat health disparities?


  • Introduction & Co-Moderator: I. Glenn Cohen, James A. Attwood and Leslie Williams Professor of Law and Faculty Director of the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School
  • Co-Moderator: Craig Konnoth, Associate Professor of Law and Director, Health Law Certificate, University of Colorado Law School
  • Michele Goodwin, Chancellor’s Professor at the University of California, Irvine; Founding director of the Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy
  • Dayna Matthew, Dean and Harold H. Greene Professor of Law at George Washington University Law School
  • Kimani Paul-Emile, Professor of Law, Associate Director and Head of Domestic Programs and Initiatives at Fordham Law School’s Center on Race, Law & Justice, and Faculty Co-Director of the Fordham Law School Stein Center for Law & Ethics
  • Samuel Roberts, Associate Professor of History and of Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University


September 21
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Event Category:




The Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioetihcs at Harvard Law School