Embodied Racism. Embodied Resistance: Advancing Antiracism Scholarship and Solutions Beyond the Pandemic

Monday, April 24, 2023 16:00to17:00

Sharrelle Barber, ScD, MPH

Assistant Professor | Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health

WHERE: Hybrid | 2001 McGill College, Rm 1140 | Zoom

NOTE: Social gathering (Open area outside Rm 1140) 3:30 to 4 pm


Residential segregation— and the interrelated processes of disinvestment and dispossession in Black communities— are among the most visible manifestations of structural racism in the United States and other racialized societies. It is one way that racism becomes both embedded in the brick and mortar and the social fabric of cities, large and small, and “embodied,” ultimately leading to striking health inequities between communities separated by relatively short distances. At the same time, Black communities that have endured the intergenerational embodiment of structural racism, have also persisted, and in some instances resisted, strategically leveraging collective, grassroots power for transformative change. Using empirical evidence and case studies from the United States and Brazil, this talk will examine embodied racism and embodied resistance and discuss insights for advancing antiracism scholarship and solutions beyond the pandemic.

Learning Objectives

  • Define structural racism and its salience to racial health inequities in the United States and globally
  • Examine empirical evidence linking racial residential segregation to racial health inequities in the U.S. and Brazil
  • Provide insights on advancing antiracism scholarship and solutions beyond the pandemic with an emphasis on the role of organizers, activists, and movements

Speaker Bio

Dr. Sharrelle Barber is a social epidemiologist and scholar-activist whose research focuses on the intersection of “place, race, and health” and examines the role of structural racism in shaping health and racial/ethnic health inequities among Black communities in the United States and Brazil. Through her empirical work, she seeks to document how racism becomes "embodied" through the neighborhood context and how this fundamental structural determinant of racial health inequities can be leveraged for transformative change to advance anti-racism solutions.

Dr. Barber is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health. She also currently serves as the Director of the Ubuntu Center on Racism, Global Movements, and Population Health Equity which launched November 11, 2021. The Ubuntu Center’s mission is to unite diverse partners to generate and translate evidence, accelerate antiracism solutions, and transform the health of communities locally, nationally, and globally.

Dr. Barber’s empirical work and academic commentary has been published in leading academic journals including the Lancet, the American Journal of Public Health, and Social Science and Medicine. Over the past 5 years, she has served as Principal Investigator on several externally funded research projects and has secured over $3 million dollars in funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the American Heart Association. She also serves as a co-investigator on several collaborative research projects including the Pan-American Data Initiative for the Analysis of Population Racial/Ethnic Health Inequities— PAN-DIASPORA—designed to examine the availability, quality and scope of data collected and used on racial/ethnic inequities in urban areas in the Pan-American region. Dr. Barber has lectured and taught nationally and internationally about the impact of racism on health inequities and serves on the Racial Equity Advisory Board for the Lancet.

During the COVD-19 pandemic, Dr. Barber provided expert commentary on the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 in Black communities for local, national, and international media outlets including the NY Times, Smithsonian Magazine, the Philadelphia Inquirer, NPR and Al Jazeera. In March 2020, she convened a group of public health experts from Harvard (FXB Center for Health and Human Rights), UCLA (Center for the Study of Racism, Social Justice, and Health), and other academic institutions across the country to serve as an advisory committee to the Poor People’s Campaign, providing justice-centered public health expertise for the movement as it engaged in collective action and advocacy.

Dr. Barber received a Doctor of Science (ScD) degree in Social Epidemiology from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a Master of Public Health (MPH) in Health Behavior and Health Education from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Bennett College.



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