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David R. Williams Featured Professor of Public Health and Professor of African American Studies and Sociology at Harvard University

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  • How racism makes us sick

    Why does race matter so profoundly for health? David R. Williams developed a scale to measure the impact of discrimination on well-being, going beyond traditional measures like income and education to reveal how factors like implicit bias, residential segregation and negative stereotypes create and sustain inequality. In this eye-opening talk, Williams presents evidence for how racism is producing a rigged system -- and offers hopeful examples of programs across the US that are working to dismantle discrimination.

  • Improving America's health and reducing disparities: Insights from the social and behavioral sciences

    Compared to other Western nations, the U.S. fares poorly in terms of health, and there are large and persistent variations in health by socioeconomic status and race/ethnicity. Research has documented that the opportunities to be healthy in the places where individuals and groups live, learn, work, play, and worship are central determinants of health. These conditions and their health consequences accumulate over the life course. An emerging body of scientific evidence also suggests that policies and interventions that seek to enhance access to economic resources and improve neighborhood and housing conditions can enhance health, including the health of disadvantaged populations.