University of Michigan: U-M virtual series to explore racialized health, economic disparities stemming from COVID-19

The University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy is kicking off a virtual event series with a discussion about the local impact of safety nets on communities of color during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Panelists at Friday’s event, part of a series organized by the Center for Racial Justice, include William Lopez, a clinical assistant professor at U-M’s School of Public Health as well as a faculty associate at both the Latina/o Studies Program and Poverty Solutions.

Other panelists are Kat Stafford, a national investigative writer with The Associated Press, where she examines how structural racism has fueled inequity in the United States; and Charles E. Williams II, pastor of the Historic King Solomon Baptist Church in Detroit and the Michigan Chair of the National Action Network. Williams also is engaged in research at U-M’s Center on Assets, Education and Inclusion and Poverty Solutions.

The panel will be moderated by Mara Ostfeld, associate faculty director of Poverty Solutions and an assistant research scientist at the Ford School. Ostfeld is a faculty lead at the Detroit Metro Area Communities Study.

The series aims to explore the local- and state-level policies responding to the racialized health and economic disparities stemming from the pandemic. The series brings together policymakers, journalists, researchers and community leaders.

The Center for Racial Justice, led by Celeste Watkins-Hayes, is dedicated to education, research and action in pursuit of racial justice. One of its goals is to harness public policy as a tool of racial equity.

Co-sponsors of this event are Poverty Solutions and the National Center for Institutional Diversity. Future events have been scheduled for May 6 and June 10.

Scheduled to participate on May 6 is Cameron Webb, assistant professor of medicine and public health science at University of Virginia and senior policy adviser for COVID-19 equity on the White House COVID-19 Response Team. He will be in conversation with Luke Shaefer, Poverty Solutions’ faculty director.

For June 10, Joneigh Khaldun, former chief medical executive for the state of Michigan and current vice president and chief equity officer for CVS Health, will be in conversation with Watkins-Hayes.

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