Income Inequality and Health in America: A Lancet Special Issue

Monday, April 10
4:30–6 p.m.
Instructional Building
72 East Concord Street
Hiebert Lounge

Income inequality in the United States has steadily increased over the last four decades. Although this inequality has been a part of the recent national public conversation, including during this last federal election cycle, the science regarding the relationship between income inequality and population health remains unresolved. This spring, The Lancet will publish a special issue featuring five papers that advance our understanding of this issue. Boston University School of Public Health welcomes several of the issue’s authors for a discussion.


Zinzi Bailey

Director of Research and Evaluation, Center for Health Equity, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Zinzi Bailey is a social epidemiologist focused on the health impacts of and policy solutions for structural and institutional discrimination, especially at the intersection of public health and criminal justice. She is also interested in the use of data and indicators in policy and management. She is the Director of Research and Evaluation at the Center for Health Equity in the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Prior to going to the New York City Department of Health, she was a Montreal Health Equity Research Consortium postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Health and Social Policy at McGill University.

She received her Doctor of Science degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences from Harvard School of Public Health in May 2014 and served as a Research Fellow with the Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management (PCJ) at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) 2011-2014. Zinzi received her Master of Science in Public Health with a concentration in Global Epidemiology from Emory University, conducting research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the (then potential) implementation of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV/AIDS prevention, especially as it related to social network theory, health equity measures, and ethics. Zinzi’s previous research, while completing her A.B. in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, focused on Afro-Brazilian political mobilization.

Jacob Bor

Assistant Professor, Global Health, Boston University School of Public Health 

Jacob Bor is Assistant Professor and Peter T. Paul Career Development Professor in the Department of Global Health. His research applies the analytical tools of economics to the study of population health, with a focus on HIV treatment and prevention in southern Africa. Current research interests include economic spillover effects of HIV treatment on patients, households, and communities; decision-making in HIV-endemic risk environments; population health impacts of social policy; and causal inference in public health research. His work has been published in Science, Lancet Global Health, Epidemiology, and Health Affairs. Prior to his graduate training at Harvard School of Public Health, Bor worked with an HIV-prevention NGO in Botswana, Lesotho, and South Africa. He is an affiliate of the Africa Centre for Population Health and Health Economics and Epidemiology Research Office, both in South Africa, and BUSPH’s Center for Global Health and Development.

Samuel Dickman

Resident in Internal Medicine, University of California, San Francisco 

Samuel Dickman is a resident in primary care internal medicine at UCSF. His research interests include incarceration, health policy, and inequality. He has written on addiction treatment in prisons, the impact of incarceration on HIV transmission and community health, and the health effects of states not expanding Medicaid. Recently, he has published on regressive economic trends in the US health care system. Dickman received his undergraduate degree in mathematics from Brown University and his medical degree from Harvard.

Adam Gaffney

Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Attending Physician, Pulmonary and Critical Care, Cambridge Health Alliance

Adam Gaffney is an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School and an attending pulmonary and critical care physician at the Cambridge Health Alliance. A graduate of New York University Medical School, he was a resident and chief resident in internal medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, and completed his fellowship in pulmonary and critical care medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Beth Isreael-Deaconness. He is a public health researcher, a frequent writer on healthcare policy and politics, and he serves as an officer and on the board of directors of the organization Physicians for a National Health Program. He is the author of a forthcoming book on the history of the idea of the right to healthcare.

Steffie Woolhandler

Distinguished Professor of Public Health, City University of New York at Hunter College 

Steffie Woolhandler is a primary care doctor, a Professor at The City University of New York School of Public Health and a Lecturer in Medicine at Harvard Medical School, where she was formerly Professor of Medicine. A native of Louisiana, she graduated from LSU Medical School in New Orleans, received an MPH from University of California at Berkeley, and completed an internal medicine residency at Cambridge Hospital. She completed a research fellowship in General Internal Medicine at Harvard, and a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellowship at the Institute of Medicine in Washington, DC. he has published more than 150 journal articles, reviews, chapters and books on health policy and is a leading advocate of non-profit national health insurance for the United States She has served as an (unpaid) advisor to several political leaders, most recently to Sen. Bernie Sanders. In 1986, she co-founded Physicians for a National Health Program.