Vertex Symposium

Ibram Kendi, founding director of BU’s Center for Antiracist Research, welcomed attendees at the center’s symposium, What the Science Tells Us: Racial Health and Economic Inequities During the Pandemic. Photo by Cydney Scott


Thank you to all who joined us virtually and in person on Friday, October 1, 2021 for “What the Science Tells Us: Racial Health and Economic Inequities During the Pandemic,” a symposium presented by the 
Center for Antiracist Research and proudly supported by the Vertex Foundation.

Rochelle Walensky is director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a scholar whose pioneering research has helped advance the national and global response to HIV/AIDS. Photo by Cydney Scott


This symposium explored the intersection of racial health and economic inequities exposed and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Keynotes by interdisciplinary panels of scientists, policymakers, health care experts, and community leaders including the Director of the CDC, Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, Senior Advisor to the White House COVID-19 Response Team, Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, and acting Mayor of Boston, Kim Janey, presented historic and contemporary underpinnings of racial inequities and engage the audience in conversation on research-driven solutions and innovative approaches to promote health and economic equity.

Fireside Panels:

Fireside #1: Racial Health Equity and Economic Equity During and Beyond COVID
Speakers: Drs. Thea James, Marcella Nunez-Smith and Peter Slavin, moderated by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi

Monica Wang, an SPH associate professor of community health sciences and Center for Antiracist Research associate director of narrative, was the symposium chair. Photo by Cydney Scott

Fireside #2: The Impact of Redlining: Past, Present, and Future of Racial Health Inequities
Speakers: Drs. James Feigenbaum, Lance Laird and Jayakanth Srinivasan, moderated by Dr. Monica L. Wang

Deborah Douglas (left), co–editor-in-chief of The Emancipator, the online platform of opinion and ideas the Center for Antiracist Research is launching with the Boston Globe opinion team, moderated a panel on COVID policy and economic equity, with Kim Janey, Boston mayor (right), and Lee Pelton, CEO and president of the Boston Foundation. Photo by Cydney Scott

Fireside #3: COVID Policy and Economic Equity
Speakers: Acting Mayor of Boston Kim Janey and Dr. M. Lee Pelton, moderated by Deborah Douglas

Fireside #4: Climate Change, Child Health, and COVID
Speakers: Drs. Cutler J. Cleveland, Julia Raifman and Megan Sandel, moderated by Dr. Joe Betancourt

Fireside #5: Racism as a Public Health Emergency: The Call for Urgent Action
Speakers: Drs. Rochelle P. Walensky and Ibram X. Kendi, moderated by Dr. Reshma Kewalramani

Featured Speakers and Moderators: