July/August 2020

New Webinar Series:
Romani People During Pandemics

Join us Wednesday, August 5 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. EDT, as we kick off this four-part international webinar series with "Resurgence of Scapegoating Romani People in Times of Pandemics." Noted public intellectual Dr. Cornel West keynotes, FXB Center director Dr. Mary T. Bassett chairs, Carr Center executive director Sushma Rahman responds. In between we will hear from scholars from Eastern Europe, New York, and of course, Boston, including FXB Center Roma Program director, Dr. Margareta
Event poster_ with speaker photos and titles 
Matache and Central European University's Dr. Angéla Kóczé.  Register or find more information here.  
To organize Romani People in Times of Pandemic, the FXB Center is collaborating with the Romani Studies Program of CEU, the Romanian Institute for Research on National Minorities (ISPMN), and Cornell University. Save the dates for the next webinars (all occur from 4 to 5:30 pm CEST / 10 to 11:30 a.m. EDT):  
  • September 2, Anti-Romani Racism During the COVID-19 Pandemic
  • September 14, Structural Inequalities as Risk Factors during the Pandemic
  • September 28, Responses to COVID-19 at Local, National, and International levels.
Advocacy and Research
Comparison of Weighted and Unweighted Population Data to Assess Inequities in Coronavirus Disease 2019, Research Letter, JAMA Network Open, July 28  
From Left:  FXB Center--Doctoral Cohort Members--Cowger, Davis, Etkins, Makofane, Lawrence, Director Dr. Mary T. Bassett; Harvard Chan Professor Nancy Krieger

By Tori L. Cowger, Brigette A. Davis, Onisha S. Etkins, Keletso Makofane, Jourdyn A. Lawrence, Mary T. Bassett, Nancy Krieger 
 "Use of the CDC's weighted population distributions to evaluate racial/ethnic inequities in COVID-19 mortality underestimates the excess burden of COVID-19 among Black and Latinx individuals compared with analyses conducted using the total population (unweighted) in the US Census data...The indirect standardization procedure implemented by the CDC is misleading and obviates a key mechanism by which structural racism operates to produce health inequities: social segregation"  Read more. 
Trump gave up on fighting the virus. Now we're paying for his laziness, Opinion, Washington Post, July 14
FXB Center Director Dr.  Bassett and Executive Director  Dr. Natalia Linos

"What remains consistent is a failure by this administration to do the hard work needed to coordinate and orchestrate a federal response, to provide clear risk communication to the public - including, for example, the importance of mask-wearing - and to use emergency powers and flexible resources to support the necessary response to surging case counts. " Read more. 
Europe shows a Janus face to migrants, OpinionFinancial Times, July 20
By Jacqueline Bhabha
Professor Jacqueline Bhabha, FXB Center director of research 
 "Less than half of the 66,400 relocations promised to Greece have since materialised. As of May, there remain 84,500 migrants living on the Greek mainland and 37,000 in unsanitary and overflowing camps on the islands. There they confront the withering consequences of Europe's diminishing sense of compassion through the evictions, destitution, despair and growing xenophobia that they must face every day."  Read more. 
Explained: What works (and does not) in Covid treatment; What to do if you are infected: demystifying Covid-19 care, Indian Express , July 15, July 5  
Dr. Satchit Balsari, assistant professor and FXB Center fellow
"Six months into the pandemic, we must therefore acknowledge:
1. There are few proven treatments for Covid-19 to date, and most will help sicker patients....
2. The majority of patients will get well on their own without any treatment." Read more from the July 15 article.

"For nearly one hundred days, confirmed cases of Covid-19 in India's cities were being admitted to hospitals, irrespective of the severity of disease. This blunder - with no clinical justification - resulted in first paralysing, then overwhelming, and finally crushing entire health systems...."  Read more from the July 5 article.
The endings of journeys: A qualitative study of how Greece's child protection system shapes unaccompanied migrant children's futures, Children and Youth Review, September 2020 (prepress July 9)
Dr. Vasileia Digidiki, FXB Center health and human rights fellow
By Divya Mishra, Vasileia Digidiki, and Peter J. Winch
"When youth arrived in Greece, they were unprepared to interpret their new institutional environments. Their understanding of their environments was shaped largely by their interactions with individual non-governmental organization (NGO) staff members. Youth who believed that NGO staff were supportive and invested in their futures typically had plans to stay Greece. Youth who perceived staff to be unsupportive typically had intentions to leave Greece." Read more.
Revisiting public health response in times of war, Editorial, Journal of Public Health, July 7
Dr. Jennifer Leaning, professor and FXB Center senior fellow

By Jawar Mohammed, Karl Blanchet, and Jennifer Leaning

"Beyond casualties and injuries, however, armed conflict can produce enduring political instability, destroy systems of public health and social cohesion and create homelessness, displacement, unemployment and poverty. It is arguably the most important determinant of population health and generates both immediate and intergenerational effects." The editorial introduces a special issue on armed conflict and health. Read more.
Europe's buried history of racism and slavery, letter to the editor, Politico , June 29
Dr. Margareta Matache, FXB Center Roma Program director
By Margareta Matache
"It is a widely shared belief among European leaders that there is no systemic racism on the Continent and that it did not engage in slavery at home.

I am a descendant of enslaved Roma people in Romania. My great-great-grandparents were slaves in the same village where I grew up." Read more.
Mapping fatal police violence across U.S. metropolitan areas: Overall rates and racial/ethnic inequities, 2013-2017, PLOS ONE, June 24
Estimated Black-White annual incidence rate ratios (IRR) f or fatal police violence by MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area)
By Gabriel L. Schwartz and 
Jaquelyn L. Jahn, FXB Doctoral Cohort  
"Overall, MSAs [Metropolitan Statistical Areas] in the western half of the country-including the Southwest, West, and Rocky Mountain states-and the South experienced much higher annual rates of fatal police violence than the northern Midwest and Northeast. But when examining Black-White inequities (with exceptions; e.g., Los Angeles, Seattle, the San Francisco Bay Area, or St. Louis), these patterns are reversed: the northern Midwest and Northeast exhibited the most extreme Black-White inequities in the nation, while in the South and Southwest these inequities were much lower."  Read the FXB Center blog with quotes from Dr. Schwartz and Dr. Jahn. Go to the PLOS ONE paper.
Selected Press:
Staggering new statistics shed light on disproportionate police violence towards Black people (Jahn and Schwartz interviewed on air, FOX32 Chicago, June 29)
(Jahn and Schwartz quoted, NBC News, June 24) 
Protecting Human Rights During and After COVID-19: A Child Rights' Perspective , FXB Center Response to Request of UN Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights, June 19
Health worker in protective gear_ Text_ Covid 19 and Special Procedures
By Jacqueline Bhabha, Roshni Chakraborty, Vasileia Digidiki, Margareta Matache, Samuel Peisch, and Ana Cristina Sedas
"An overarching consideration is the critical importance of ensuring that... "outsiders," be they children from racial or ethnic minorities, non-citizens, or other socio-economically excluded constituencies - are not identified and stigmatized as contaminators undeserving of full access to social protection." Read more.
The Unequal Toll of Covid-19 Mortality by Age in the United States: Quantifying Racial/Ethnic Disparities, Working Paper, Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, June 12 

Years of Potential Life Lost From COVID-19 Before Age 65, By Race/Ethnicity, including Rate Compared to White People
By Mary T. Bassett, Jarvis T. Chen, and Nancy Krieger
"These data demonstrate excess risk of COVID-19 death at all ages among Non-Hispanic Blacks, Hispanics, Non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaskan Natives, and Non-Hispanic Asian Pacific Islanders (NHAPI) as compared to Non-Hispanic Whites (NHW), with disparities particularly extreme at younger ages (25-54 years old). The impact of lives prematurely cut short (before attaining 65 years) can be measured in the absolute number of years of potential life lost. For both NHBs and Hispanics this loss is much larger than for NHW, despite the fact that the NHW population is respectively 4.5 and 3 -fold larger." Read the FXB Center blog about the paper. Go directly to the paper.  
Selected Press about the Paper: 
Sekected Press Related to the Topic of the Paper:
The Fullest Look Yet at the Racial Inequity of Coronavirus (Mary T. Bassett quoted, The New York Times, July 5)
Supreme Court's 'Dreamers' decision just a first step, Opinion,  Financial Times, June 22
By Jacqueline Bhabha
Photo_ Prof. Bhabha
 "Last week, the US Supreme Court surprised many analysts by rejecting Donald Trump's two-year effort to kill off the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme that protected more than 700,000 unauthorised immigrants who came to the US as children. Since September 2017, the "Dreamers" who had benefited from DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] have been living on a knife's edge."  Read more. 
Systemic Racism Is Social Dynamite, The Nation,
June 19  

Black Lives Matter protest,  New Orleans by Pambana Bassett
By Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II and Mary T. Bassett
"Long before the current recession, Covid-19, and a lynching caught on tape, black people in American had felt the pressure of economic inequality, health disparities, and a racist criminal justice system. When we heard George Floyd cry, "I can't breath," while Derek Chauvin choked the life out of him, we heard a desperation that is all too familiar.Read more.
Education through Webinars and Podcasts
Clockwise from top left: Ms Atkins, Rep. Pressley, Dr. Bassett, and Dr. Johnson
FXB Center faculty has continued to share their knowledge online. Dr. Mary T. Bassett has appeared virtually in several webinars and podcasts including:
  • WBUR Town Hall: The Racial Inequities Revealed By COVID-19. WBUR senior correspondent Kimberley Atkins moderated. With Wellesley College President Paula Johnson and U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley, Dr. Bassett discussed the disproportionate rates at which  people of color are dying of COVID-19, structural causes of  racial disparities in health outcomes, inadequate data collection during this pandemic, and the role of current protests in challenging and changing structural racism. Read Wellesley College coverage. Go to the WBUR Town Hall Recap to watch video clips or the entire video. 
  • Clockwise from top left: Dr. Bassett, Mr. Clarke, Dr. Venters, and Ms. Caruso
    Part 2 Decarceration and Community: COVID-19 and Beyond. For the Radcliffe Institute, Dr. Bassett moderated this discussion with public officials who have had responsibility for correctional facilities, including  Patricia Caruso, former director, Michigan Department of Corrections; Harold Clarke, director, Virginia Department of Corrections; Homer Venters, president, Community Oriented Correctional Health Services and former chief medical officer, NYC Health + Hospitals/Correctional Health Services. Watch the video.
  • Harnessing Police Brutality: Is This A Revolution? For the American Journal of Public Health, the journal's editor-in-chief Dr. Alfredo Morabia led a discussion about police brutality as a public health problem and the potential role for public health departments if funds are diverted from policing to community needs. Dr. Bassett spoke on the podcast, along with Dr. Sirry Alang (Lehigh University), Dr. Lisa Bowleg (George Washington University and AJPH), Dr. Leana Wen (former Baltimore Health Commissioner). Read the transcript. Listen to the podcast.
  • Dr. Bassett also presented in a
    member forum for the Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) on COVID-19 and Vulnerable Populations. She addressed the national picture, while Dr. Monica Bharel, Massachusetts' public health commissioner, offered statistics for the state. Dr. Simone Wildes moderated. Dr. Bassett has now joined an MMS anti-racism advisory group. Find transcript, video, and slides here. Watch the video for CME credit here.
Full screen: Dr. Matache. From left:  Mr. Mallow, Ms. Ghide Biide, Mr. Martín Abánades, Ms. Taylor, and Professor Marouda
Dr. Margareta Matache, director of the FXB Center's Roma Program, presented in two webinars for the Council of Europe (COE). She was one of six speakers in the COE Anti-Discrimination Department's webinar, From challenges to solutions: instruments and tools to fight systemic racism. Other speakers included Jeroen Schokkenbroek, Karen Taylor, Domenica Ghidei Biidu, David Martín Abánades, and Momodou Malcolm Jallow. Maria Daniela Marouda, Chair of the COE's European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, moderated the two-hour session. 
Read the summary or watch the video here.  

Dr. Matache also keynoted the webinar, Roma rights and equality. Targeted to government officials and NGOs in the Eastern Partnership region (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine), the webinar also highlighted presenters of  two good practice examples: Yulian Kondur of the Roma Women Fund in the Ukraine and Radu Marian, Member of Parliament, Republic of Moldova. More information here.
woman in headscarf talking to a family in the doorway of dilapidated building
Anbar, Iraq: a building housing about 430 displaced families. Photo: Ammar Alzubaidy, NRC
For World Refugee Day, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) USA and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) sponsored the webinar Armed Conflict and COVID-19. Professor Jennifer Leaning moderated. Maureen Magee, Rishana Haniffa, and Angela Cotroneo from the NRC and ICRC painted a disturbing picture of the additional stresses that COVID-19 places on people already struggling to survive. For more information and to watch the video, go here.
Professors Risse and Bhabha
In Championing human rights amid disease and discrimination, a Harvard Kennedy School Policy Podcast, Professor Jacqueline Bhabha and Harvard Carr Center for Human Rights Policy director Professor Mathias Risse  talk with Thoko Moyo about this moment for the U.S. as one in which its inequalities have become too glaring to ignore. They also discussed the importance of human rights during  the pandemic when fear can lead to dehumanization and stigmatization. Listen to the podcast or read the transcript here.
 Health and Human Rights Journal:
June Issue Focuses on Mental Health

and COVID-19
Small group of protestors wearing masks one holds sign saying When the power of the people is equal to those entrusted with it_ there is freedom
Photo by Maria Oswalt on Unsplash
The FXB Center has published the Health and Human Rights Journal (HHRJ) since the first issue in 1994; Drexel Dornsife School of Public Health joined us as co-publisher last December. The June issue, the largest yet,  focuses on mental health and human rights.
In a recent blog, Executive Editor Carmel Williams explains the special section on mental health was planned well before the epidemic, but COVID-19 has only increased the pressures in this area. As she and her guest editors (Dainius Puras, UN special rapporteur on the right to health; Audrey Chapman; Julie Hannah) write in their editorial Reimagining the Mental Health Paradigm for our Collective Well-Being: "COVID-19 has cruelly demonstrated our interconnectedness, our shared humanity, and our shared suffering. It has equally illuminated the injustice of our economic and political systems and the cruelty of the inequality and systemic discrimination they have produced. The UN and many others are also acknowledging the long-lasting impact that the pandemic will have on our mental well-being."  
Read Dr. Williams' blog, read the Table of Contents,  explore the issue online, or sample some papers
In between issues, HHRJ also publishes blogs, an online series called Viewpoints, and edited papers on a rolling basis. New content since the June issue includes:  
 Other Recent Highlights
New and Renewed Researchers
Justin Feldman has joined the FXB Center as a health and human rights fellow and Vaseila Digidiki is continuing with the Center, now as a health and human rights fellow. Dr. Feldman's area of expertise is state-sponsored violence, particularly killings by police.  Within his first week at the FXB Center on July 14, WNYC had already interviewed him on one aspect of that topic, Do We Need to Reform Death Investigation in the U.S.?
Cover of Report Emergency withn An Emergency
Digidiki will continue her research on refugee and migrant child protection, as exemplified by the Center reports, Returning Home? The Reintegration Challenges Facing Children and Youth Returnees from Libya to Nigeria and Emergency Within an Emergency: The Growing Epidemic of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Migrant Children in Greece.

We also welcome Matlin Gilman, a recent Harvard Chan MPH graduate, as a research associate working with Dr. Bassett on racism and health. The FXB Center continues to deepen its relationship with Harvard Chan's Doctor of Public Health program, which started with Dr. Maggie Sullivan last year. The Center is now a virtual home for DrPH students whose projects focus on social justice, including Cristina Alonso '21, Griffin Jones '22, Sherine Andreine Powerful '21, and Amanda Taffy '21.
 Poor People's Campaign (PPC) Health Justice Statement
FXB Center Director Dr. Mary T. Bassett, Executive Director Natalia Linos and Director of Communications Veronica Lewin continue to work with the PPC by serving on its COVID-19 Health Justice Advisory Committee. 
For Juneteenth (June 19, a day to celebrate the emancipation of enslaved African American people in the U.S.) , the committee issued a call to action for health professionals:
"As public health professionals, we all have a role in this growing movement. We can't just provide the data. We can't simply observe the world around us and the suffering of our communities. We have an ethical and moral responsibility to act when lives and the future of our democracy are at stake."
Read the full statement.  Watch committee members read the statement here.
More from the FXB Center
Selected FXB Center in the Media     
Please go to the FXB Center's Press page for more.
 Social Solidarity
FXB Fellows and Affiliates, Past and Present 
Photo of Dr. Jones
Child psychologist Dr. Lynne Jones is now back in the United Kingdom after her work with a health clinic in Belize. She sent us a link to her Ted Talk, Giving the Migrant Child A Voice, in which she vividly recounts her experience with migrant children. She starts out with stories from Calais,  featured in two of her Migrant Diaries published by the FXB Center:  Do You Know Where You Are Going? (the 2016 eviction from the Calais Jungle) and An Icy Wind Blows.
Dr. Elizabeth Newnham is a research fellow at Curtin University in Perth, Australia. She has had a prolific 2020. Her co-authored publications building on work with the FXB Center include Adolescents' perspectives on the psychological effects of natural disasters in China and Nepal,
Photo of Dr. Newnham
Transcultural Psychiatry, coauthored with Jennifer Leaning among others, February 2020; Preparing mental health systems for climate crisis, Comment, Lancet Planetary Health, March 2020; and Informal home care providers: the forgotten health-care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, Comment, The Lancet, June 1, 2020.
Fellows and affiliates, do keep us up to date with publications and professional milestones. We are thinking of you. Email us at fxbcenter_info@hsph.harvard.edu.
Stay in Touch

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, particularly because virtual events are scheduled quickly. Subscribe to this newsletter if you have not. If you are changing institutions, please update your email address by clicking "update profile" in the footer. Check out our website.

You may have noticed our new logo!

To go with that, we have changed our Twitter handle to @FXBHarvard so remember that when you tag us.
Let's Stay In Touch!