WINTER 2022 NEWSLETTER
Dear Colleagues,

Tomorrow, December 10, marks Human Rights Day. Commemorated annually by the United Nations, this day offers an opportunity to reaffirm the importance of human rights in building a better world. The theme for this year is “Dignity, Freedom, and Justice for All,” and I am proud to share this winter newsletter highlighting the important work of FXB Center scholars to advance this vision.

I am also delighted to welcome Dr. Mary T. Bassett back to FXB! As many of you know, Dr. Bassett has been serving as NY State Health Commissioner, and will be returning to lead the FXB Center in January 2023.

Wishing everyone a healthy holiday season,
 
Dr. Natalia Linos 
 
Acting Director of the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights 
Upcoming Events and Health & Human Rights Journal
The latest issue of the FXB Center’s flagship publication, Health and Human Rights, includes two special sections. One, in collaboration with the Institute of Community and Public Health at Birzeit University, Palestine, and the FXB Center, is Settler Colonialism, Structural Racism, and the Palestinian Right to Health; the other, in collaboration with the University of Toronto Connaught Global Challenges Research Program focuses on COVID-19 Vaccine Equity and Human Rights.
Please join us on Dec. 14 at 12:00pm ET for "Settler Colonialism, Structural Racism, and The Palestinian Right to Health Special Edition: A conversation with the Authors," a virtual webinar presented by the FXB Center's Palestine Program for Health and Human Rights. The editors and authors of the HHR special issue will engage in discussion on the conceptual and material connections between settler colonialism, structural racism, and human rights approaches to Palestinian health.
Welcome New Faces at FXB
Jake Ryann C. Sumibcay, DrPH, MPH
Health & Human Rights Fellow.

Dr. Jake Ryann Sumibcay (he/him/his) is a public health scholar whose research focuses on driving effective health engagement through ethnographic strategies in communities of color, primarily among the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) populations.
Launch of Weatherhead Research Cluster on Migration
The Harvard Weatherhead Center for International Affairs awarded a $200,000 "research cluster" award to FXB Center Director of Research Jacqueline Bhabha and Harvard Graduate School of Education Associate Professor Sarah Dryden Peterson for a 3-year seminar series on migration. FXB Health and Human Rights Fellow and Instructor Dr. Vasileia Digidiki is also a core member. The title of the research cluster is "Building Inclusion, Sustaining Solidarity: Frontline Host Communities, Distress Migrants and the Role of the State." It aims to understand both the processes and mechanisms by which empathic solidarity toward distress migrants is built and sustained, as well as the triggers of attitudinal change among frontline hosts. The funding will be used to support a group of Harvard doctoral students working on topics related to the cluster's focus, and a regular seminar series open to all members of the Harvard community. The seminar series launched this fall and will resume in the new year.
The O’Neill-Lancet Commission on Racism, Structural Discrimination and Global Health
FXB Roma Program Director and Lecturer on Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Dr. Margareta (Magda) Matache, PhD, has been appointed a commissioner on the newly-launched O’Neill-Lancet Commission on Racism, Structural Discrimination and Global Health. Through leveraging partnerships, engaging communities, and conducting empirical research to understand racism and structural discrimination in global health, the Commission seeks to advance equity and improve health outcomes around the world.

Within its three-year lifespan, the Commission has set out four charges: (i) diagnose the problem of racism in health; (ii) identify best practices and actionable anti-racist strategies; (iii) compile a report of its findings; and (iv) disseminate its findings to the public. The Commission was announced during an event on advancing health equity in October 2022:

Advancing Health Equity: Time To Address Racism And Structural Discrimination in Global Health
S-124 A Resolution Celebrating the Heritage of Romani Americans
On Dec. 8, American lawmakers made history in adopting S. Res 124: a first-ever U.S. Senate resolution celebrating the heritage of Romani Americans. This a critical milestone in recognizing and honoring the historical symbols, contributions, and experiences of the Romani people in the United States and beyond. The FXB Center's Roma Program joins Romani Americans and many others in welcoming this resolution.
Educational Programs
Intensive Summer Course on Migration & Refugee Studies in Greece
Applications are open until February 15, 2023 for our three-week intensive summer course on migration and refugee studies in Greece. It will take place from July 7, 2023 to July 30, 2023 and it is open to 30 participants from universities across the world.

This interdisciplinary program is being offered in collaboration with the Refugee and Migration Studies Hub at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA), Greece, and with the support of the Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies in Greece and the U.S. It is designed to offer participants both conceptual and practical engagement with key issues related to contemporary forced migration.

The course will include lectures, seminars, interactive class sessions and fieldwork. It will be held in four sites – Athens, Ancient Olympia, Nafplio and Lesvos. The course will be taught in English and organized around a multidisciplinary, rights-based curriculum that draws on legal, medical, environmental and broader social science approaches to migration policy and practice.
Palestine Social Medicine Summer Course
The Palestine Program for Health and Human Rights—a partnership between the François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center for Health and Human Rights and the Institute of Community and Public Health at Birzeit University—will be hosting its first annual Palestine Social Medicine Course. This three-week intensive summer course is designed to introduce students to the social, structural, political, and historical aspects that determine Palestinian health ‘beyond the biological basis of disease.’ It will take place from July 9, 2023 until July 30, 2023 at the Institute of Community and Public Health at Birzeit University, West Bank, occupied Palestinian territory, and Israel.

Applications will be opening on January 5, 2023. The program will be open to 20 participants of which 10 will be Harvard-based students and 10 will be Palestinian students from the Gaza Strip, West Bank, and Israel.
Youth as Climate and Health Advocates

FXB International's Climate Advocates program, born out of a commitment to combat the existential threat posed by climate change- including on marginalized children- informs, empowers, and mobilizes youth to implement climate solutions in their communities and globally. In 2022, the FXB Climate Advocates empowered over 250 youth from 45 countries - through the Fall, Spring and Summer cohorts - to take climate action. FXB expects to have 200 youth from across the globe participate in the Spring 2023 program. The FXB Climate Advocates program is addressing a critical need for climate education and resources to address the climate crisis. 

FXB Climate & Human Health Fellows Dr. Tess Wiskel, MD, and Dr. Kimberly Humphrey, MBBS, MPH recently had the opportunity to address the Fall 2022 cohort of the FXB Climate Advocates program about the nexus between climate and health.
Applications for the Spring 2023 Climate Advocates cohort are open until January 13, 2023: https://bit.ly/3tKL1yl

You can support the FXB Climate Advocates program to facilitate seed grants for climate action projects here: https://secure.givelively.org/donate/fxb-usa-inc/youth-led-climate-solutions.
Publications
Lifting Universal Masking in Schools Covid-19 Incidence among Students and Staff

New England Journal of Medicine, Nov. 24, 2022
A new study led by the FXB Center, the Boston Public Health Commission, and Boston University School of Public Health documented the impact of masking requirements in schools.

Our study shows that universal masking is an important strategy to reduce transmission in schools and one that should be considered in mitigation planning to keep students and staff healthier and minimize loss of in-person school days,” said Tori Cowger, PhD, MPH, corresponding author and Health and Human Rights fellow in the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard Chan School. “Our results also suggest that universal masking may be an important tool for mitigating structural inequities that have led to unequal conditions in schools and differential risk of severe COVID-19, educational disruptions, and health and economic effects of secondary transmission to household members.Read the study here.

“Lifting Universal Masking in Schools—Covid-19 Incidence among Students and Staff,” NEJM, Nov. 24, 2022.

Study Contributors: Tori J. Cowger, Eleanor J. Murray, Jaylen Clarke, Mary T. Bassett, Bisola O. Ojikutu, Sarimer M. Sánchez, Natalia Linos, Kathryn T. Hall
Other Recent FXB Center Publications

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In The News
Reparations Symposium highlighted in The Boston Globe

“The symposium tackled nuanced topics including “health justice scholarship,” with Brittney Butler, a social epidemiologist, and Marie Plaisime, an FXB Health and Human Rights Fellow; a talk on health’s role in “municipal, state and federal reparations programs” with Yvette Modestin, a prominent leader and activist at the nexus between African American and Latin American communities, and Boston City Councilor Julia Mejia, among others; and a conversation focused on the primary question of the symposium, “Can reparations close the racial wealth gap?” with moderator Madina Agénor, an assistant professor in the department of behavioral and social sciences and the center for health promotion and health equity at Brown University, and Rachel Hardeman, a reproductive health equity researcher at the University of Minnesota, among others." Read the full article here.
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Future Humans Anthology Features Poem by FXB's Dennis Kunichoff: "Something Deep Down Speaks Up"

Future Humans is an anthology of multi-media speculative fiction curated for the 20th Anniversary of the Program on Science, Technology and Society at the Harvard Kennedy School in November 2022. The twenty original works of fiction, poetry, and art responded to a prompt to imagine a future where something fundamental about the world is altered and explore the ways in which that may change how we think about ourselves, each other, and what we value. In centering questions of who is affected by these changes, what it even means to be human, and what is at stake in these shifting meanings, this anthology offers a resonant understanding of how human futures are made and what might be in store for future humans — reflecting just as much on the present as it does on the future. The poem Dennis wrote opens the volume on page 5. Read the Anthology here.
In Case You Missed It
Takeaways from COP27: The Physician Perspective

On Tuesday, November 22 the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights and the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Harvard Chan C-CHANGE) co-hosted a virtual panel discussion on the key takeaways for climate and health from COP27, the annual UN Climate Conference, with our Climate Change and Human Health Fellows who were on the ground in Sharm El Sheikh. In their capacity as emergency medicine doctors, Dr. Caleb Dresser, MD, MPH, Dr. Kimberly Humphrey, MBBS, MPH, and Dr. Tess Wiskel, MD offered the physician perspective on the conference's proceedings as well as a glimpse behind the scenes. The discussion was moderated by Dr. Aaron Benstein, MD, MPH, the Harvard Chan C-CHANGE Interim Director. Catch up on the conversation in its entirety below:

In partnership with Harvard Public Health magazine, the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights hosted a full-day, in-person symposium on anti-Black racism and health, asking the question: Can Reparations Close the Racial Health Gap? This symposium examined how structural racism shapes health and whether reparations can be a potential solution or significant step towards closing the Black-white health gap. The focus was on the role that the public health community can play in the ongoing conversation on reparations at local and national levels, as well as contributions that can be made through scholarly research and policy translation. Panelists brought a wide range of expertise with backgrounds in law, history, policy, media, and community organizing.
Laura Chow Reeve, a writer and illustrator based in Richmond, VA, created a graphic recording of the Symposium capturing both audience impressions and responses to the topic at hand and ideas discussed by our panelists. Find out more about Laura's work with Radical Roadmaps here.
Watch our new animation created by Taryn Johnson on reparations and health below:
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