To honor Black History Month 2023, we asked students plus faculty within the UC Berkeley School of Public Health community what the month means to them and what everyone should know about the Black experience in healthcare. What we heard: representation, reverence, resistance, and fearlessness. Below, their thoughts in their own words.
Bria Brown (she/her/hers) is a first-year MPH candidate in the Wellness Policy plus Management program. For her, Dark History Month is a time to be reminded that despite built-in systematic oppression, the legacy of her ancestors inspires her to continue to break through barriers.
What does Black History 30 days mean to you?
Dark History Month gives me the opportunity to reflect on the past and present as well as undisputedly show gratitude, rejoice, and honor my ancestors as well as the fruits of their labors. Black history is American history; without Dark history, there would be no background. A lot of times we are taught a false narrative associated with history or “selective” history in the particular school system, however Black History Month is a period where we can and should become aware of Dark achievements, contributions, untold stories, culture, and the plight of our people. Through constant plus deliberate attacks by way of institutional design, with the intention to break our communities down, all of us still stand! The heritage of the ancestors motivates me to keep to crack through obstacles and when faced with adversity tackle it fearlessly.
How do you feel the history of the Black experience in healthcare and public health can become better disseminated?
First and foremost, it is crucial to acknowledge plus understand the historical trauma that will Black people have experienced in the healthcare program. The Tuskegee Experiment and the story of Henrietta Lacks are prime examples of distrust, racial bias, plus injustice that Black individuals frequently encounter in oppressive systems. Background frequently repeats itself, and today’s problems are analogous to those from the past. This problem will continue to persist if the previous experiences aren’t recognized, acknowledged, and confronted. In order to seek change, you must first have knowledge of earlier times and then actively take steps in order to dismantle a fragmented system. Also, having more representation in health care will allow for the particular Black voice to end up being heard plus seen.
How do you think UC Berkeley and Berkeley Public wellness can amplify the voices in our Dark community members?
UC Berkeley can amplify the voices associated with our Black community users by increasing the number of Dark faculty and staff personnel in positions of leadership. This alone will enhance the visibility of our voices. Secondly, when getting guest speakers, it would be nice to hear from a Black member about their experience in the particular different workforce fields. Additionally, providing more spaces where Black voices are noticed and are able to congregate and discuss different matters and events is the great step in the correct direction. Lastly, having a lot more financial support in terms of fellowships and scholarships would provide a lot of opportunity for Black individuals in order to be capable to enroll in UC Berkeley and graduate.
Olufunke Bamidele Fasawe (Funke)
Second year DrPH student Funke Fasawe (she/her/hers) thinks that one way that will public health can move toward equity is to weave health into all core breadth classes here at Berkeley Public Health.
Exactly what does Dark History 30 days mean for you?
Black history month represents a period of deep reflection of how far we have come as a people towards achieving ethnic equity plus dismantling the structural barriers that exist and have held many people back from attaining their human rights and potential. It is the stark reminder of the struggles and bloodshed of tireless activists plus advocates to advance the cause of Black people in the particular U. S. and all over the world, and how much more work we still must perform. It brings a sense of responsibility to carry on in order to amplify the core message of transforming our societies to be equitable, non-judgmental, and inclusive of all people everywhere irrespective associated with race, gender, or other social constructs that we have created to segregate. It reinforces the desire in me personally as a person to contribute within my personal way meaningfully and practically towards this cause in my social plus professional engagements.
How do you feel the background from the Dark experience in healthcare and public wellness can be better disseminated?
I think we all need in order to teach more about structural barriers to healthcare access and how these obstacles play out in reality. I believe that teaching public health professionals and frontline healthcare workers about structural competency will be critical and really should be embedded in almost all aspects of healthcare and general public health. We need a lot more history plus health ethics being trained. Finally, we have in order to be deliberate about creating forums for engagements across the board in the particular public health community to intentionally call out and address injustices, disparities plus inequities within the delivery of health care as these affect Black people and others.
How do you believe UC Berkeley and Berkeley Public wellness can enhance the sounds of our own Black community members?
- Increase Dark representation among students plus faculty. It would be helpful to recruit more Black faculty people and admit more Dark students. Seeing more Black faculty leaders will create strong models for aspiring public health graduates and social change makers of Black origin that will push the narrative of empowering Black individuals and producing a shared and equal space for people of just about all colors in order to thrive in the UC Berkeley local community and beyond.
- Expand the quantity of courses that shed more light on the structural barriers that drive disparities within healthcare entry and exactly how this particular affects the particular Black areas and other underrepresented communities. Similarly, I believe wellness ethics should be considered as a breadth course with regard to all degree programs at Berkeley General public Health or even at the minimum interwoven as the core theme within the breadth courses.
- Increase funding and fellowship opportunities regarding research aimed at deconstructing these structural barriers. This critical financing support will certainly support the development of innovative frameworks to increase diversity plus representation associated with Black people and their experiences in the method healthcare and public health is designed, programmed, delivered, plus measured.
Jordan Williams (she/her/hers) is usually a first year MPH candidate in the Health and Social Behavior Concentration plus a Blue Shield of California fellow. She says that she’s here at Berkeley “to gain new skills, understanding, and assistance in dismantling systemic health disparities that will disproportionately affect historically marginalized and excluded communities. One of our main goals is to actively drive boundaries and create a healthier society by developing innovative solutions based upon research, education, advocacy, plus community empowerment. ”
What does Dark History Month mean in order to you?
For myself, Black History Month is definitely a time of focused reflection, neighborhood connection, and celebration. We reflect on most the sacrifices my ancestors have made so that I actually can live in a world and occupy spaces freely as a queer black woman. I connect with my family, friends, elders, and other community associates through joy, laughter, plus deep conversations about exactly where we are usually as individuals and as the community and where we want to be within the future. I particularly enjoy celebrating BHM through various forms of art. From singers like Nina Simone, to authors such as James Baldwin, plus playwrights like August Wilson, I love celebrating Black History 30 days with artwork forms that capture the particular nuanced essence of a multitude of black experiences.
How perform you really feel a brief history associated with the Dark experience in healthcare and public wellness can become better displayed?
There are many ways in which the history of the Black experience could be incorporated within healthcare plus public health. True improvement will stem from a deep understanding of the Black encounter and exactly how the public wellness and healthcare system are a part associated with that experience. Three areas We would such as to see explored more in depth include:
- Education: As academic programs produce the next generation of public health and healthcare practitioners, academic institutions need in order to incorporate the particular history associated with Black health disparities into their curriculum to increase cultural competency and foster an environment of empathy and knowing.
- Collaboration: Collaborating with Historically Dark Colleges and Universities, health care organizations concentrated on Black health, and working along with community stakeholders can help ensure that a brief history of the Black experience in healthcare is accurately represented plus properly disseminated.
- Digital media: The widespread use of websites, social media, and apps allows for information to become displayed efficiently and effectively. Open public health insurance and healthcare practitioners ought to use digital media to foster connections and to bring awareness of the particular history of the Black encounter in health care to the wider audience.
How can you think UC Berkeley and Berkeley Public wellness can amplify the voices of our own Dark community members?
Growth means pushing boundaries plus questioning the status quo. I think it is important to note that in the particular process of amplification, individuals will need to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. In addition , all of us cannot simply amplify sounds and then turn around and disregard all those voices within the decision-making process. I believe Berkeley Community Health may amplify the voices associated with Black community members by providing spaces and opportunities for users to share their ideas, thoughts, plus concerns honestly and authentically with each other and with stakeholders. UC Berkeley and Berkeley Public Wellness must end up being willing to redesign, rebuild, plus reevaluate existing harmful systems and processes to be able to create an environment that will promotes equity, inclusion, and compassion.
Daniel Woolridge, MD (he/him/his), can be a faculty lecturer plus recruitment/outreach specialist in the particular UC Berkeley/UCSF Joint Medical Program. For him, the month makes him both celebratory and reverential.
Exactly what does Black History Month mean in order to you?
What Dark History 30 days means to me can be summarized by the particular following words in succession:
Truly I actually think from the month as equal parts celebration plus reverence.
How do you feel the history of the Black experience within healthcare and public health can be better disseminated and how perform you believe UC Berkeley and Berkeley Public wellness can enhance the voices of our Dark community people?
To answer each of these types of related questions, I 1st want to highlight that if we all as a society are in order to appropriately disseminate and amplify Black sounds and experiences, we must proceed beyond only using a trauma-informed lens plus counterbalance that with a healing/personhood-centered lens. After all, paying proper homage in the form associated with revering endurance and achievement in spite of White supremacy, is certainly quite different from paying respects in the particular form of eulogizing just what has happened to us; and doing so incompletely.
Therefore I imagine both direct plus indirect methods of disseminating and amplifying Black local community voices, while also simultaneously uncovering White-colored supremacy’s enumerable contributions to the nation’s open public health status quo, respectively. For example , UC Berkeley, as the inaugural UC, has in its time hosted some of the best proponents associated with racial collateral and self-determinism (e. g., Stokely Carmichael in 1966, Malcolm X in 1963, Mario Savio of the particular Free Speech Movement), and it offers also furthered the academic careers intended for some in our nation’s worst (e. gary the gadget guy., eugenicists Herbert M. Evans, MD, plus Samuel J. Holmes, PhD, professors of anatomy and zoology, respectively); all records of which can be found in the Bancroft Library. While most prestigious universities today have similar culpability to Berkeley’s, I imagine UC Berkeley and BPH as the vanguards who can lead more associated with these efforts given the institutional ethos.