NC Institute for Public Health, UNC School of Public Health

29th Annual Minority Health Conference

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10th Annual William T. Small, Jr. Keynote Lecture

The Science and Epidemiology of Racism and Health in the United States: an Ecosocial Perspective

by Nancy Krieger, M.S., Ph.D.   Home page
Professor of Society, Human Development, and Health
Harvard School of Public Health

Nancy Krieger is Professor of Society, Human Development, and Health at the Harvard School of Public Health, Associate Director of the Harvard Center for Society and Health, and Co-Director of the HSPH Interdisciplinary Concentration on Women, Gender, and Health. She received her PhD in Epidemiology from the University of California at Berkeley in 1989. Dr. Krieger is a social epidemiologist, with a background in biochemistry, philosophy of science, and the history of public health, combined with 25 years of experience as an activist in issues involving social justice, science, and health. In 2004, she became one of the ISI highly cited scientists, a group comprising “less than one-half of one percent of all publishing researchers.”

Dr. Krieger’s work focuses on three aspects of social inequalities in health: (a) etiologic studies on the determinants of health inequities, (b)  methods for improving monitoring of social inequalities in health, and (c)  development of theoretical frameworks, including ecosocial theory, to guide work on understanding and addressing health disparities. Examples of her empirical work include: research on racism, discrimination and health, including blood pressure and birth outcomes; socioeconomic and racial/ethnic disparities in breast cancer; and research on appropriate measures of social class (individual, household, and neighborhood), especially for population-based monitoring of social inequalities in health and also for studying women, gender, class, and health. Other work concerns history and politics of epidemiology and public health, including study and critique of theories that epidemiologists and others use to explain population patterns of health, disease, and well-being.

She is editor of Embodying Inequality: Epidemiologic Perspectives (Baywood Press, 2004) and co-editor, with Glen Margo, of AIDS: The Politics of Survival (Baywood Publishers, 1994), and, with Elizabeth Fee, of Women's Health, Politics, and Power: Essays on Sex/Gender, Medicine, and Public Health (Baywood Publishers, 1994). In 1994 she co-founded, and still chairs, the Spirit of 1848 Caucus of the American Public Health Association, which is concerned with the links between social justice and public health.

More about Dr. Krieger and her work



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Annual Minority Health Conference
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Minority Student Caucus
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About Dean William T. Small, Jr.
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Minority health-related links at UNC and elsewhere
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Minority Health Project

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