FXB Center Health and Human Rights Fellow Submits Testimony to Boston City Council

Today, FXB Health and Human Rights Fellow Dr. Jourdyn Lawrence submitted written testimony to the Boston City Council Committee on Civil Rights in support of Docket #0734: Order for a Hearing Regarding Reparations and Their Impact on the Civil Rights of Black Bostonians. In her testimony, Dr. Lawrence shared her expertise and research on reparations and racial inequities. Read her submitted testimony: Dear Members of the Boston City Council Committee…

FXB Center Health and Human Rights Fellow Testifies Before Massachusetts Racial Inequities in Maternal Health Commission

Today, FXB Health and Human Rights Fellow Dr. Brittney Butler testified before the Massachusetts Legislature’s Racial Inequities in Maternal Health Commission. The hearing was a listening session on maternal health efforts and experiences in the Metro West and Central Massachusetts regions. In her testimony, Dr. Butler shared her expertise and research on maternal mortality and morbidity. Read her remarks as prepared for delivery: Dear Members of the Racial Inequities in Maternal…

FXB Center Director to Serve As New York State Health Commissioner; Dr. Natalia Linos Named Acting Director

Headshots of Dr. Mary T. Bassett and Dr. Natalia Linos

Today, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul appointed FXB Center for Health and Human Rights Director Dr. Mary T. Bassett as Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health. Dr. Bassett joined the FXB Center in 2018, following four years of service as New York City’s health commissioner. During her time at the FXB Center, Dr. Bassett strengthened the Center’s focus on structural racism both domestically and abroad, including…

FXB Center Welcomes New Fellows and Staff, Announces Promotions

Coffee mug and employee ID card on desk. Employee ID card reads "welcome aboard:

The FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard is pleased to announce several new hires and promotions. Learn more about our new fellows and staff members: Dr. Brittney N. Butler (she/her) is a social epidemiologist whose primary research seeks document and combat anti-Black racism as a fundamental cause of racial disparities in maternal morbidity and mortality for Black women. Dr. Butler holds a dual academic appointment as an…

Commentary: It’s Time For Boston To Pay Reparations

In recognition of Juneteenth, FXB Center Research Associate Matlin Gilman and FXB Center Director Dr. Mary T. Bassett co-authored an opinion piece highlighting the need for the City of Boston to provide reparations to Black Boston residents. In a commentary published today in Cognoscenti, the authors write: “As we celebrate, we also commit ourselves to an ongoing racial reckoning, a reckoning that must include reparations for nearly 250 years of…

Harvard Chan Perspectives: Why a national ban on menthol cigarettes is the right choice

Photo of cigarette butts in ashtray

Following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recent announcement that it will take steps to ban menthol cigarettes, FXB Center Director Dr. Mary T. Bassett was interviewed for a Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health article. In the article, Bassett — a former smoker herself — describes how the tobacco industry intentionally marketed menthol cigarettes to the Black community, resulting in 45,000 deaths a year. Bassett shared her…

Statement from FXB Center Director Dr. Mary T. Bassett About Derek Chauvin Verdict

BOSTON, MA – In response to former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin being found guilty of murdering George Floyd, FXB Center Director Dr. Mary T. Bassett issued the following statement: “Today’s verdict is an important step for individual accountability and justice. But we are not going to end police violence in court rooms, case by case. The problem of police violence is systemic and radical change to our policies and…

Press Release: New Report Examines Challenges of Migrants In West And Central Africa; Identifies Solutions To Protect Migrants

Screenshot of report cover image

BOSTON, MA – The François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University (FXB Center) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) today released “See Migration Like Water: An Analysis of IOM Flow Monitoring Survey Data on Migration Flows in West and Central Africa,” a detailed analysis of migration flows and migrant vulnerability on routes within and from West and Central Africa. The West and Central Africa region…

FXB Center Statement on International Roma Day U.S. House and Senate Resolutions

Graphic recognizing the 50th anniversary for the World Roma Congress

BOSTON, MA – On March 18, 2021, resolutions to celebrate the heritage of Romani Americans were introduced in the House and Senate. The Roma Program at the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights welcomes this initiative, which represents a symbol of hope in the recognition of the history, realities, and rights of often marginalized Romani Americans and other Roma people across the world. We are grateful for the tremendous efforts of…

ACLU: 50 Years Into the War on Drugs, Biden-Harris Can Fix the Harm It Created

Image with following text "The need for an equitable and structural response to the overdose crisis is more urgent and critical than ever"

Note: This blog first appeared on the ACLU website on January 6, 2021. The blog mentions From the War on Drugs to Harm Reduction: Imagining A Just Overdose Crisis Response, a new report from the FXB Center, Open Society Foundations and Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. By Udi Ofer, Director, Justice Division, ACLU An earlier version of this blog appeared in The Hill. This year marks 50 years since President Richard…

Press Release: National Public Health Experts Urge Biden-Harris Transition Team to End War on Drugs and Lead Coordinated Public Health Response to the Opioid Overdose Crisis

The François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University today urged the Biden-Harris transition team to implement drug policy reforms to curb overdose deaths and address long-standing harms stemming from the multigenerational “War on Drugs” campaign. In collaboration with the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and Open Society Foundations, the FXB Center sent the Biden-Harris transition team a new report, titled From the War on Drugs to…

Let’s Recover Better By Standing for Human Rights

Human Rights Day is an opportunity to reaffirm the importance of human rights in re-building the world we want, the need for global solidarity as well as our interconnectedness and shared humanity. Commemorated annually by the United Nations, this year’s Human Rights Day theme relates to the COVID-19 pandemic and focuses on the need to build back better by ensuring human rights are central to recovery efforts, tackling entrenched, systematic…

New Essay Draws Important Parallels Between Public Health and Atrocity Prevention, Systems Designed to Protect From Harm

Cover of Politorbis magazine, #68, issue on Preventing Atrocities

FXB Center for Health and Human Rights Senior Fellow and Harvard T.H. Chan Professor Jennifer Leaning recently compared approaches to prevention and early warning in public health to those for mass atrocity.  Her essay, “Prevention in Public Health and Atrocity:  A Comparative Approach to Early Warning for Early Action,” appears in the latest issue of Politorbis, an official publication of the Swiss Foreign Ministry. As Leaning posits, “An understanding of…

At the Intersection of Human Migration and Climate Change: New Article Puts Out Call to Action

Image of person holding sign that reads, "There is no Planet B"

In a new article published in Current Environmental Health Reports this week, faculty and fellows from the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University examine the complexities at the intersection of human migration and climate change.  As powerfully argued by Drs. Satchit Balsari, Caleb Dresser and Jennifer Leaning in “Climate Change, Migration and Civil Strife,” migration must be anticipated as a certainty, and thereby planned for and supported.…

New Article – Every Body Counts: Measuring Mortality From the COVID-19 Pandemic

A new article, published today in the Annals of Internal Medicine, examines how relying solely on death certificate data can result in an underestimate of COVID-19 mortality rates, making it difficult to assess the true toll of the pandemic. The article’s authors, FXB Center Fellow Mathew Kiang, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Professors Rafael Irizarry and Caroline Buckee, and FXB Center Fellow Dr. Satchit Balsari, propose ways to…

Study Finds Rate of COVID-19 in Massachusetts Jails and Prisons Is Three Times the General Rate in the State

Info about the figure is in the caption

A recent epidemiological study finds that the rate of COVID-19 for incarcerated individuals in Massachusetts is almost three times that of the state’s general population and five times that of the U.S. general population. As shown in Figure B (caption below), the study also finds that higher rates of decarceration are linked to lower rates of COVID-19. Dr. Monik C. Jiménez, Tori L. Cowger, Dr. Lisa E. Simon, Maya Behn,…

Study Finds CDC Population Weighting Distorts Racial/Ethnic Inequities in U.S. COVID-19 Deaths

Table. Percentage Distribution by Race/Ethnicity for COVID-19 Deaths, CDC-NCHS–Weighted Population, and US Census Population and Absolute and Relative Differences Using Data as of May 13, 2020 more detail on content in text

A new research letter in JAMA Network Open argues that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) underestimates the excess burden of COVID-19 deaths among Black, Latinx, and Asian communities by comparing the percentage of U.S. COVID-19 deaths by race/ethnicity with a weighted distribution of U.S. racial/ethnic populations rather than with corresponding U.S. Census data—a distortion that has the potential to affect resource allocation. FXB Center for Health…

Mental Health and COVID-19 Focus of Health and Human Rights Journal’s Largest Issue

The June issue of the Health and Human Rights Journal (HHRJ) is especially timely with a special section on mental health and human rights. It was published shortly after the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres urged the international community to do much more to protect all those facing mounting mental health pressures as a result of COVID-19, and the World Health Organization published guidelines for communities to support people experiencing mental distress.…

New Study Calls Attention to Inequities in Police Violence in U.S. Metropolitan Areas

An article, authored by FXB Center Doctoral Student Cohort Members Gabriel L. Schwartz and Jaquelyn L. Jahn, reveals the stark inequities in fatal police violence between Black and White populations in U.S. metropolitan areas. The article, published in PLOS ONE, estimates rates of fatal police violence for every metropolitan area in the country, as well as racial inequities in those rates. The authors analyzed the most recent, complete data—from 2013…

COVID-19 Health Justice Advisory Committee Joint Statement Issues Juneteenth Statement

The following statement was issued by the Poor People’s Campaign COVID-19 Health Justice Advisory Committee on June 19, 2020. FXB Center Director Dr. Mary T. Bassett, Executive Director Natalia Linos and Director of Communications Veronica Lewin serve on the committee. Learn more about the committee here. Watch committee members read the statement here. “The United States is facing an important moment in its history. We have entered the sixth month…

Working Paper, The Unequal Toll of Covid-19 Mortality by Age in the United States: Quantifying Racial/Ethnic Disparities

FXB Center for Health and Human Rights Director Dr. Mary T. Bassett is the lead author of a new working paper exploring racial/ethnic differences in age-specific Covid-19 mortality rates in the U.S. The Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies Working Paper Series published the paper this week. Dr. Bassett collaborated with Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Professor Nancy Krieger and Research Scientist Dr. Jarvis Chen in this…

Harvard University Centers Condemn Recent Police Violence in the United States

The following is a joint statement from the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University,  Hutchins Center for African & African American Research, the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School, the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice at Harvard Law School, and the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics. Note: please see below for a list of additional co-signers. “We…

Study: Structural Racism, Historical Redlining, and Preterm Birth in New York City

A new study published this week in the American Journal of Public Health explores the long-term impact of historical redlining on preterm births in New York City. The study, conducted by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Professor Nancy Krieger, Pamela D. Waterman and FXB Center for Health and Human Rights Director Mary T. Bassett, and NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene epidemiologists, found a higher proportion…

FXB Center Leadership Calls for Protections for McDonald’s Employees

In solidarity with workers, FXB Center for Health and Human Rights Director Dr. Mary T. Bassett and Executive Director Natalia Linos co-signed an open letter urging McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski to adequately protect the safety of employees and consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the letter, the experts point to “a pattern of severe shortcomings by McDonald’s,” including failure to provide adequate PPE and to inform workers when they are…

Coordinated and Evidence-Based Easing of Social Distancing Restrictions That Centers Equity and Justice is the Only Way to Save Lives and Protect the Poor During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The following statement was issued by the Poor People’s Campaign Health Justice Advisory Committee on May 3, 2020. FXB Center Director Dr. Mary T. Bassett, Executive Director Natalia Linos and Director of Communications Veronica Lewin serve on the committee. Learn more about the committee here. Point 1: Social distancing measures are working to mitigate the spread of the virus despite the uncoordinated federal response that has led to the current…

Standing Up Against Anti-Romani Racism During A Pandemic

Photo of a Roma camp in Brazil.

By Drs. Aluízio de Azevedo Silva Júnior and Margareta (Magda) Matache Across the world, a violent and disturbing trend of anti-Romani racist acts by the police, policy makers, media, and others is putting Romani families and communities at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are also attacked when we speak out against this injustice. For example, an op-ed addressing anti-Romani racism published by Libertatea, a well-known Romanian newspaper, was swiftly…

Opinion: The Urgent Need to Transfer Vulnerable Migrants from Europe’s Largest Migrant Hotspot

In a recent opinion piece, François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights’ Director of Research Professor Jacqueline Bhabha and Instructor Vasileia Digidiki discuss the current COVID-19 situation in Greece, the migrant hotspot Greek islands, and what the European Union should be doing to address the crisis. In it, the authors write: “Without effective and coordinated action, the pandemic will immobilize the Union’s most precarious and embattled member. This would…

Responding to the Domestic Violence Crisis of COVID-19

Photo of outstretched hands, one with a red dot

By Roshni Chakraborty Worldwide, countries have imposed lockdowns and issued stay-at-home orders to mitigate the community transmission of COVID-19. For many, however, staying at home poses a greater threat to their health than leaving. Activists and governments around the world have reported an alarming spike in domestic violence since social distancing measures were adopted. The United Nations has called for a domestic violence “ceasefire,” raising its concerns about a “horrifying…

New Data Visualization Tool Can Help Officials Assess COVID-19 Vulnerability in Their Communities

The COVID-19 epidemic in the United States is already exposing a disastrous convergence of demographic and socioeconomic inequities that make some communities more vulnerable than others. Hotspots of COVID-19 are emerging in urban cities, from New York City, to Detroit, Milwaukee to New Orleans, and Chicago, with the greatest harm concentrated in neighborhoods that are home to Black and Hispanic populations. While social determinants influencing the impact of COVID-19 on…

FXB Center Leadership Joins Poor People’s Campaign COVID-19 Health Justice Advisory Committee; Calls for Equitable U.S. Response

The following is an April 8, 2020 press release issued by the Poor People’s Campaign. Learn more about the Campaign here. Poor People’s Campaign new advisory committee says prevention efforts, treatment must be equitable The Poor People’s Campaign’s new COVID-19 advisory committee is demanding that hospitals and health departments begin reporting coronavirus cases by poverty and income; race and ethnicity and other relevant demographics including geography to ensure that prevention…

International Roma Day: The History of the FXB Center’s Roma Program

This year marks the eighth anniversary of the Roma Program at Harvard University. Conceived and built by the François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard, the Program has become a leading focal point for Roma scholarship, convening and advocacy in North America and beyond. A key aspect of this, by tradition, is the Roma Program’s annual international conference to mark April 8, International Roma Day. This…

Dr. Mary T. Bassett’s Statement on COVID-19 for the Poor People’s Campaign

At the request of the Poor People’s Campaign, Dr. Mary T. Bassett, Director of the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University, released the following statement on the health equity impact of COVID-19: The United States was woefully unprepared for the COVID-19 pandemic, and now has the worst COVID-19 outbreak in the world. This was preventable. Knowing the inadequacies of our country’s health care and social…

FXB Center Director, More than 80 Public Health and Medicine Experts Call on Governor Baker to Stem the Spread of COVID-19 in Prisons, Jails, and Juvenile Detention Centers

Today, leading public health and medicine experts called on Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker to take immediate action to protect the health of those who live and work in detention facilities. The letter, signed by Dr. Mary T. Bassett, Director of François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University, and more than 80 faculty members from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School,…

Op-Ed: Andrew Cuomo, Stop a Coronavirus Disaster: Release People From Prison

Harvard FXB Director Dr. Mary T. Bassett

In a New York Times op-ed published today, François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights Director Dr. Mary T. Bassett, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and Ford Foundation President Darren Walker call on New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo to release people from prison to protect both people currently incarcerated and the staff who work in these facilities. In it, the authors write, “Given the conditions in which incarcerated…

COVID-19: Finding Comfort in Respecting Rights and Protecting the Most Vulnerable

Natalia Linos, executive director of the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights, penned an op-ed that was recently published on the Health and Human Rights Journal’s blog. In it, Linos writes, “poverty, homelessness, human rights abuses, racism, and violence are not inevitable consequences of COVID-19. If they occur, it is because they reflect a moral failure in the way we have organized our societies.” Later in the piece,…

Letter: Aggregated mobility data could help fight COVID-19

Dr. Satchit Balsari, fellow at the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights, recently co-authored a letter in Science magazine advocating for the use of aggregated mobility data to measure the effectiveness of COVID-19 response efforts such as social distancing. In the letter, the authors write: “The research and public health response communities can and should use population mobility data collected by private companies, with appropriate legal, organizational, and computational safeguards…

COVID-19: Observations from Spain

Dr. Sergio Aguayo, journalist and fellow at the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights, recently penned a column about how countries should respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the column, Dr. Aguayo writes about his experience in Spain during the beginning of the country’s response, and calls on the Mexican government to implement appropriate measures to curb the spread of the virus. Read the Viviendo España column here…

New Research on Socially Assigned Race and Health Inequity, and on Mass Incarceration and Preterm Birth

The 2019-20 Doctoral Student Cohort of the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University continues to produce research on important social issues. Is Socially Assigned Race a Useful Category for Monitoring Racial Inequity in Health? A new International Journal for Equity in Health review examines the usefulness of socially assigned race, or the perception of one’s race by others, in monitoring and evaluating racial/ethnic inequities. Authored by…

Op-Ed: The coronavirus could hit the U.S. harder than other wealthy countries

Headshots of Dr. Mary T. Bassett and Dr. Natalia Linos

In an Washington Post op-ed published today, François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights Director Dr. Mary T. Bassett and Executive Director Natalia Linos write about how the United States’ response to the coronavirus is likely to reveal deep failures and reinforce existing health inequities. In it, they write: “The polarized political climate makes the threat posed by those long-standing inequities far more dangerous. At least three social phenomena…

Op-Ed: Greece’s proposed ‘floating wall’ shows the failure of EU migration policies

In a recent op-ed, François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights Instructor Vasileia Digidiki and Professor Jacqueline Bhabha, Director of Research, write about the flaws of Greece’s “floating wall” proposal to deter migrants. In it, they write, “Like Trump’s wall, it will signal the intent to keep out migrants; and like Trump’s wall it will fail to do so.” The op-ed continues to highlight the harms of Europe’s migration policies and…

FXB Center Stands in Solidarity With Sergio Aguayo

François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights Director Dr. Mary T. Bassett and Director of Research Professor Jacqueline Bhabha recently penned a letter to the Supreme Court of Mexico in support of Dr. Sergio Aguayo, journalist and FXB fellow. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Dr. Aguayo was ordered by a Mexico City court to pay a fine of 10 million pesos to former Coahuila state governor Humberto…

Press Release: New Report Evaluates Innovative Approach to Child Protection in India

January 13, 2020 For Immediate Release A new FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University report underscores the need for innovative community strategies to prevent serious violations of children’s rights. The report, “Before, Not After: An Evaluation of CINI’s Preventative Approach to Child Protection in India,” authored by Elizabeth Donger and Jacqueline Bhabha, documents and evaluates the harm prevention work carried out by the children’s rights nonprofit…

New Study Highlights Critical Gaps in the United States’ Special Education System

A new Harvard Educational Review article, “Racial Differences in Special Education Identification and Placement,” examines how the United States’ special education system is failing to serve communities of color equitably from start to finish, from identification to classroom placement. The article, authored by Todd Grindal, Laura Schifter, Gabriel Schwartz, and Thomas Hehir, analyzes the anonymous data of approximately 4.5 million public school students living in three states around the country.…

Celebrating 25 Years in Latest HHRJ Issue

The December 2019 issue of Health and Human Rights marks its 25th year of publication. Celebrating the occasion, the editors dedicate the issue to founding editor Jonathan Mann and to Albina du Boisrouvray, who, as Mann wrote in his first editorial, “immediately understood, provided the means, and continues to share ideas and inspiration with us.” Published by the FXB Center since that first issue in 1994, the journal is now welcoming…

Press Release: New Harvard FXB/IOM Report Highlights Need for Better Support for Young Migrants Who Returned Home

New Harvard FXB/IOM Report Highlights Need for Better Support for Young Migrants Who Returned Home For Immediate Release November 12, 2019 A new Harvard FXB Center for Health and Human Rights and International Organization for Migration (IOM) report finds that young migrants who returned home from Libya to Nigeria often face serious challenges in their efforts to reintegrate into society. The report, “Returning Home? The Reintegration Challenges Facing Children and…

Op-Ed: Treating Stigma to Prevent Opioid Overdose Deaths

In a recent op-ed, Dr. Mary T. Bassett, director of the Harvard FXB Center, and Dr. Chad Brummett of the University of Michigan explain how stigma has hindered efforts to address the opioid overdose crisis. Read the op-ed on Bridge Michigan’s website. Learn more about Stigma and Access to Treatment, the University of Michigan – Harvard University summit on the opioid crisis.

New Harvard FXB Report “Before Not After”: An Evidence-Based Assessment on Preventing Harm to Children

Most interventions designed to protect children from serious harm begin after that harm has occurred. Preventing the harm in the first place would be a far preferable strategy.  The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – the most widely ratified international human rights treaty in history – recognized this thirty years ago. It requires states to take measures to prevent violence, abuse, injury, neglect, maltreatment or exploitation to children…

New Report: Emergency Within an Emergency, Exploitation of Migrant Children in Greece

For Immediate Release Monday, April 17, 2017 Boston Emergency within an Emergency: The Growing Epidemic of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Migrant Children in Greece Much public attention and heartache have been focused on the severe impact of the refugee and migration crisis on children. Images of toddlers drowned and washed up ashore, babies rescued from terrifying journeys, teenagers camping in bitter cold have been widely disseminated. An equally grave…

Human-Centered Design, High School Kids, and Harvard Professors

By Rebecca Hope This guest post was originally published on the YLabs blog. Rebecca Hope discusses the importance of youth participatory approaches, which can place young people at the center of program design. She highlights the Harvard’s FXB Center and CIP Center’s 2012-2014 Reclaiming Adolescence project in Serbia, which aimed to address anti-Roma racism by strengthening Romani youth leadership in research and policy making. The program involved youth at every stage – from…