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 Study on Romani American Experience Shines Light on Persistent Inequities and Discrimination

Report infographic

The François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University today released a new study that draws attention to the inequities the Roma diaspora faces in the United States. Published in collaboration with the advocacy nonprofit Voice of Roma, the study, titled Romani Realities in the United States: Breaking the Silence, Challenging the Stereotypes, includes insight from 363 questionnaires with Romani Americans, touching on socioeconomic conditions, stigma, discrimination,…

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.…

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…

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…

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…

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

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…

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.

Climate Week 2019: Addressing an Urgent Threat to Health

2019-21 Climate and Human Health Fellow Dr. Caleb Dresser at the Climate Strike in Boston on September 20, 2019. Climate change poses an urgent threat to our fundamental human rights, including the right to health. An irrefutable body of scientific evidence demonstrates the various mechanisms through which climate change directly and indirectly threatens human health and well-being. Agricultural resources and land use have already been affected by climate change; water…

The Migrant Diaries: Vathy, Samos, Greece 2019

Wednesday 12th June It’s unbearable. I walk down a steep winding earth path between small tents and hovels made of plastic, scrap wood and blankets, clustered around smoking fires. There is rubbish everywhere, and the smell of human faeces. At one point the path runs beside a high mesh fence, topped with razor wire and cameras. Inside are the familiar white containers and yet more filthy tents crammed in between…

Trauma as a Border Control Strategy

By Jacqueline Bhabha and Mary T. Bassett The United States continues to pull ahead in a xenophobic race to the bottom, making fear and trauma central to its border control toolkit. The list is long: Executive orders purporting to ban Muslims, slashing refugee admission quotas, reversing well-established legal precedent protecting the right to asylum of rape and domestic violence survivors, the willful fueling of deportation fear among law-abiding residents, and…

Professor Bhabha: States Have an Obligation to Protect Migrant Children

A new International Organization for Migration (IOM) report released today takes a closer look at the deaths and disappearances of migrants around the world. “Fatal Journeys: Volume 4” focuses on missing migrant children. According to IOM data, nearly 1,600 children have been reported dead or missing since 2014 – a likely undercount. Although it is well known that children are one of the most vulnerable groups of migrants, data on…

Engaging with Health Rights in the Field and Closer to Home

Photo courtesy of the David J. Sencer CDC Museum By Carmel Williams, PhD Now in its 25th year of publication, the Harvard FXB journal, Health and Human Rights, has just published its June issue. It is a feat for a journal to not just survive the economic and academic climates of 25 years, but to hold a position of leadership in the field. Because that is what our journal does.…

Harvard Chan: This Week in Health Podcast Featuring Dr. Mary T. Bassett & Cecile Richards

Cecile Richards

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/632666883″ params=”color=#ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”300″ iframe=”true” /] The June 6th episode of Harvard Chan: This Week in Health features a special conversation between Cecile Richards, former president of Planned Parenthood and one of the co-founders of Supermajority, and Mary T. Bassett, director of the Harvard FXB Center for Health and Human Rights. Richards spoke about how Supermajority is working to empower women and organize them around key issues related to gender equity, including…

We Know How to End Maternal Deaths

Harvard FXB Director Dr. Mary T. Bassett

By Dr. Mary T. Bassett A woman arrives at Harlem Hospital in labor having received no prenatal care. The doctors delivering her baby didn’t realize she had heart disease until she went into cardiac arrest in the labor room. The baby survived. The mother, who was Black, did not. Her death was the first that I witnessed while I was completing my medical training. Unfortunately, the number of women dying…

London, 1971: The First World Roma Congress

For the past seven years, the Harvard FXB Center for Health & Human Rights has marked International Roma Day. In a guest blog, writer and activist Grattan Puxon (pictured above) explains the history of this important day. An excerpt of the blog is below. To read the full blog post, click here. An Account of the First World Roma Congress Held in London in 1971 By Grattan Puxon | Harvard…

Powering the Personal Health Record: Catalysts and Barriers in India

Harvard FXB's Dr. Satchit Balsari speaks at the workshop.

Harvard FXB’s Dr. Satchit Balsari speaks at the workshop. On April 3rd, the India Digital Health Net (IDHN), a multidisciplinary research and development initiative established to support an Application Programming Interface-enabled (API) federated health data architecture in India, convened a workshop in New Delhi to learn from the several initiatives across the country that are building components of what may ultimately become India’s health tech grid.  The workshop was organized with support…

International Roma Day: Lifting Neglected Voices

Note: This post has been updated to includes photos from Neglected Voices: The Global Roma Diaspora April 8th marks International Roma Day, a day we celebrate Romani people across the world. Romani people, who have origins in North India, have made distinct and important contributions to Europe and the Americas in many fields, including literature, arts, crafts, music, science, and sports. International Roma Day is also a time to increase awareness…

New Cross-Sectional Study: Primary Health Care Utilization Among Syrian Refugee and Lebanese Women

Lebanon, the country with the highest per capita ratio of refugees, is heavily burdened by the crisis in Syria. As of December 2018, an estimated 1.5 million Syrian refugees are living in Lebanon, two-thirds of whom are registered with the Lebanese government. Previous studies have found that the crisis has disproportionately affected poor and underserved areas in Lebanon, contributing to social tensions between Lebanese people and Syrian refugees and driving…

One in One Hundred: Roma Value Education But Face Racism in Access

One in One Hundred: Drivers of Success and Resilience among College-Educated Romani Adolescents in Serbia New report on factors for success among Romani college students challenges the narrative of Roma indifference to education For immediate release: December 20, 2018 One of the major factors in whether Roma adolescents continue on to university is if they have significant support from a non-Roma teacher or peer in combatting everyday racism in school,…

Roma Resistance: Reclaiming Our Story

Berlin Memorial to the Roma and Sinti Murdered by Nazism /Photo by Dietmar Rabich, CC BY-SA 4.0 By Marian Mandache August 2 marks the Day of Remembrance for Victims of the Roma Holocaust. Between 500,000 and 1.5 million Roma were exterminated during the Holocaust  by the Nazi regimes and their allies. The memory of the Romani victims and survivors is yet to be fully recognize and preserved in history books,…

Protecting Health Care in Armed Conflict: Harvard FXB at UNGA 72

On Friday, September 22, 2017, members of Harvard FXB’s Burden of War Project team, including FXB director and co-chair of the Lancet-American University of Beirut Commission on Syria, Dr. Jennifer Leaning, participated in the high-level side event, Protecting Health Care in Armed Conflict at the 72nd United Nations General Assembly. The Permanent Missions of Canada, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom, in collaboration with the Lancet-AUB Commission on Syria…