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Legacies and Manifestations of Anti-Roma Racism in Health Policies, Practice, and Research

April 6 @ 1:00 pm - 6:00 pm

11th Annual Roma Conference: Legacies and Manifestations of Anti-Roma Racism in Health Policies, Practice, and Research

In partnership with the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard Chan School of Public Health, the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard University, the Romani Studies Program at Central European University, the Center on Forced Displacement at Boston University, and the Centre for Medical Humanities at Oxford Brookes University, the Roma Program at the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights will host a free, in-person conference at Harvard University’s Martin Center. This constitutes the Roma Program’s 11th Roma conference marking the annual International Roma Day which is celebrated worldwide every April 8th. This April 8th, we mark the 52nd anniversary of the First World Roma Congress. For more information about International Roma Day, click here.

The conference will take place at the Martin Center’s third-floor rotunda located at 77 Avenue Louis Pasteur, Boston, MA, 02115. The Martin Center is accessible by public transportation and near several garages, but there is no parking on site. Information on traveling to the Center is available here. A reception will follow.

Many sociological and anthropological studies document disparities in health outcomes for Roma people and their non-Roma neighbors. Scholars often propose social and economic factors, cultural differences, behaviors, and “lifestyle” as causes of disease and inequities. But comprehensive scholarship on how structural racism has shaped Roma’s health and health inequities between Roma and non-Roma is scarce. Little has been done to understand the historical underpinnings of inequities and the legacies of slavery, G*psy hunts, forced imprisonment, genocides, or forced assimilation. For instance, a significant number of Roma families and communities across Europe live in poorly resourced and residentially segregated neighborhoods, a legacy of both past and present anti-Roma measures. Yet, only a few studies, such as the 2022 Enhojust report, have documented the nexus between residential segregation, environmental racism, and poor health outcomes.

In light of such shortcomings, the Roma Program is launching an initiative that focuses on documenting structural anti-Roma racism and its health-related impacts in Europe and other parts of the globe. The goal is to build a robust knowledge base and fill gaps in content and research methodology while ensuring that the efforts undertaken are responsive to community needs and inform policymaking. Accordingly, this annual Roma conference aims to initiate a series of conversations and research efforts on anti-Roma racism as a structural determinant of health inequalities and as a health stressor in itself in order to improve data, research methods, and practice-oriented research and inform policy design.

Questions to be addressed during the conference:

  • How do we assess and address the impact of anti-Roma racism on the health and well-being of the Roma people?
  • Can we use or adjust existing theories (e.g., the ecosocial theory of disease distribution) and measures (e.g., everyday discrimination scale ) to probe a potential causal relationship between structural anti-Roma racism and health inequities?
  • How do we catalog, measure, and quantify the acute, chronic, and traumatic dimensions of anti-Roma racism?
  • How do we prevent and combat the use of cultural determinism in justifying or explaining health inequities and negative health outcomes?
  • How do we combat the eugenic de-humanization of the Roma?
  • How do we create a shared sense of solidarity in confronting racism in health at a global level?

Agenda

12:30pm – 1:00pm: Gathering

1:00pm: Greeting from the Master of Ceremonies

Keisha Bush, MFA

Keisha Bush, MFA

Keisha Bush is the Assistant Director of Communications for the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights. She has more than twenty years of experience in communications and marketing in both the private and nonprofit sector. She is an adjunct faculty member at New Jersey City University where she teaches English and literature courses, and she teaches writing courses at The Center For Fiction.
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1:02pm – 1:10pm: Welcoming remarks by Dr. Mary T. Bassett and Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng

Mary T. Bassett

Mary T. Bassett, MD, MPH

Mary T. Bassett, MD, MPH, is director of the François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center for Health and Human Rights and FXB Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights in the department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. From December 1, 2021 to December 31, 2022 Dr. Bassett was on leave from Harvard and served as New York State’s Health Commissioner.
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Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng

Tlaleng Mofokeng, MD

Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng is the United Nations Human Rights Council appointed Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. She is an author, broadcaster and a practicing medical doctor. Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng is a Distinguished Lecturer at the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University, and Extraordinary Senior Lecturer at the Africa Center for HIV/AIDS Management at Stellenbosch University. She is also the co-Chair of the O’Neill-Lancet Commission on Racism, Structural Discrimination, and Global Health. 
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1:10pm – 1:15pm: Framing the Conference Issues

Edita Rigová

Edita Rigová, MPA

Edita Rigová is persuing her PhD studies at the Institute of Ethnology and Social Anthropology of the Slovak Academy of Sciences. In the past she participated in the Roma Access Programs at the Central European University and later successfully completed her MPA studies at the University of Lausanne’s Public Administration Program. She completed internships in the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights based in Vienna, and at the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights in Warsaw. Under the auspices of the Lantos Foundation and Humanity in Action, she served as a fellow – Policy Advisor in the United States House of Representatives, in the office of honourable congressman Alcee L. Hastings. Her research interest focuses on Romani studies and Roma marginalisation, while her dissertation project looks at the practice of establishing the remote vocational schools in areas with Roma population and examins how this kind of schools contributes to the Roma inclusion.

1:15pm – 2:15pm: Keynote Panel – Racism, A Health Emergency

Jacqueline Bhabha, JD, MSc

Jacqueline Bhabha, JD, MSc (Panel Chair)

Jacqueline Bhabha is a Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights at the Harvard T.H.Chan School of Public Health, the Jeremiah Smith Jr. Lecturer in Law at Harvard Law School, and an Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. She is also the Director of Research at the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University.
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Alexandra Oprea, Esq.

Alexandra Oprea, Esq. (Panel Discussant)

Alexandra Oprea is a Romanian Romani attorney, author, and activist. Under the tutelage of Kimberlé Crenshaw at both Columbia University and UCLA School of Law, Alexandra pioneered the application of intersectionality theory to Romani women and through a series of articles articulated the gendered dimensions of Romani civil and human rights struggles. Oprea was instrumental in creating some of the “historic firsts” for Romani women’s representation in the global arena, most notably through her written and oral advocacy at the 49th Session (2005) of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, where she called for an intersectional approach to collecting race and gender statistics in order to gain insight into the barriers facing Romani and other minority women. Her advocacy and articles are credited as helping to pave the way for the European Parliament’s historic first report on the “Situation of Roma Women in the European Union.”
Dr. David Williams

David R. Williams, PhD, MPH

Dr. Williams is the Norman Professor of Public Health and Chair, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health. He is also a Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. He is an internationally recognized authority on social influences on health. The author of more than 500 scientific papers, his research has enhanced our understanding of the ways in which race, socioeconomic status, stress, racism, health behavior and religious involvement can affect health.
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2:15pm – 3:45pm: Panel 1 – The Place of Roma in the History of Racism and Health Inequities

Mary T. Bassett

Mary T. Bassett, MD, MPH (Panel Discussant)

Mary T. Bassett, MD, MPH, is director of the François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center for Health and Human Rights and FXB Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights in the department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. From December 1, 2021 to December 31, 2022 Dr. Bassett was on leave from Harvard and served as New York State’s Health Commissioner.
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Dr. Natalia Linos

Natalia Linos, MSc, ScD (Panel Moderator)

Dr. Natalia Linos is a social epidemiologist and the Executive Director of the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard. She has over 15 years of experience working at the global and local levels on some of the most pressing public health challenges of our time: from climate change to systemic racism.
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Ioanida Costache, PhD

Ioanida Costache, PhD

Dr. Ioanida Costache is an ethnomusicologist and sound studies scholar specializing in Romani artist practices. She completed her Ph.D. in ethnomusicology at Stanford University in 2021. Currently, she is a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities at the University of Pennsylvania. Her work explores the legacies of Romani historical trauma, and the feminist and de-colonial critiques of the present, inscribed in Romani music, sound, and art. Her writing has been published inEuropeNow,RevistaARTA,Critical Romani Studies, and European History Quarterly.
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Joannna Talewicz-Kwiatkowska

Joanna Talewicz, PhD

Joanna Talewicz, PhD, is a researcher, educator, author, and activist. For twenty years she has been working for the benefit of the Roma community and minority rights. She is the co-founder and president of the Foundation Towards Dialogue [Fundacja w Stronę Dialogu] and worked as an assistant professor in Jagiellonian University and University of Warsaw. She is a member of the Polish delegation in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) and winner of the Batory Foundation Olga Kersten-Matwin Award for constant integration, educational, psychological, legal and activation assistance for refugees of Roma origin. Talewicz was an Alliance for Historical Dialogue and Accountability Program fellow at Columbia University and a Leadership Academy for Poland Fulbright scholarship grantee at Tom Lantos Institute. She has participated in several European Commission programs as well as the Central European University and International Leadership Visitor Program of the U.S. State Department Program. In her work she is focused on Romani communities in Europe. However, her main topic relates to the Roma Holocaust and Romani refugees.
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Professor Marius Turda

Marius Turda, PhD

Marius Turda is Professor of Biomedicine and Director of the Centre for Medical Humanities at Oxford Brookes University, having previously taught at UCL and the University of Oxford. He is the founding director of the Cantemir Institute at the University of Oxford (2012-13) and founder of the Working Group in the History of Race and Eugenics (2006). In 2020, he established Romania’s first Centre for the History of Eugenics and Racism at the Institute of History ‘G. Baritiu‘ in Cluj. He has authored, co-authored and edited more than 25 books on the history of eugenics, race, and racism in East-Central Europe and beyond. Between 2018 and 2022, he also curated four exhibitions on eugenics, racial anthropology and biopolitics. He was one of the main consultants for the acclaimed BBC documentary ‘Eugenics: Science’s Greatest Scandal’ (2019). His most recent public engagement project is www.confront-eugenics.org. 
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Dan Wakeley Smith

Dalen Wakeley-Smith, PhD

Dalen C.B. Wakeley-Smith is currently a Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History Postdoctoral Scholar at Harvard University. In the fall of 2023 Dalen will be joining the faculty at Washington University in Saint Louis as an assistant professor of History. Dalen earned his PhD in Anthropology and History from the University of Michigan in 2022. Dalen’s research focuses on the history of American Romani people in New York City from 1890 to 1960 and argues that the representations of Romani difference were integral to the relational racial formations of the United States being created and recreated in the first half of the 20th century.
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3:45pm – 4:00pm: Coffee Break

4:00pm – 5:30pm: Panel 2 – Anti-Roma Racism in Public Health and Medical Policies, Practice, and Research

Muhammad Hamid Zaman, PhD

Muhammad Hamid Zaman, PhD (Panel Chair)

Muhammad Hamid Zaman is an HHMI professor of Biomedical Engineering and Global Health at Boston University and the inaugural Director of the Center on Forced Displacement at Boston University. He received his master’s and Ph.D from the University of Chicago. In addition to five books and over 150 peer-reviewed research articles, Professor Zaman has written extensively on innovation, refugee and global health in newspapers around the world. His newspaper columns have appeared in over 30 countries and have been translated into eight languages. He has won numerous awards for his teaching and research, the most recent being the Guggenheim Fellowship for his work on antibiotic resistance in refugee camps.
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Nancy Krieger, PhD

Nancy Krieger, PhD (Panel Discussant)

Nancy Krieger is Professor of Social Epidemiology and American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professor, in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH) and 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 an internationally recognized social epidemiologist, with a background in biochemistry, philosophy of science, and the history of public health, combined with over 35 years of activism linking issues involving social justice, science, and health.
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Petra Gelbart

Petra Gelbart, PhD, MS

Petra Gelbart is a Czech Romani educator, clinician, and activist who spends most of her time in New York City. She received her PhD from Harvard University in 2010 with a dissertation titled “Learning Music, Race and Nation in the Czech Republic.” She went on to earn a Master’s in music psychotherapy, eventually splitting her time between teaching and clinical work. Gelbart has been active in several Romani organizations over the past twenty-five years, and was the curator-in-chief for RomArchive’s music section. She co-founded Naše romské dítě/Amaro drom, a project that has directly served Romani children in Czech foster care since 2005. 
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Carmen Gheorghe

Carmen Gheorghe, PhD

Carmen Gheorghe is a Roma feminist, activist and scholar. Since 2014 she has held a PhD in Political Science on standpoint feminism, addressing Roma women and politics of identities. She has been engaged in civil society for the last 21 years and her work has mainly focused on Roma women and girls rights through grassroots work, community development, gender issues, intersectionality, politics of identity, gender based violence and reproductive justice. She is the co-founder of E-Romnja Association, a Roma feminist NGO in Romania building a new narrative about Roma girls and women in Romanian. Since 2018 she teaches an academic course on Roma feminism and politics of identity at National School for Political and Administrative Studies and Bucharest University. She is an Ashoka Fellow.
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Veronika Lipphardt

Veronika Lipphardt, PhD

Veronika Lipphardt has worked on the history of the life sciences in the 20th century, parti­cu­larly history of physical anthropology and human population genetics, in their political, social and cultural contexts. In the past years, her research focuses on forensic DNA analysis and po­pu­lation genetic studies of vulnerable populations. She is writing a book on human population genetics in the second half of the 20th century (Working Title: Narratives of Isolation, Patterns of Diversity. Human Population Genetics, 1950s-2000s). She has gained experiences in several academic institutions such as the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science where she was director of the Independent Research Group ‘Histories of knowledge about human variation in the 20th century’ from 2009-2015. From 2011-2015, she held a professorship for the history of the life sciences at Free University, Berlin.
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Lois Orton

Lois Orton, PhD, MSc, BSc, Hons ARCS

Lois Orton is a White British academic with almost 20 years of experience working across the health and social sciences. Dr. Orton’s focus has been on developing innovative research methodologies that allow communities characterised as ‘marginalised’ to challenge privileged understandings of their health and wellbeing. Dr. Orton often uses creative (arts-based) and participatory approaches and frequently works in partnership with community organisations, activists and with (non-academic) community researchers.
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Marton Rovid

Márton Rövid, PhD

Márton Rövid is visiting professor at the Romani Studies Program at Central European University. His research interests include racialization in post-communist contexts, theories of cosmopolitan democracy, global civil society, transnational social movements, and the Romani movement. He published several peer reviewed articles, book chapters, and policy papers such as “From tackling antigypsyism to remedying racial injustice, Ethnic and Racial Studies (2021)He has been teaching in various programs targeting students with less opportunities for participating in higher education, such as the Roma Graduate Preparatory Program and the Socrates Project, and has also been involved in policy research. As a research and advocacy officer of the Decade of Roma Inclusion Secretariat Foundation, he coordinated the monitoring of Roma policies in 16 countries. Currently he is project officer at the European Union’s Agency for Fundamental Rights. In addition, he is the managing editor of the journal Critical Romani Studies. 
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5:30pm – 5:45pm: Concluding Remarks

Headshot of Margareta Matache

Margareta Matache, PhD

Dr. Margareta (Magda) Matache is a Lecturer on Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and the co-founder and Director of the Roma Program at the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, Harvard University. She is also a member of the Lancet Commission on Reparations and Redistribute Justice and the O’Neill-Lancet Commission on Racism, Structural Discrimination and Global Health.
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5:45pm – 6:00pm: Presentation of the exhibition “We are not alone”: Legacies of Eugenics

Professor Marius Turda

Marius Turda, PhD

Marius Turda is Professor of Biomedicine and Director of the Centre for Medical Humanities at Oxford Brookes University, having previously taught at UCL and the University of Oxford. He is the founding director of the Cantemir Institute at the University of Oxford (2012-13) and founder of the Working Group in the History of Race and Eugenics (2006). In 2020, he established Romania’s first Centre for the History of Eugenics and Racism at the Institute of History ‘G. Baritiu‘ in Cluj. He has authored, co-authored and edited more than 25 books on the history of eugenics, race, and racism in East-Central Europe and beyond. Between 2018 and 2022, he also curated four exhibitions on eugenics, racial anthropology and biopolitics. He was one of the main consultants for the acclaimed BBC documentary ‘Eugenics: Science’s Greatest Scandal’ (2019). His most recent public engagement project is www.confront-eugenics.org.
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6:00pm: Reception

Confront Eugenics logo

April 7, 2023: On Eugenics and Dehumanisation - An Exhibition and Talk by Dr. Marius Turda

On April 7th, 2023, after the 11th Roma Conference at Harvard University, the Center on Forced Displacement at Boston University will host the exhibition “We are not alone”: Legacies of Eugenics as well as a talk by Professor Marius Turda which will be followed by a reception.
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Book featured during the 11th Roma Conference:

Rowena Marin

Rowena Marin, author of Who Am I in This World? - A Story of Becoming

Rowena Marin is a Romani woman, author, and Global Agency Lead at Google, in New York. She is the co-founder of The School of Reinvention – a company meant to help people align with their passions and purpose. Rowena comes from a closed community of Silversmith Roma from Romania and managed to succeed in her career through education based in Romania, Spain, France, India, and China. She writes about her story in order to encourage other young women from closed communities to pursue education, grow and define themselves beyond any labels.
More about the book

Support for this conference is provided by funding from the Ford Foundation. The views expressed during the program are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the funders or organizers.

Please direct any questions about this event to Claire Street at cstreet@hsph.harvard.edu.

Details

Date:
April 6
Time:
1:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Venue

Joseph B. Martin Conference Center Rotunda
77 Avenue Louis Pasteur
Boston, MA 02115 United States
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