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Conference Program


Racism, Power, and Justice: Achieving Population Health Equity

October 18-21, 2021

For the 2021 Annual Meeting, we take on the seemingly intractable challenge of racial and ethnic health inequities and focus on structural racism as their fundamental source. Structural racism is a self-sustaining system of inequity fortified by an interconnected network of formal and informal institutions, ranging, for example, from our educational and criminal justice systems to the media to the entities that oversee our environment and even family formation. This network sustains structural racism as movement toward equity in one institution may be countered with changes in another institution to preserve overall inequity across time and place. Structural racism has been designed to favor those with social, economic, and political power, meaning that racism not only harms non-White populations but other socially or economically marginalized populations such as poor or less-educated White Americans.

The profound health consequences of structural racism underscore the critical importance of interdisciplinary population health research to inform effective and just policies and interventions. When we work across our disciplinary boundaries, we can clarify the ways in which institutions operate together to preserve power inequities. This, in turn, allows us to build the evidence base necessary for sustained change. To achieve population health equity, we therefore place the focus on what it will take to reach that goal – an anti-racist movement to dismantle structural racism and move toward a racially, socially, economically, and politically just and equitable society.