2008 Distinguished Scholar Lecture Series

Harvard professor to present on sociology, religion, and health

By: Becky St. Clair

David R. Williams will present January 24 and 25.

Each year, Walla Walla University selects a speaker to present for the annual Distinguished Scholar Lecture. This year’s speaker is David R. Williams, professor of sociology , African, and African American studies at Harvard University, and the Florence and Laura Norman Professor of Public Health at the Harvard School of Public Health.

During this year’s Distinguished Scholar Lecture series, Williams will present his message in three parts:

Thursday, January 24, 7 p.m., Walla Walla Valley Academy Auditorium: “Social Inequalities in Health: Patterns, Causes, Interventions”

Friday, January 25, 1-3 p.m., Melvin K. West Fine Arts Center Auditorium: “Moderate Alcohol Consumption and Health: Evidence, Questions, Interpretations.”

Friday, January 25, 6 p.m., Walla Walla Valley Academy Auditorium: “Religion and Health: Scientific Findings and Unanswered Questions”

Continuing education credits are available for those who attend all three presentations. These events are free and open to the public.

Williams has a history of holding professorships at prestigious institutions. Prior to his professorship at Harvard, his first six years as faculty were spent at Yale University, where he held appointments in both sociology and public health.

Following his time at Yale, Williams served for 14 years at the University of Michigan, where he taught sociology and epidemiology. Williams also served as Senior Research Scientist at the Institute of Social Research.

A graduate of Loma Linda University, where he received a master’s degree in public health, and the University of Michigan, from which he holds a doctorate degree in sociology, Williams is an internationally recognized authority on social influences on health. He has been invited to keynote scientific conferences in Europe, Africa, Australia, South America, and across the United States.

Williams is the author of more than 150 scholarly papers in scientific journals and edited collections, and his research has appeared in leading journals in sociology, psychology, medicine, public health, and for more than 50 others.

In addition, Williams was involved in the development of health policy at the national level in the United States. In 1992, he was appointed by the Bush administration to a 4-year term on the Department of Health and Human Services’ National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics. He also served in an advisory capacity to President Clinton’s Task Force on Health Care Reform in 1993, and has served in several positions in professional health organizations.

Williams’ current research includes studying the health of Black Caribbean immigrants in the United States, examining how race-related stressors (racial discrimination in the United States and exposure to torture during apartheid in South Africa) can affect health. He is also currently assessing the ways in which religious involvement is related to health.

For more information on WWU’s 2008 Distinguished Scholar Lectures, contact David Bullock at david.bullock@wallawalla.edu or 509-527-2520.

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