Equity teach-in

Harvard public health specialist to speak for Donald Blake Center annual conference


A world-renowned specialist on social impacts on public health, Dr. David R. Williams, will present “Social Inequities in Health and What We Can Do About Them” for an online conference at Walla Walla University on Wednesday, April 14, at 5 p.m. 

The lecture will be the keynote address for a teach-in conference sponsored by the Donald Blake Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Culture at Walla Walla University and Adventist Health. During the week, in multiple disciplines across campus, students, faculty, staff, and invited guests will explore topics related to the conference theme, “What Does Equity Look Like?”

“The current worldwide pandemic has laid bare, within the United States, sustained inequities throughout society,” said Cheris Current, professor of sociology and social work and director of the Donald Blake Center. “We have seen racial inequities in public health, health care, law enforcement, and many professions; inadequate access to health care in many rural areas; and the disproportionate departure of women from the workforce as they strive to support at-home schooling and child care. This time of wrenching dislocation can also provide the opportunity to reimagine and work toward a more equitable society. We eagerly anticipate how Dr. Williams’ lecture will spark discussions across our campus.”

Williams is the Norman Professor of Public Health and chair of the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a professor of African and African American studies at Harvard University. His prior faculty appointments were at Yale University and the University of Michigan. He has been invited to keynote scientific conferences in Europe, Africa, Australia, the Middle East, South America, and across the U.S., and was ranked as one of the world’s most influential scientific minds by the Thomas Reuters Media Group. The author of more than 500 scientific papers, his research has enhanced our understanding of the ways in which social factors, including, stress, race, economic status, racism, health behavior, and religious involvement can affect health.

“The Donald Blake Center at Walla Walla University was established in 2016 to honor the university’s first black faculty member, who taught biology there from 1962-1969,” said Laurellé C. Warner, associate professor of social work and sociology and associate director of the Donald Blake Center.  “We appreciate Dr. Williams’ participation in the work of the Donald Blake Center, and we will also be welcoming Dr. Donald Blake to participate in our discussions on Thursday, April 15.”

Williams’ presentation is free and open to the public, but registration is required for participation in this Zoom lecture.

Learn more about the WWU Donald Blake Center and other conference speakers at wallawalla.edu/dbc.

Posted April 6, 2021

Portrait of David Williams wearing a dark jacket and yellow tie sitting in front of shelves with books.
Dr. David R. Williams is the Norman Professor of Public Health and chair of the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.