"If we don't do this work now, we'll burden many generations out," said Dr. Gail Christopher to an audience of nearly 400 people in her keynote address for the Joint Center's Place Matters National Conference, held yesterday in Washington, DC. Place Matters is an initiative of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies—which seeks to address the community-level conditions that lead to racial and ethnic health inequities.
In her opening remarks, Dr. Christopher underscored that our nation's historical and present reality of racial segregation—which in many of our metropolitan areas remains a pervasive part of daily life—impacts the health and well-being of people of color. With segregation of people comes the segregation of resources, which means for people of color a lack of access to quality schools, healthcare and nutritious food.
Dr. Christopher explained that in order to overcome racial divides, we must begin to have these conversations, and understand the emotions and the healing needed to move forward. This need for "healing" is at the core of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation's America Healing effort to assure that we remove the barriers to success for all children, so they may grow up in strong and healthy communities.
The day's lineup also featured Dr. Howard Koh, assistant secretary for health, along with Del. Donna Christensen of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Dr. Jaewon Ryu, associate medical director from Kaiser Permanente, writer and author Tim Wise, and Eugene Robinson, columnist for the Washington Post. In addition, two "Place Matters" communities shared their amazing progress on how they have institutionalized their commitment to achieve health equity across racial groups.
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation was one of several supporters of the conference, where two new reports were released, illustrating the links between place, race and health.
- A Lost Decade: Neighborhood Poverty and the Urban Crisis of the 2000s
- Segregated Spaces, Risky Places: The Effects of Racial Segregation on Health Inequalities
This conference was also supported by: