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Place Matters conference explores intersection of health and economic justice

On October 2, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies hosted the third annual PLACE MATTERS National Conference in Washington, D.C. The event brought together elected officials, grassroots leaders, public health practitioners and more, to explore the intersection of health and economic justice. Speakers included David R. Williams, the Florence and Laura Norman Professor of Public Health at Harvard University, and more.

The audience was welcomed by Ralph Everett, the president and CEO of the Joint Center, and Brian D. Smedley, Ph.D., Vice President and Director, Joint Center Health Policy Institute, and then treated to a viewing of the feature trailer to the Kirwan Institute’s production of “A Reading of the Letter from Birmingham Jail.”

The conference keynote was given by Touré, co-host of MSNBC’s “The Cycle,” who focused his remarks on the comparison of today’s equity movements to those started during the heart of the civil rights movement in 1963.

Other speakers at the event included:

  • Sheryll Cashin, J.D., Professor of Law at the Georgetown University Law Center;
  • David Erickson, Director of the Center for Community Development Investments, Federal Reserve Bank;
  • Mindy Fullilove Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Professor of Clinical Sociomedical Sciences;
  • Marisela Gomez, Social Health Concepts and Practice, Inc.;
  • Ayana Gregory, Singer, Dramatist, Educator and Activist;
  • Douglas S. Massey, Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs, Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs;
  • Heather McGhee, J.D., Vice President of Policy and Outreach, Demos;
  • Mee Moua, President and Executive Director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice;
  • Dedrick Muhammad, Sr. Director of the Economic Department and Executive Director of the Financial Freedom Center, NAACP;
  • Philip Tegeler, President and Executive Director, Poverty and Race Research Action Council; and
  • Richard Wilkinson, Professor Emeritus of Social Epidemiology, University of Nottingham (U.K.) Medical School.

Throughout the day, speakers brought to light the root issues of how community conditions directly affect the health of their residents and identify the needs of the communities in order to improve these conditions, and in turn the health of the community.

Prior to the conference, Dr. Gail Christopher, vice president for Program Strategy for WKKF, joined Mr. Smedley for a conversation about the role that “place” plays in the health and life outcomes of many people of color. That discussion is available for download (mp3).

In addition, WKKF participated in a Twitter chat on economic justice and health equity moderated by Mr. Smedley in the week leading up to the conference. You can recap key moments from today’s conference by searching #PMNC13 on Twitter.

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