Native American tribes across the US tapping into about $20 billion in pandemic relief for economic and social recovery project is but a fraction of the resources, lands and traditions that was stolen from them.

By Sri Taylor, Bloomberg

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Reimagining Our Public Health Systems: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s National Commission to Transform Public Health Data Systems

This roundtable will address the many areas of alignment between the 3 groups, how the recommendations are really positioned action, why equity needs to be at the center of modernization, and how we are going to measure progress going forward.

The recommendations of this commission engage multiple sectors, including the federal level, the state level, and the local level of government, the health care system, the public health system, the business community, the nonprofit sector, and the academic and educational community.

View Roundtable Here.


Karen DeSalvo


Alonzo L. Plough
Brian Castrucci
Gail C. Christopher
Herminia Palacio


Across the country, cities are declaring racism a public health crisis. These declarations are an important step to eliminating racism and advancing racial justice.

Jayla Whitfield-Anderson, Yahoo News

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One painfully clear reality about infant mortality shared across developing and developed nations1 is this: Black babies die at higher rates than White babies. Even in the US, where the infant death rates for all age groups is shown to be dropping, Black infants still die at twice the rate as White infants.

By Haley Weiss, Fatherly

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The massive blizzard in Buffalo, New York — which so far has claimed the lives of at least 39 people in Erie County, 31 of them just in Buffalo — has highlighted enduring racial and economic divides, as most victims are people of color.

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WASHINGTON – Celebrating the 7th annual National Day of Racial Healing, the National Collaborative for Health Equity (NCHE) today released an inspiring roundtable discussion with NCHE Senior Scholars on striving for racial equity and announced the launch of their new podcast series, NCHE PRESENTS: Leaders Pursuing Health Equity In America.

The roundtable, which is moderated by NCHE Executive Director Dr. Gail C. Christopher, is a component of NCHE’s partnership with publisher Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., and its Health Equity journal. Mary Ann Liebert is the official publishing partner of NCHE. The Health Equity journal will publish the roundtable, as well as comprehensive papers written by NCHE Senior Scholars – five distinguished academic and social justice leaders who provide insights and expertise on various aspects of racial equity and social justice.

“We are at an unprecedented moment in the history of the health of our nation,” said Dr. Christopher. “We are moving forward from the worst public health crisis America has ever experienced. So many have suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic. But we remain hopeful that the era of racial reckoning in response to the brutal murder of George Floyd will yield positive results that help eliminate racism and facilitate racial healing.”

It was seven years ago today that the National Day of Racial Healing was launched by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation as part of a comprehensive framework that calls for acknowledgement of the pain caused by racism and provides concrete methods of healing the wounds of the past and moving forward towards racial equity in our communities.

“While divisiveness grabs the headlines, there is a strong undercurrent and momentum for racial healing and progress towards what Dr. King called ‘the beloved community,’ “Dr. Christopher said. “Over the last seven years the National Day of Racial Healing has expanded
into hundreds of communities. People of all races and ethnicities celebrate efforts to eradicate racism, end health inequity and value the humanity of all people.”

The inaugural group of NCHE Senior Scholars are Charmaine Royal, PhD, MS, Robert O. Keohane Professor of African & African American Studies, Biology, Global Health, and Family Medicine & Community Health at Duke University; Lisa Sockabasin, MS, a Citizen of the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Motahkomikum and co-CEO of Wabanaki Public Health and Wellness; Mindy Thompson Fullilove, MD, LFAPA, a Social Psychiatrist and Professor of Urban Policy and Health at The New School; Alan Jenkins, JD, MA, Professor of Practice at Harvard Law School; and Algernon Austin, PhD, Director for Race and Economic Justice at the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

The next issue of Health Equity, which will be published on January 20, 2023, will include articles by the NCHE Senior Scholars. Their work aligns with the pillars of a framework that engages communities, organizations, and individuals from multiple sectors across the United States in racial healing and addressing present-day inequities linked to historic and contemporary beliefs in a hierarchy of human value.

In her paper, Royal examines narrative change and concludes there must be “a shift in our approach” if America is to truly address the systemic racism embedded in our society. Focused on racial healing and relationships, Sockabasin writes eloquently about the state of our society and how to get it back on track. With a special interest in the relationship between the collapse of communities and decline in health, Fullilove examines separation through history and its impact on health. Jenkins recounts the turbulent relationship between law and equity in our nation and discusses the elements that can lead to major progress through law, and recommends specific steps that different actors can take to move an equity and opportunity agenda forward. Austin writes that racist ideas and practices help to structure American society by being in dialogue with the economy of the society.

“The roundtable discussion and the accompanying articles contribute to our healing journey. The National Day of Racial Healing is the appropriate time for them to be consumed as people celebrate our progress towards a fair and just society for all,” said Dr. Christopher, who led the creation of the National Day of Racial Healing while serving as a vice president and senior advisor at the Kellogg Foundation.

As a component of its National Day of Racial Healing celebration, NCHE also launches its podcast series. Hosted by Dr. Christopher, the premier episode is an engaging conversation with Dr. Kaiwipuni Punihei Lipe. She is an extraordinary leader who discusses the culture of native Hawaiians, the challenges they face and a special bond with their homeland.

The conversation is consistent with the National Day of Racial Healing’s overarching theme, as Dr. Christopher and Dr. Lipe discuss the power of healing and the “connectiveness” between all people on earth. Both the podcast and the work of the NCHE Senior Scholars underscore the value of healing that is the prevalent message on this day.

“America is beginning the real work of seeding and growing the capacity to value the humanity of all people,” Dr. Christopher said. “This will require understanding the need to see ourselves in one another, to develop automatic responses of empathy and compassion needed to build bridges of trust that are required for carrying the weight of the truth of our nation’s past. The National Day of Racial Healing is a key contributor to building that trust.”

Download Full Press Release (PDF): Here



January 4, 2022

Michael K. Frisby
[email protected]/202-625-4328

Statement by Dr. Gail C. Christopher, Executive Director, National Collaborative for Health Equity

Unlocking Our Fifth Freedom

President Joe Biden recently signed into law the Respect for Marriage Act. This landmark United States federal law passed by the 117th U.S. Congress repeals the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), requires the U.S. federal government and all U.S. states and territories to recognize the validity of same-sex and interracial civil marriages in the U.S., and protects religious liberty.

While we must all applaud this amazing bi-partisan breakthrough, we should all be appalled that such a law was needed in this democratic nation, in this the 21st-century. Why is there a need to protect a fundamental human right and freedom for adults to love and marry interracially or to a person of the same gender? I think the answer is because America is a nation and a democracy that is yet becoming. We are, in the global context, still a young nation learning how to be a multiracial, multi-ethnic, diverse, self-governing democracy. We still have a lot of work to do.

Congressional and presidential leadership are a vital part of this important work. I am reminded of the leadership of President Franklin D Roosevelt, who galvanized and lifted the consciousness of the American people by reminding them of the meaning of democracy in a time when the Great Depression was limiting hope. In his 1941 State of the Union address, President Roosevelt articulated four freedoms – the freedom of speech, freedom to worship, freedom to be free from want and freedom from fear.

It was another iteration of our founding principles, every person’s right to life, to liberty, and to the pursuit of happiness. But here we are in 2022, still needing to codify into law a fifth freedom – a freedom to love. I believe this is our most important freedom. And although it was not articulated by then President Roosevelt or by the founding fathers, freedom to love is the required element in a lasting democracy. By signing this legislation, President Biden affirmed this truth.

It is also meaningful that this freedom became law during the same week that the White House hosted a summit of leaders from 49 African countries. During this summit, President Biden spoke directly about what he described as America’s original sin of slavery: “We remember the stolen men and women and children were brought to our shores in chains…My nation’s original sin was that period.” There is a clear relationship and through line from this original sin and the present day need for the landmark Respect for Marriage Act. Denial of a person’s freedom to love and marry is a denial of a person’s humanity. The institution of enslavement of Africans and the decimation of Native American people could only have been justified by denying our humanity.

It is time for America to begin the real work of seeding and growing a democracy capable of valuing the humanity of all people. This requires developing the skills and the capacities to begin to see ourselves in one another, to develop automatic responses of empathy and compassion needed to build bridges of trust that are required for carrying the weight of the truth of our nation’s inhumane and horrific past acts. While laudable, the Respect for Marriage Act is like a tourniquet applied to the bleeding limb of a wounded soldier; it will only be lifesaving if the body receives the care it needs immediately. For America, that care is the will to move forward, to heal and repair the vestiges of past wrongs, and create and sustain equitable communities.

The immediate care that our national body politic requires is an investment to create and support a new cultural infrastructure, a psychological emotional infrastructure of love and caring that is strong enough to withstand and repel the attacks of false narratives and hate, driven by nefarious motives for power and control. The good news is that communities and college campuses are doing this work all across America. Philanthropy is supporting their efforts. But the original sin was committed by this federal government and enforced for centuries by all branches of our government. America’s national, state, and local governments organized and institutionalized lovelessness throughout history. People were lynched and brutalized, families were destroyed, women were raped and children were taken. All this was done in the name of a belief in a false hierarchy of human value. A unified and robust correction is long overdue.

Congressional efforts are currently underway through H.Con.Res.19 – Urging the establishment of a United States Commission on Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation and H.R.40 – Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act, introduced by Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. Both H.Con.Res.19 and H.R.40 have significant co-sponsorships –168 and 196, respectively in the 117th Congress. In this time of increasing and expanding polarization, congressional and presidential leadership are critically needed to further these efforts to assure the viability of our democracy by building our capacity to love one another equally as human beings.

For America, freedom to love is the beginning of our transformation.



On the premier episode of our podcast, NCHE PRESENTS: Leaders Pursuing Health Equity in America, host Dr. Gail C. Christopher talks with guest Dr. Kaiwipuni Punihei Lipe about the culture of native Hawaiians and their connectiveness with their homeland.

Tune in to learn more about the incredible spirit of native Hawaiians, the challenges they face to stay connected to their homelands and the connectiveness they believe links all things on earth.

“In all places in the world, I believe that at one time or another there were principles that connected us to each other and a place for us in our stories,” says Dr. Lipe. “We know that we are born from this land, that the land, the sky, the sea, the birds, the plants, the animals they’re all part of our family. It’s a lens or a framework that invites us always to be thinking of the ways we are connected, even when we’re not biologically related. And so that is a core principle that we are trying to teach anyone who is in our presence.”

Citing spiritual strength and resiliency of their culture, Dr. Lipe notes that many Hawaiians struggle “in so many ways, all very connected to the loss of our lands.” She adds that “more than half of native Hawaiians live outside of Hawaii. We cannot afford to live on our own homelands.”

Find out more about Dr. Lipe’s thoughts on Hawaiian culture and “connectiveness” on Earth on the premier episode of the NCHE PRESENTS: Leaders Pursuing Health Equity in America podcast.




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Check out the costs of racial discrimination in the labor market.

By Sara Henning-Stout, Science Magazine

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