What are Chicago’s Health Disparities and Why Does It Matter?

What are Chicago’s Health Disparities and Why Does It Matter?

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Susan:
Welcome to the 5th Campus Conversation of the year. The goal of the Campus Conversation Series
is to have faculty, and students, and staff engage with each other about some of the big
issues of our time going on now and affecting all of us. As a community dedicated to social justice
and diversity, we come together to try to understand current events and talk about these
issues. Today, the topic is, what are Chicago’s health
disparities and why does it matter? We are privileged to have with us today a
distinguished and truly expert panel of faculty and administrators from UIC to discuss this
topic. We will begin with Professor Amanda Lewis,
whom I will introduce in a moment to provide some background. This will be followed by short presentations
by our panelists, the Dean of the School of Public Health, Dr. Wayne Giles; the Associate
Vice Chancellor and Director of the Cancer Center, Dr. Robert Winn; and Professor Angela
Odoms-Young from the Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition. They will then have a discussion among themselves. Then, we will open it up for Q&A from the
audience. Paper has been provided on your seats with
a pencil, so that you can write down your questions. We will collect these questions and give them
to the panelists around 1:00 after about an hour of their presentations and conversation. It’s now my privilege to introduce Dr. Amanda
Lewis. Dr. Lewis is a professor of African American
Studies and Sociology, and the Director of the Institute for Research on Race and Public
Policy, also known as IRRPP. The IRRPP was created in the 1990s and has
as its mission to increase society’s understanding of the root causes of racial and ethnic inequality,
and to provide the public, organizers, practitioners, and policymakers with research-based policy
solutions. In May of 2017, the IRRPP, under Amanda Lewis’
direction, published a report titled A Tale of Three Cities: The State of Racial Justice
in Chicago. This report examines the changing conditions
of Chicago’s three largest racial and ethnic groups, blacks, Latinxs, and whites, over
the last half century. It finds that ethnic and racial inequities
in Chicago remains strongly embedded in the city today across the board, but particularly
in the areas of education, economics, justice, and health. Health is the topic of today’s campus conversation. The report offers accessible data and analysis
providing an excellent resource for further research and policy solutions. I have read it. I have shared it with many, including members
of the Obama Foundation. In fact, just this morning, I wanted to look
at it while working on these remarks and realized that I don’t have it anymore. I’ve given away all my copies, even though
Amanda keeps restocking my office. We need another restocking, Amanda. The IRRPP isn’t all that Dr. Lewis spends
her time on. She’s also an accomplished scholar whose research
focuses on how race shapes educational opportunities, and how our ideas about race get negotiated
in everyday life. She’s a perfect example, actually, of engaged
research here. She just told me she’s on her way out to Oak
Park to talk at a school after this. Her research has appeared in many academic
journals. She’s the author of the books Race in the
Schoolyard: Negotiating the Color Line in Classrooms and Communities, and the book Despite
the Best Intentions: Why Racial Inequality Persists in Good Schools. She’s the coauthor of Challenging Racism in
Higher Education: Promoting Justice, and co-editor of the Changing Terrain of Race and Ethnicity. Please join me in welcoming Dr. Lewis who’ll
provide more detailed introductions of our panelist. Thank you. Dr. Amanda Lewis:
Here you go, Susan. I’ll give it to you at the end. All right. There’s one right there. Susan:
Yes, absolutely. Dr. Amanda Lewis:
I am going to keep my remarks short partly because this is a panel on health. You probably gleaned from Susan’s comments
that I am not a health expert, but I do have a few things I want to say just to get us
started. At the Institute for Research and Race and
Public Policy, one of our central aims is to increase knowledge about the experiences
and conditions of racial and ethnic groups nationally, but especially locally in the
City of Chicago. We’re interested in capturing the complicated
truths about dynamics in our city today. In part, undertook the writing of the report
Susan was talking about out of our own frustration with popular narratives about Chicago today. This captures some of them. As many of you probably experienced, if you
travel outside the city, and you tell people you’re from Chicago, they’ll often ask if
you’re okay, is everything … They’re worried. We knew that the realities of Chicago and
its daily lives are far more complex, and the picture of supposedly violent communities
described in national news stories. Every neighborhood, we find families living
and thriving; hardworking, young people charging to school; parks filled with residents walking,
playing, exercising. We find communities full of immigrants working
overtime to make ends meet. Yet, we also knew that even as the Chicagoans
of all racial and ethnic groups want to live in safe and healthy communities, not all have
equal access. We named our report A Tale of Three Cities
because there really isn’t one Chicago experience today. There are several. In the report, we primarily discussed the
conditions of Chicago’s three largest racial ethnic groups, African Americans, whites,
and Latinxs. I’m happy to say, however, that we are nearing
completion of a new report on Asian Americans in Chicago, which we’ll be releasing next
month. The central finding in this report is that
racial and ethnic inequalities in the City of Chicago remained pervasive, persistent,
and consequential. These inequities affect the lives of Chicagoans
in every neighborhood. They have not just spatial but also deep historic
roots and are embedded in our social institutions. They have powerful effects on the lived experiences
and opportunities of all Chicagoans. Facing this truth is, for us, a key step of
addressing this reality. As Baldwin put in, “Not everything that is
faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” We are faced with the reality that many Chicagoans
continue to struggle, not only with the long-term effects of structural racism, but ongoing
patterns of discrimination. Along with other inequities, just to keep
you on your seats, health disparities between groups in Chicago are also vast and consequential. Yet, as much as health disparities data tells
us important information about dimensions of disease and adverse health conditions between
groups, we are still working to understand how and exactly why race matters so much for
health outcomes, how they’re related, racial and ethnic differences in access to medical
care and facilities, inequality of treatment within medical settings, our experiences with
medical personnel, our level of stress, the safety of our communities, the amount of toxins
in our air and water, how much we have to pay for health clubs or organic food, et cetera,
et cetera. In this way, health outcomes for Chicago residents
are deeply connected to other aspects of racial and ethnic inequality. Two other points I want to make, and then
I’m just going to share a couple of quick data points. Despite what I read about in the national
news, one of the other big conclusions of our report is that far more Chicagoans are
impacted everyday by the effects of structural violence than by the impact of interpersonal
violence. This is actually one of the key themes of
the new Center for Health Equity Research here — Did I get that right? Okay, I got it — which is going to be a major
important partner on campus to really advance this conversation. This framework is similar to what Beth Richie
talks about on her book, Arrested Justice, as the violence matrix. It reminds us of that interpersonal violence
is only one small part of a larger set of relations that do harm. The long history of structural racism puts
many in harm’s way and has lots of different health consequences on multiple levels. It’s about how race gets into our bodies,
and also about how racial dynamics mediate collective access to wellness. Okay, I just want to share a couple of quick
data points. I’ll make connections. Then, were going to move it on. The Chicago Sun-Times headline about the report
said it was lengthy. It’s a lengthy report, which I think is true. It’s 180 pages. It weighs a lot, if you want to borrow one. I’m only hitting a few key points on the report. One of the things I want to point out here
is this is about unemployment reports. Many of us know that for a long time, there
had been major gaps in unemployment rates across groups. On average, black and Latino unemployment
rates are, at least, two to three times white unemployment rates. That has been true for decades. I think one of the important points about
looking at a piece of data like this though is that at that point in the US when we were
most recently in a national crisis about our economy, when we said that things were bad,
we recognized we were on recession, white unemployment rates were at 8%. That unemployment rate is lower than it has
been for African Americans or Latinos anytime over the last four years. What is a crisis for some groups is actually
good news for others. It’s important to keep in mind and has lots
of different ramifications. One other way of looking at this, Latino unemployment
rates are a little bit lower than African American unemployment rates in the city, but
if we look at what kinds of jobs people are working in, what kinds of salaries they’re
making for those jobs, we see, for instance, a majority of Latinos in the city are making
less than $15 an hour, which we would talk about as an important marker of whether people
are earning a living wage. In fact, higher percentages of black and Latino
workers are making less than $15 an hour today than was true in the year 2000. Lots of people working, but necessarily making
a living wage. Unemployment, employment data, income data
often underestimate the levels of inequity between households. One of the things we often talk about is the
importance of paying attention to wealth differences. Wealth is, in many ways, the congealed effects
of these long histories of racism in our policies and practices. As you can see here, not only are those gaps
huge, but have actually gotten worse as the result of the recession in the last 10 years. Black and Latino household have, on average,
one-eighteenth to one-twentieth the wealth of white households. This is national data. We didn’t have great data to look deep dive
into this in the City of Chicago. What we did have data on is households who
have zero or negative net worth. You can see here, the numbers are about a
third for black and Latino households, about 15% for white households. I can’t emphasize enough how important this
measure is. This is basically measure of whether you have
any safety net in your household at all for any little hiccup that might come along the
way. It could be even something like getting a
flat tire; or getting in a minor accident; or as I had to last week, going to the pharmacy
and picking up medicine for your kid, and find out it was $200. Do you have the liquid assets in your household
to weather any of these issues? The answer for many and far too many households
in the city is no. I want to mention this just for one minute. We talked about the mass imprisonment and
imprisonment rates. There’s a long section in the report where
we talked about imprisonment rates in the State of Illinois. We had the most overcrowded prisons on the
country. We have imprisonment rates that have been
going up exponentially. They are, in fact, not at all correlated with
crime rates, which are at their lowest point in 30 years. Part of the reason why this data is important,
however, is also just to think about resources and where we’re spending money in the state. If we look at where spending has gone over
the past several decades, direct expenditures on criminal justice in the state — that’s
on corrections, police, and judiciary — have gone up dramatically; whereas, when you think
about lots of other domains, some of those directly related to health spending has gone
down partly related. Broadly, reducing health disparities will
require, in many ways, turning our attention within and beyond the health domain, beyond
individual decision making or behavior to the context and constraints of those choices,
as well the availability of resources and opportunities for health. The reverberations of our collective racial
history, along with persistent patterns of racism today yield start patterns of inequity
we cannot ignore. I look forward to talking to my fellow panelist
about all the important work going on to try to address some of these patterns. Now, it is my great pleasure to be able to
introduce three wonderful colleagues here on campus. I’m going to not read their entire bios as
that would take us all the way until 1:00. I’ll give you some of the highlights. We’re going to go and reversed alphabetical
order. Starting with Dr. Winn, Dr. Winn is Professor,
and Associate Chancellor of a community-based practice, and Director of the University of
Illinois Cancer Center. He is a professor of medicine at the U of
I Chicago, Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, Sleep and Allergy. He also received his medical degree from the
University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor. As Associate Vice Chancellor for community-based
practice, Dr. Winn is responsible for the management of the UI Health Mile Square Health
Center, a 13-site Federally-qualified health center network. The goal of community-based practice at UI
Health is to integrate and coordinate healthcare in the surrounding communities, build a 21st
Century model of community-based healthcare providers linked to the mission of our academic
health center, and devote meaningful research programs that can be integrated into the community. As the Director of UI Health Cancer Center,
Dr. Winn has implemented the first comprehensive, community-focused cancer center. From bench to community, he has made great
strides to enforce an evidence-based community approach to reduce the burden of cancer. Dr. Angela Odoms-Young is an Associate Professor
of Kinesiology and Nutrition, an Institute for Health, Research, and Policy Fellow. Her research is focused on understanding social,
cultural, and environmental determinants of dietary behaviors and diet-related diseases
in low-income and minority populations. Her current projects include studies to evaluate
the impact of the new WIC food package on dietary intake, weight status, and chronic
disease risk in two to three-year old low-income children and vendor participation; identify
strategies to improve program participation and retention among WIC eligible children;
evaluate the efficacy of a community-based participatory weight loss intervention in
African American women; and examine community engagement approaches to promote food justice. She serves on the executive committee of the
Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children, which awarded her the 2015 Katherine Kaufer
Christoffel Founder’s Award. Finally, one of our newest colleagues. Dr. Wayne Giles is the Dean of the UIC School
of Public Health. Dr. Giles joined the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention in July 1992. He is currently … This must be an old bio
because it says you’re currently the Director of the … He was the Director of the Division
for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention before coming to UIC. He holds a BA from Washington University,
a master’s from the University of Maryland, and a doctorate in medical degree from Washington
University, and has completed residencies in both Internal Medicine and Preventive Medicine. His past work experience has included studies
examining the prevalence of hypertension in Africa, clinical trials evaluating the effectiveness
of cholesterol-lowering agents, and studies examining racial differences in the incidence
of stroke. We are very happy to have him here on campus
with us. Each of them will come up and present. Then, we’ll sit down and have a little bit
of conversation. Then, open it up for questions. Thanks. Would you do the switching? Speaker 3:
Oops. Okay. Dr. Robert Winn:
I think, for those of you who know me, I was actually given a memo to keep this under 10,
and I will. The original was five. I’m going to see what I can do. I get really passionate around these things
because the reality is I think we have had these discussions around health disparities
for a very long time. In fact, some of the new conversations are
almost like a good old pair of shoes you remembered when. When you put them back on, you go, “Yeah,
right.” These have been going on, in some cases, for
30 to 40; in some cases, 50 years. Interestingly enough, I would never tell you
that there has been no progress made, but I will tell you that we still have to recognize
that where we ought to be is where we’re not. I love this first slide simply because many
of you see this. This is like an old record that I will play
for some of the people who know records. There’s a couple of young faces, but I’ve
been teaching my 18-year-old son about the beauty of records. Anyways, we used to actually say, “You’ve
played the groove out of that record,” because you played it so many times. I am unapologetic about this slide and many
of the things that I’m going to talk about because, again, we have many people in this
room have been on the front lines for 30, 20, 40 years dealing with the same issue about
the disparities. Interestingly enough, when I read the newspaper,
and sometimes when I go to the barbershops, it’s amazing the conversations that we think
people don’t have in those beauty shops and barbershops around the new technology. Now, the crazy thing is it is not lost on
me that the Loop, certainly, right now with a life expectancy of 85, and West Garfield
Park with 69 when you round up, and on many other areas in the Chicago area, we have these
disparities. Yet, we’re sitting on the 21st Century with
the largest promise of technology, the biggest promise of cures. Interestingly enough, rarely in our conversations
other than in select small group are we actually talking about what I think is the largest
issue, the implementation of this into our communities and the benefit of our communities. We are amazed as academics about framing the
question, but what I’d like to do is to challenge us to go beyond framing the questions, and
talking about, and chasing academic excellence, and actually having something, and pushing
us to a direction of academic relevance where, not only do our papers and our grants count,
but the impact in the community, the measured impact in the community also counts for the
job we’re doing. That, to me, seems to be a nice challenge
for the 21st Century. I understand that many people would say, “Well,
that’s hard to do.” interestingly enough, when it comes to other
hard things, putting a man on the moon, coming up with computers, now coming up with ultrasounds
that can be measurable in your phone. You can actually take your iPhone, put a transducer
for a quick $2000, and be able to diagnose your own kidney stone. Yet, every article in Newsweek talks about
the promise of big data, the promise of big science, the promise of all this. Yet, when I tend to go into these shops, they’re
talking about, “Well, when is our time? When will this actually happen for us?” I’ll tell you what my biggest fear is. It’s not that the disparities exist because
that’s a given. My biggest fear is that these new technologies
and these new cures, checkpoint inhibitors, immunotherapies, and all these other things,
are actually going to work. They’re going to work so well that the unintended
consequence may be that we definitely improve the life of some but not all. Again, what keeps me up at night is that we’ll
have the Loop at 90 or maybe 92 in the next seven years. Garfield Park, based on what’s actually happening
right now, particularly some of the political issues and some of the programs that may be
undone, may not actually even be at 69 as we look over time. Our issue is one of urgency. If I had to leave three points, and, hey,
I’m going to wrap this up because this is new practice for getting done under 10 minutes,
because sometimes, when the speed moves, I just … Anyways, but the speed has told me
10, so we go keep it under 10. There are three points I want to make. The first is that we’re certainly having conversations,
but I want to say we should be adding new conversations. That is, we, again, are frequently not in
those discussions, for example, of AI. In fact, all of us sitting, we say, “The future
is here. This is artificial intelligence. Machine learning.” That is crazy for us to go to sleep on. The truth of the matter of is by not being
part of that conversation, we run the risk of having introduction of unintended consequence
of gender and racial bias into machines that will be difficult to argue their racism. Yet, we stand as if it matters not that, “Well,
that’s those engineering people in Silicon Valley.” We have quick examples of that. Many people know that there is a famous case
out of Northpoint. Northpoint was in Silicon Valley which helped
to help our judges reduce the number of people in jail. We would pick out the good people who wouldn’t
do any crime and those ones who were predicted to do crimes, they predict the analytics,
would stay. This is no surprise, so I’ll just give you
the punchline. Interesting enough, that predictive analytics
actually said that if you’re African American, you are two and a half times more likely,
actually three and a half times more likely to commit a new crime as opposed if you’re
Caucasian. Again, reverberator. Interesting enough, when I went back and looked
at the date, it was all wrong. When they asked the company, “Wait a minute,
it’s wrong,” they said two things that actually made me laugh but it wasn’t so funny. One, “Well, machines can’t be racists.” Two, “Well, what do you want? We’re not wrong.” It turns out that data is nothing but humans
putting together algorithms that then imparts that into machines. As we’re uncomfortable with the concept of
machine learning, I just want to put that out there that all of us should be interested
in artificial intelligence, deep learning, and machine learning because it’s going to
be a part of your life whether you want it or not. They talk about Plymouth Rock landing on you. Well, you’re not landing on Plymouth Rock. Plymouth Rock has just landed on us. We just haven’t had the ouch factor yet. It’s like the Three Stooges where you get
smacked. Three minutes later, you go, “Aw.” Well, we’re there. Two, in addition to actually having these
kinds of conversations about this new technology, I will implore us to actually take another
step back about our community connectedness. In some ways, I believe, we are existing in
spheres that we’re well meaning, and we’re doing all these wonderful things, but it’s
loose connective tissue because the question is, “Are we really connected in meaningful
ways to our community?” Not just because we say we are, but what’s
the real form in figuring out how we really are connected to the community? The truth of the matter is, frequently, I
walk around some of our FQHCs, and I ask people about, not only UIC but all these other things
about what’s actually happening. The answer is, “I didn’t know that.” Not good as we approach the 21st Century. The last thing I’m going to leave you with,
and again, I know I’m not supposed to say it but I’m going to say it anyways, and that
is I think we are at the very verge. We are on the very moment where, believe it
or not, people are really looking to public institutions probably to drive the wagon. I’ll give you an example. I was just in a meeting with a bunch of cancer
center directors. It was the craziest meeting. They were sitting and saying, “We have some
of the most outstanding cancer centers. They’re directly in African American neighborhoods.” If you look at where the cancer centers are
and the access to these African Americans to those cancer centers, it’s zero. In fact, I had a cancer center, and I’m not
going to call them out, but they’re in a place where I’ve been, a lot. They said, “Well, it’s tough to get African
Americans here.” Then, you started analyzing that, and they
go, “Because of the insurance.” I’m proudly part of a public institution that
Lincoln put together that said, “We’re not just a public university. We’re the public university.” I actually think that in that room, someone
stood up and said, “This seems incorrect and wrong. Why are we paying for all these cancer centers
that are creating all these new things, but none of it is actually getting to the communities
that live in.” In fact, someone stood up and said, “I think
we have a cancer center director back there who actually has this thing about bench the
community. Could you tell us a little bit more about
that?” It is time to talk about changing the society. It is not siloed. It is all connected. Whether you do community work, basic science
work, or whatever, it is time for us to get together. I believe our rightful place is to not follow
what the patterns are but to create them. I believe we’re going to create them here. That was under 10. It’s whatever I said. Female:
You come down here. Dr. Robert Winn:
Okay. Female:
[inaudible 00:26:41]. Female:
Getting it through the end. Female:
I’ll take it. Female:
I know. Angela O. Young:
Okay. I’m going to try to stay under 10 minutes. Of course. Dr. Winn is always a hard act to follow. Can you hear me? Audience:
Yeah. Angela O. Young:
I’m getting some feedback with this. I wanted to talk a little bit to elaborate
on some of the things that were pointed out in the report to look at root causes of these
heath inequities. I also wanted to mention that, in addition
to my other affiliation, I work in the Office of Community Engagement and Neighborhood Health
Partnerships, which was previously directed by Dr. Cynthia Boyd, and now under the leadership
of Angela Ellison. I think that there was three really takeaways
as was mentioned in the report that I wanted to highlight, and also talk about some work
that’s being done on the south side of Chicago that’s grassroots. I think as Amanda mentioned, we always go
places. I’ve been to Orlando this week. I was at Hopkins. Of course, when you say Chicago, people do
come up to you and they say basically, “Are you running for your life?”, not looking at
some of the asset. I want to highlight some of the assets in
a project that’s coming directly from the community to address these inequities. I think the first point is really key — Of
course, you can take a look at the report — that inequalities between blacks and whites
are at a stagnant or whining. I think that is a really important point because
when we look at the dollars that have been spent in the years that we’ve been doing disparities
research, I started graduate school in the ’80s, and I still feel like … or late ’80s. I still feel like we’re having the same conversation. When I talk to some of the elders in my community,
they really feel like they’re having the same conversation, the healthcare providers, pharmacists. My work is focused on obesity and food access. We know that racial segregation plays a role,
and that birth on, that these disparities persist. I think that’s really key. Traditionally in health, and particularly
in nutrition, we look at behavioral causes of disease, tobacco use, diet, and physical
activity, BMI. Really, when we look at those root causes,
social and economic factors play the most important role. If you look at even these other root causes
that exist, if we look at and we talk about health behaviors, they really are at the root
of health behaviors as well. There was a really good report that came out. This may be difficult to see, a National Academy
of Science report, that really highlights when we talk about disparities in Chicago
or inequity in Chicago that it’s historical, political factors, and it persist over the
life course. I think that this diagram is really an important
one. It’s the systemic level. When we talk about immigration policies, incarceration
policies, predatory banking, community level, differential resource allocation, racially
and class-segregated schools, it’s multiple levels. Institutional level, also avert discrimination
and implicit bias. In interpersonal level because institutionalized
racism, stereotype threat, and embodied inequalities are really important. A lot of times, and I can give an example,
we talked about food deserts, but the biggest inequality when you look at food access of
African American started in slavery. We talked about things as they’re being very
recent, but we know that they have persisted over 400 years plus. The goal is when we look at solutions is to
move upstream to have population impact. We have refined our technique in counseling
and education, or I should say not refined, but given a lot of emphasis on counseling,
education, clinical interventions, but less so on population-based strategies really to
change the context of healthy decision making or deal with things like structural racism,
socioeconomic disparities, and inequity. Really, what we need to do is think about
interventions to go upstream, further upstream. I want to give an example of that in Imani
Village. A money village is a sustainable, eco-friendly,
mixed used green, intergenerational community with a village environment committed to lifelong
education, health, and economic development. Imani Village is a project that’s being developed
at 95th and Cottage Grove by Trinity United Church of Christ. Trinity United Church of Christ started an
LLC called the Trinity 95th and Cottage Grove Planned Community Development to develop 30
acres that was purchased at 95th in Cottage Grove into a village called Imani Village
that restores and supports residents, as well as impacts the surrounding community. Trinity is under the leadership of Otis Moss
III, and is one of the largest congregations in UCC, and has over 70 active members. Why Imani Village? Actually, I may skip this based on time, but
as was mentioned, in addition to Chicago overall, the areas surrounding Imani Village, you see
the disparities … I mean, health and equity at work when you look at social needs, when
you look at hospitalizations due to hypertension, hospitalizations due to diabetes. The purpose of Imani Village is really to
look at those areas that are consistent with community-level health and wellness. In a community, if you think about communities
as support people, you have access to recreation and open space, access to healthy food, access
to medical services, access to public transit and active transportation, access to quality
and affordable housing, economic opportunity, complete list of safe and neighborhoods of
public spaces, environmental quality, and green and sustainable development and practices. This is Imani Village. This is the site plan. Advocate Medical Group is a partner. They are developing a house center at Imani
Village that will be open in December of this year or January of 2019. There’s a housing partner to look at affordable
housing. I’m working specifically on the urban ag hub
and food hub where we’re developing … There’s a 30,000 square foot building on the side
of Imani Village that we’re the developing into both a food hub, where you have the back
of a house, as well as healthy food retail, and a partnership with the Nature Conservancy
to look at overall sustainability and conservation. I think the common theme of Imani Village
is one example. It’s also what we need to look at when we
redesign communities to be supportive of health. A living, healthy, green, educated, empowered,
and inspired, and whole. Really, we think about policies, we think
about statistics, but I still remain in Roseland. I still live on the south side. I’m not leaving the south side. When you look at it, when I talk to my neighbors,
it’s about the data, as Dr. Winn suggested. Behind the data are people. We want to make sure that people live as whole
human beings, and that they are supported. Thank you. Dr. Wayne Giles:
Good afternoon. It’s a pleasure to be here today. I don’t have any slides because I’m just going
to talk for about 5 or 10 minutes about some of my experiences. As what’s mentioned, I’m new to Chicago. I’ve been here about five or six months. As the other presenters, probably the first
thing that I heard people said when they heard I was leaving Atlanta, they said, “Oh gosh,
the weather. How are you going to survive the weather?”,
number one. Number two, they talked about the violence
that’s going on in the City of Chicago. I think, there are a couple of key themes
that I want to mention. I think as you look at the report, you can
look and see high rates of heart disease, and diabetes, and cancer. Amanda talked about what was going on in terms
of violence as part of the work as well. We also need to remember and think about what’s
happening, what I would say, above the neck. What’s happening in terms of mental health
issues? What’s happening in terms of depression and
anxiety? Then, we also need to remember that what happens
above the neck is very connected to what happens below the neck. I think thinking about mental health consequences
is going to be important. I’ll weave some of this back in, in just a
minute. The other thing we got to think about is disability. It’s not just about death, but it’s about
people who become disabled from these chronic conditions, from mental health, and other
things that are going to happen. Then, when you look at these communities,
whether we’re looking at violence, cancer, diabetes, obesity, et cetera, we’re seeing
the same communities over, and over, and over again. I think what you’ve got to begin thinking
about is what’s causing that. I think it goes back to what we think about
in terms of the root causes that may be coming out. I think part of that is the social determinants
of health, but I also think part of this is the role that stress can play, and the activation
of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis that can cause this in the secretion corticosteroids,
epinephrine, and adrenalin that can occur because of that, and the impact that stress
can have. I will tell you that a couple of weeks ago,
as Amanda mentioned, I finished residencies in Preventive Medicine and Internal Medicine. A couple of nights ago, I was driving home
up on the north side from a faculty member’s home from the dinner. I saw blue flashing lights as I was driving
home. I can remember saying, “Okay, Wayne, wear
your hands on the steering wheel.” I can remember the hair in the back of my
neck perking up a little bit. My heart was racing a little bit because I
was, “What happens if this policeman pulls me over?” It’s that impact. What happens when you have groups of people
that are going day to day thinking that way? What is the impact that that can have on an
individual? That happens to someone who’s had 15 years
or so of education beyond that. Thinking about that impact and those stresses. We don’t do a good job in our epi work of
measuring those types of impact, but those are huge impacts as we move over. The other thing that I think is important
as we think about this, in our studies, we tend to lump people together. We talk about African-Americans. We talk about the Latino community. The reality is we need to be much more precise. Not all Latinos are going to have all this. Not all African Americans are going to have
the same experience. We need to be more precise. We talk about precision medicine. We should be talking about really precision
public health as well. We need to be much more precise. The last thing I want to mention is this is
not new. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the
birth of W.E.B. Du Bois. He published in 1899 a book called The Philadelphia
Negro. This was the first time anybody did a systematic
review of the health status of a community of color. In that document, he talked about housing. He talked about poverty. He talked about incarceration. He talked about racism. We’ve been talking about these issues for
119 years. The other thing I think is important 50 years
ago. Actually, I think it was last week or the
week before, there was a celebration about the Kerner Commission Report. That report said that we are moving to two
societies, one black, one white, separate, and unequal. Very similar to what we have in the report
that IRRPP released. In 1985, Ronald Reagan, Secretary Heckler
released the Secretary’s Task Force on Black and Minority Health, 1985. Again, talking about health disparities, talked
about impacts of racism. In 2002, the Institute of Medicine released
a report on unequal treatment confronting racial and ethnic disparities and health. Now, we have yet another report. My question for you as I conclude is, how
many more reports are we going to write? You have a few key questions for you to think
about. What is UIC going to do? What do our schools and programs going to
do about it? Finally, what are you going to do about it? Thank you very much. Dr. Amanda Lewis:
How to turn this on? I’ll sit over here. I could sit here. I’m going to start us off just with a question
just to get the conversation going. Then, we will open it up to the audience. That was actually a perfect transition because
one of the things I’d love for each of you to begin by talking a little bit is, what
… This launches beautifully after something Dr. Winn said, which is if we think about
UIC as the public’s university, I do want to take from each of the places you’re situated,
what is UIC’s role in beginning to think about what are we doing currently? What are the most exciting things you’ve seen
on campus about making an impact in the city around these health disparities? Who wants to? You want to start? You first? Dr. Robert Winn:
Actually, I’m excited. I think that unlike most of the universities
within this city, we have things that we have special that we may overlook but stopped at. First of all, the seven health colleges being
in one center is something that’s amazing. The only thing we have to do is figure out
better how to talk with one another. I think this is just mostly an issue about
communication than anything else. We have an east and a west campus. We cover the gamut. The truth of the matter is I’ve always liked,
back in the day, act up because the name at the end of it is to unleash power. I mean, I think that we, at the end of the
day, have an ability to unleash a type of power and effect that other institutions within
the city would like to do, but we can. It’s just a matter of mostly communication. I think back to our mission of having an elevator
school. At many schools, when I actually go to Englewood,
I go to my FQHC, I’m not only taking care of patients within Englewood, but I’m also
looking in the community and saying, “You know what, you should be thinking about coming
here.” I think that unlike anybody else, we are well
positioned to literally have major impact and lead with the community. The days of doing things for the community
should be over. We should be doing things with the community- Dr. Wayne Giles:
With the community. Dr. Robert Winn:
… and with the community guidance. I think if we can have that secret sauce about
better communication on campus, communicating with our communities, I swear to goodness,
you look back 10 or 15 years it will be, not only fun, but we’ll hopefully be able to see
an impact. Dr. Wayne Giles:
I think within the School of Public Health, there are a couple of things we’ve done relatively
recently. One is we started this year on Thursday evening,
of course, called the Academics of Injustice, which got started to a group called Radical
Public Health. There, we’ve got conversations going on about
labor issues, reproductive health issues, disability issues. I think that provides a really nice opportunity
for students, and faculty, and community members collectively to have conversations about race,
and ethnic health disparities, and other health disparities that are going on, and opportunities
to take action. The other thing is Policy Link, for those
of you who know, it will be actually April 11th through the 13th, having their conference
on health equity and health disparities here in Chicago. We’ll be sending a delegation there as well. I think, it will provide a nice opportunity
also for additional discussion around some of these issues as well. Angela O. Young:
Yeah, I think just … Is this on? Put it right there. Thank you. To speak briefly about two. I know Dr. Winn did mention share, which I
think is an excellent initiative to look at structural violence, and to look at science,
the traditional research, but also be community-engaged. I think that’s really important from the standpoint
on the research end, but also on the student end. Several colleges including the Applied Health
Sciences has really focused on understanding how we can provide community experiences for
our students. I think the students are really important
because there’s going to come a time where we’re not here, and the students really have
to be the group the takes on. They’re that next generation of practitioners. We know that a lot of these conditions, even
though this is broad calls, that part of that intermediate risk, some of the intermediate
risk factors are related to diet and nutrition. We have a dietetics program where we train
practitioners to go directly out in the community. The goal is really to make sure that they’re
sensitive to the community needs. I think when we look at the health colleges,
specifically, a lot of the health colleges are focused on practitioner training to make
sure that they’re responsive. Dr. Amanda Lewis:
I must as well fall for that. Anybody can respond. In terms of thinking about training of the
next generation, how much … I mean, this, for me, is about this conversation. Somebody is between east and west campus because
we study racial disparities and how … Sorry, I get close to that mic. I’m wondering about how much the conversation
is about why race management health gets into the curriculum in the med school, in dietary
training, and in public health. How do we build a more robust conversation
those things, not just that it matters, but why it matters in terms of our training? Dr. Robert Winn:
My quick take on that is that one of the things I think we have an opportunity is to build
in, not just talking about social justice, but having social justice at every single
level. What I mean by that is, typically, we think
about big data. We think about big science, but that’s independent
of anything that has to do with social justice. The example I gave you with Northpoint is
really a social justice issue. I mean, the old saying that “If you’re not
at the table,” what? “You’re on the menu. ” The truth of the matter is we want to actually
have multiple voices at the table, and not just multiple voices of basic scientists talking
basic science things, but the real transdisciplinary integration, so that other voices are there
to, at least, make you aware, if not woke, but at least becoming aware of some things. I, actually, think that one of the things
that we should really be trying to figure out is on east or west campus, it doesn’t
matter whether you’re an undergraduate, whether you’re getting PhD, or junior faculty, that
ought to be this thing that we are unapologetic, that every single aspect from the molecular
level to the community level, there is an element of social justice that’s weaved in. That would be a suggestion. Dr. Wayne Giles:
I guess my one comment, I would say. It’s not just racism, ethnic or race. It’s racism matters. I think that’s really the manifestation of
all of this is around racism and realizing the different types of it. What’s happening institutionally, in terms
of institutionalized racism, but also in terms of internalized racism as well. Thinking about, too, what are the impacts
and people understanding that. Then, thinking about what are the strategies
that one can do to combat that, and call it out, and name it. Angela O. Young:
Yeah, I think the strategies are really important because when we look at even near us, and
if you think about a life course perspective, early childhood is key. The question is, what are we doing to really
strengthen systems? The knowledge is good, but the knowledge actually
has to get. As we generate solutions and partnerships
with the community, we want to make sure that people are supported to engage in those solutions. Also, we have to engage in research, but that
research becomes advocacy as well because if we come up with solutions that are not
economically feasible for people to implement within the community, then, the question asked
is, where are we? There has to be multiple levels of solutions
where community can be in leadership of those solutions. There should come a time when you talk about
community engage research that the community is in the lead, and we are in the background. The question is, how do we really move those
solutions forward? I think, having talked about before, we can’t
have a university. It shouldn’t be such a separation between
the community and the university because if we think about students from communities of
color, this place should be filled with students from these communities that we’re highlighting. When we talk about Englewood, when we talk
about Roseland, Pilsen, Little Village. When we talk about those communities, what’s
our pipeline with those schools to ensure that this is a place where students feel comfortable,
they feel welcome, and they’re able to gain access because, honestly, I grew up in South
Chicago. As I mentioned, now, I live between Roseland
and Chatham. The goal for me when I look at … It was
people from universities saying, “You could go to Champaign. You could go to Cornell.” It was a relationship with people that were
there with me that just had a really good understanding that these doors are open. It’s not only remote. It’s close-up relationships that we have to
have with people as well. Dr. Amanda Lewis:
We will now open it up to your questions from the audience. We have one already? Okay. All right. I’ll get my glasses up. How do you feel the implementation expansion
of community food systems and urban agricultural in underserved communities as a result through
some of the health disparities? Angela O. Young:
Of course, I would say yes. Yes. I don’t like the term food desert. I like food systems. I think food desert was interesting. Some of the advocates early on had an issue
with the term food desert. We have a food system that needs to be restored
globally. It just manifest dissolving in communities,
but I really believe that the food system at the community level is really important
because, what do people think about you when you can’t get your basic needs met? I think that says something to a child when
you can’t get your basic needs met. What does society think about you? Food is really at the basic. It starts in infancy. Really, when we think about food systems,
of course. I’m interested in food systems. I think it’s really an important component
about community restoration. Dr. Amanda Lewis:
Okay. We’ve got three big questions here. Okay, I’m going to start with this one. What does it mean for the impact of inequality
and health and wellness to be living under a regime that is openly white supremacist
and attacking access to health care and human services? Dr. Robert Winn:
Yeah. I think that that means we have to be even
more aware of ourselves. Interesting, one of the biggest challenges
of being on a diverse campus and a campus that’s about diversity is that, sometimes,
we get lax in our own implicit biases. What I mean by that is that it’s easy to look
at that other person, and say, “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” That means we need to double down in the context
of really being, I think, fairly open about what it is that we’re trying to do and what
we’re accomplishing. I, personally, think that in some ways, as
I alluded to, that I am not convinced that this may be just x number of years, and they
may blow over, and then we’ll just figure out that this was some nightmare. I am cautiously optimistic that, hopefully,
with the clouds and the storms that are happening now, we’re planting the seeds, so that once
the cloud storms break, we will have some growth. I still think that we should be committed
to that because the reality is, I think, if we are paralyzed by what we see on TV every
day, I think, that we’re just further behind. I’ve taken, as the Cubans would say, “Pa’
lante, pa’ lante.” Just keep moving, keep moving. I’ve taken this approach that that’s what
we’re going to do, and that’s what I what we’re about. It is an interesting time. Dr. Wayne Giles:
I think as I think about the advances that’s ever occurred, it’s because of policy. It’s because of policy at the local level
and, largely, policy at the Federal level. Now, that’s occurred. We are currently under an administration that
is very adamant about rolling back policy. I heard something last week at a meeting where
they said for every new policy, they need to dismantle seven policies. Dr. Robert Winn:
It is now. Dr. Wayne Giles:
I think it means we really need to be vigilant, and very clear, and very articulate about
the policies that we think are important, about why they’re important, and really need
to be pressing elected officials and others to make that happen. Where we have seen success, civil rights,
disability, and others, it’s because we have really, in many ways, particularly on the
Federal side, have really been adamant and in people’s face. I think that that is what we need to continue
to be persevering and push on that. Dr. Amanda Lewis:
Although I do want to interject to this, but there’s this national context, and then there’s
a local context. Dr. Wayne Giles:
Local, yeah. Dr. Amanda Lewis:
Especially given that we have several big elections coming up, I just want to open up
the floor in case anybody wants to talk a little bit about the state level politics- Dr. Robert Winn:
Matter. Dr. Amanda Lewis:
… particularly has had a huge impact on health- Dr. Robert Winn:
Matter. Dr. Amanda Lewis:
… service in the state. You want to … Dr. Robert Winn:
All that matters. Local politics matter. It matters from your older men, to the water
person. It all matters. Actually, the more of that not just here in
Chicago, the more of them everywhere, I’m starting to figure out that people are starting
to get woke again, if you will, about the fact that our activities are needed to be
engaged at the community level and support of the community level to actually assist
in raising voices to that. I mean, people do have so much focus on the
president, but they’re forgetting the governor matters for us. A strong governor, I’ve seen it. A strong governor, despite the president,
can actually do wonderful things with any state. From the governor to the state reps. I mean, really, I finally have gotten it altogether
now. In the history class, we used to talk about
the different divisions of things. We even got down to that and the councilmen,
but it matters in ways that it probably has always mattered. I’m not going to say it matters now more than
it ever. It’s always mattered whether we wanted to
know it or not. Now is the time really for us to get involved
in a very meaningful way with our communities. Angela O. Young:
I think that’s key. I’ll just mention that briefly because we
were at a high school late last week as a part of a community-based organization registering
youth to vote. Dr. Robert Winn:
Come on. Angela O. Young:
The number of youth that turned 18, where a youth can register right now at 17 for the
election in November, and many were not aware that they needed to get registered, or they
were just so busy with other things that they were not registered. I think that’s important on our college campuses
and our high schools to make sure the youth are registered to vote because they have a
voice, and to makes sure that youth understand how important the issues are. Dr. Wayne Giles:
I will say I was really pleased to see the email that came out last week about opportunities
for voting on the campus. I think that it shows great leadership on
the part of UI. That was really cool to be part of that. Dr. Amanda Lewis:
I’m going to start using a strategy of offering several questions at once. You can decide which one you want to respond
to. I want to try to get as many of these. This seems related. One is about the role of public policy, which
we started talking about a little bit, and how public policy can help really get at some
of these root causes? Then, related to this, somebody asked, without
a single pair system, how can we alleviate the disparities of medical workers in facilities
where doctors in affluent areas make more money than doctors in impoverished areas? Dr. Robert Winn:
Policy? Dr. Wayne Giles:
Okay. Dr. Amanda Lewis:
Yeah. Dr. Wayne Giles:
Sure. A couple of things that I will say around
policy. Actually, I’m going to try to touch on … Actually,
I’ll do the second one first. I mean, one of the key things to me is really
important is around access to care and having health insurance. One of the last publications that I did when
I was at CDC was an African American Vital Signs, which looked at differences in African
American health by age group. One of the things I found was that for people
over the age of 65, while in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, in early 2000, there were very large
disparities. In the 2000s, those disparities essentially
went away among people over 65. I think it’s not the case in younger people. I think one of the things you have to ask
yourself is, what happens when people turn 65 that can lead to that? One of the things folks get is folks get Medicare,
folks can get social security. There are a number of very important policies
that get implemented. That gives people access to care. We know that’s important. However, I also think it’s important that
we remember, in terms of health disparities, that even having access to care does not mean
that disparities go away. We need to do things within the health care
system. We need to activate patients, so that they
know the appropriate questions to ask, so that there aren’t barriers such as copays,
et cetera, that limit their utilization of healthcare. I think that’s important to remember. There is a “Yes, we need health insurance. Yes, we need coverage.” I’m very concerned about what potentially
is going to happen with the rollback of the Affordable Care Act. We need to remember that’s not the whole story. I think where you do see policies, also, is
thinking about also things like increasing the minimum age. Minimum wage can be really effective in terms
of helping to improve equity and making sure that those broad-based policies are enforced
equally across communities. Dr. Robert Winn:
I think the only thing that I would add is that, definitely, access to care. I’ve now created a little nuance with that
into access to quality care because in many of our communities where some of the topics
that we’re probably talking about, they also have a lack of resources to take care of their
patients. There is this push for really having access
to quality care that I’m absolutely driven by. I think Gwen and many of us, I mean, we’re
all on the same page. Angela O. Young:
I just want to add one small thing because it’s also access to food assistance. Those policies are critical at this time,
given the Farm Bill and looking at … I mean, there’s other things that have been shown
like our income tax credit to change household food stores … I mean, stores as household
food quality. I think, really paying some attention to food
assistance policy at this time is really important. Dr. Amanda Lewis:
Okay. Two questions here. We need to start thinking about how we can
make programs for health and jobs more accessible to the people who are less fortunate. How are we going to help those who suffer
from mental and physical ailments who don’t have a degree and need help? How are we going to better reach the people
who need the most help? Related to that, how would you compare Chicago’s
job of addressing racial and ethical inequities to other major cities in the US? Is there anything that we can learn from other
cities and vice versa? Dr. Winn, I thought this might be a nice opening
for you to talk about anything you learned from the Cuban delegation. Dr. Robert Winn:
Yeah. The well decided parties from around the United
States, there are some efforts that are actually happening in the Boston area. There’s some different areas scattered throughout
the United States, fairly small, usually focused. I think that the Cuban experience that I had
actually was a redefining moment for me because it really is going back to what, I wouldn’t
call it abnormally, but people like Dr. Murray and others had already thought about in the
’70s that you had to be connected to your community. The whole purpose of having community health
centers was that it was a connectedness, and a connected point, and an anchor for the community
to actually be involved in its own health. What I learned from the Cubans was interesting
enough, almost a look back at how you have lower resources. In some cases, better outcomes in low resource
areas wasn’t magic. It was just involvement. Involvement and engagement of the community
in their own health. Involvement and engagement of the system in
a real public health way, in which there was this partnership that actually existed. Believe it or not, people don’t want to talk
about data. When you give them a cab in Havana, you had
a taxi cab driver who can tell you about the interim mortality rate in different provinces. This conversation that, “Well, our people
are so …” No, they’re not so. No. Our people in every community, I think, will
surprise us about what they know, and actually put us to shame in how little we know about
those communities. What I have learned is that in an era of high
tech, I like to push this concept of high touch as well. That’s where I think that implementation of
science, and implementation of policies, and our ability to lead the country, and I don’t
say that. It’s not hubris. I’m not trying to say that to just be provocative. I really do think we have an opportunity here,
because we have the right type of people here to figure out in the 21st Century how do we
reengage, reconnect because that is actually going to be some of the secret sauce of improving
health in the 21st Century as well. Dr. Amanda Lewis:
Other thoughts about things we should learn about other cities? Dr. Wayne Giles:
I think, I’ll give an example. I used to be part of a program called REACH,
which stands for Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health. Chicago is one of the cities that was funded. It started under Dr. Satcher when he was Surgeon
General. One of the communities was the Bronx. They were initially very focused on delivery
of healthcare and doing a better of job of optimizing healthcare in their community,
and work with a number of federally-qualified health centers to do that. They realized soon that there was something
… The health centers realized there was something broader that they wanted to do. They were the ones that pushed the New York
City schools to provide much healthier food in the schools. Again, it was moving from a health system,
moving from just delivery of health care to thinking about what they could do in the broader
community. They’re now doing work around combating racism
in the community. Again, it was a nice example of how a health
system had evolved over time and really got out front in terms of the number of policies. Dr. Robert Winn:
I also was going to say that, I think, that we should be the leaders in thinking about
where the new jobs are, particularly for our communities. As big data gets bigger, we still are in this
concept of, “Well, we have a two-year agreement.” Well, okay, but data is going to be get more
complicated. It’s going to get bigger. We need more people. Shouldn’t we be on the leading edge of figuring
out how to develop that workforce? In some ways, I think, as a public institution,
we are well poised to be able to look at what’s about to happen. They used to say about Fidel Castro, he would
go into the future, and then come back. In some ways, I think that we have the opportunity
to look at the future, and come back, and start designing, again, as a public school,
as an elevator school. I’m not unapologetic for that. I think we have ways of actually looking at
the workforce, working with not only within community colleges and high schools, but start
developing what that workforce is going to look like to give other people opportunities
in those areas that we’re not thinking about now. That’s my hope and my dream that we will be
creating that and have a curriculum that actually look like that in the future of actually getting
out there and doing some amazing things. Angela O. Young:
Sit there now. Dr. Amanda Lewis:
All right. I think, Dr. Odom, I think this one might
be starting with you, at least. The topic of early childhood has been mentioned
as an important intervention point of view. How can UIC community come together around
early childhood, across colleges, housing, health, education? Angela O. Young:
I think, there has to just be an initiative that comes from the top. I think if you look at some of the … Like
Resilience is a film that has recently come out, similar to Unnatural Causes when you
look at the role of early childhood. Then, of course, the issue of trauma. I think those initiatives, if we could really
convene around some issue university-wide. I think the thing that happens with early
childhood, because we work both in the city, and we also work downstate. A lot of the focus of my work is WIC. Really, when you look at some of the issues
we’re having, it’s not just Chicago. It’s across our- Dr. Robert Winn:
State. Angela O. Young:
… entire state. Of course, our entire nation. If we look at the University of Illinois as
a system, there’s really some things that we could come together when you look at research
and training. Really, if you take the life course perspective,
we don’t address pregnancy in early childhood. Coming in, when somebody is an adult, or even
an adolescence is good, but we really have to look at that early life. It’s critical from both a psychosocial and
mental health standpoint because women in pregnancy, they face trauma. We know that it can impact not only your mental
health, but also epigenetics, how genes are turned on and off, issues … I mean, brain
development and architecture. I think that it is very, very important that
we, as a university, look at early childhood and what we can do together. Dr. Amanda Lewis:
Okay. This builds on a question you’re talking about
a minute ago. As a health science student that is not taught
a lot about race and racism, how do I advocate for the education or educate myself other
than attending talks like this? Male:
[Inaudible 01:10:07]. Dr. Wayne Giles:
Yes, I think so. Female:
[Inaudible 01:10:10]. Dr. Amanda Lewis:
Yeah. Dr. Wayne Giles:
I guess, there are a couple of things that I would suggest you would think about. One would be talking with your leadership
about your needs and what you want. I mean, I will tell you one of the things
that I’ve done that I’m relatively new is I have office hours every Thursday from 2:00
to 4:00. I would encourage folks to come and talk. Talk with deans. Talk with department chairs, et cetera, but
have a conversation about what you think you need in terms of your curriculum needs. I would say be persistent and be vocal about
that because I do think there’s some really cool opportunities that we can push forward. Dr. Robert Winn:
I think that the conversations happen more frequently here than any of other previous
universities I was affiliated with. I think being connected to that is actually
really important because the truth of the matter is it is a major issue. It’s a major issue in Chicago. It’s a major issue that if we’re not careful
with, actually, has impact to you on this campus. One of the things, I think, I’m actually happy
about as the student organizations are really active, which I really like and wish to get
even more active. Our faculty are receptive to those types of
conversation. I think that I’ve had more opportunities to
see on the east and west campuses of the addressing of those issues than I have in my entire career,
but we need more. Angela O. Young:
Yeah. I think even asking the question as something
like this is pushing the envelope as far as needs because a lot of times, I know we put
responsibility on students to push. I think they need to push. That is something that, I think, we need to
hear across the board as both faculty and administration because, generally, when you
look at faculty and some of the health colleges, the idea of diversity, the idea and moving
beyond, “I’m interested in racism.” Also, when we look at LGBTQIA, bringing those
issues of sexual minority, bringing the issue of disability, all of these things should
be at the forefront when we think about faculty and faculty training because some of it is
students have to push, but also the issues come in a classroom because faculty did train
and teach in those issues. I know some folks, if they have not been trained,
may not feel comfortable in bridging those issues. Honestly, from the experience of both as a
student and a faculty, sometimes when folks are not trained, you don’t want them bridging
those issues because they’re not going to bridge them with the level of sensitivity
that’s needed. I think from the standpoint of an institution,
we need to look at what kind of training is available to make sure that faculty bring
those issues into their classroom as a requirement. I’m a faculty member. Not that we want to force people to teach
certain things, but we have to make sure that because this is the wave of the future, and
we’re going to make sure our science is right and upfront, we need to make sure that faculty
have a good understanding of that, and that they get trained to do so. Dr. Robert Winn:
I’m going to, actually, make a plug also in addition to racial issue, which affects me
every day, to be honest with you. Sometimes big, sometimes small. I’m going to actually make a pitch also to
not lose sight of gender issues as well. I think that we’re in an era that as we look
and the hopes for my daughter in the context of her ability to have leadership in certain
areas, and being able to be able to thrive, and to think, and to be part of engineering,
and all these other things. Again, what was interesting about Northpoint,
that Northpoint incident had not one … It was all Caucasian men, the whole crew. Not even one engineering … What do you say? Women can’t be actually in computer. Forget all of that. I think it’s an end conversation. I’ve been teaching. I mean, I know I sound like Jessie Jackson
and the Rainbow Coalition, but that’s all right. I honestly believe that, conceptually, we
have to make sure that we talk about race and other things and have these end conversations
because I don’t want to take our eye off the issue around gender issues as well, which
I think are important. Again, we can lead the country, I think, in
behaviors and say, “Listen, were not braggadocios.” We’re not U of M. One thing I like about University
of Michigan, everything they do, they’re like, “See, Michigan. Number one, [inaudible 01:14:53].” Actually, I really like this place because
we’re doing great things. In fact, we’re doing innovative things. We’re not doing this running around, and taking
just credit for it, but we are the place where, I think, many of these issues are getting
hashed out. I would really like for us, again, as a public
institution, to think about race, think about gender, and all these other things because,
I think, there’s room and capacity for us to do that. Dr. Amanda Lewis:
Yes. I wanted to just also add to this last conversation
about thinking pedagogically what happens in our classrooms that I was very naïve … There
was a moment, actually, when I was teaching at Emery for a minute. Everybody there was pre-health as far as I
could tell. When I was teaching an Intro in Race, Class,
and Sociology, and it occurred to me in a moment when we were having a perfectly, developmentally,
appropriate conversation but one, which highlighted the fact that most of the students were operating
with all the rampant myth, racial mythologies that fill our society, but that would be dangerous
within any … Well, that are dangerous in many space, but particularly dangerous in
a patient room, when people are projecting those mythologies on people’s bodies and all
kinds of things. I realized that these are people who about
to go to med school or nursing school in all those places, and how much work we have to
do still on really directly confronting all of those kinds of things in our practice and
in our teaching. I don’t know enough about the curriculum across
the health colleges, but I do regularly hear from students who say, “We don’t ever get
to have this conversation. How can we have this conversation more?” I think there’s a real space in picking up
on your saying, for you, I see to take a bigger role in setting a new path. We’re thinking about this stuff regularly,
particularly in training of the health professions. I mean, I thought about it more in terms of
… and seen it more in conversations about training of teachers, but I think, a lot of
it is the same conversation. It’s, how do you get people to be in a position
where they capable, trained in, ready to have conversations about how to help everybody
thrive in this context? Okay. These are related, so I’ll post at once. Considering the conversations seems to occur
among like-minded individuals. What are your thoughts about how to engage
colleagues to participate rather than differ efforts to those few social justice advocates? How do we get everybody involve in this? Related, solving these issues involving health
disparities seems to require true interdisciplinary action. How do you think UIC, colleges, and institutes
can overcome be enshrined to traditional silos of academia, and how do we get more collaborations
going on across different buildings? Dr. Wayne Giles:
Around the seven health colleges, one of the things that is at rage right now is interprofessional
education. We’re going to have, I think, in a couple
of weeks or so, what we call IPE Day where we get students from all the different colleges
all coming together and stuff. I think the next one is going to be on opioids,
I think, if I’m not mistaken. We should think about the opportunity that
provides us to, in fact, have a very broad conversation about health disparities, and
how we could frame some of that, and really do address that. I think we can think of that across the colleges. I think that’s one thing. There might be other opportunities where east
and west can come together, and students could think about, and faculty together could think
about some brain trust where to think about potential strategies around addressing these
issues that create some cool conversations. Dr. Robert Winn:
I think, actually, the funny part about this is we are underway right now with what I’m
going to … I used to call it the grand experiment, but I just moved it to the big idea. The big idea is how do we move people who
are traditionally not actually so focused on these issues, and get them involved in
a conversation, and actually get them moving forward to the same thing. To do that, I think, you need, essentially,
in my mind, in this case, a big effort. The big effort is not just changing the campus’
minds around basic scientists, our clinical people, in the context around health disparities,
but actually … I say this with all the humility that I really mean this coming from, but we
are now making the big idea of how to change the country, so that conversations will get
start in this. What do I mean? All effort in trying to be an NCI-designated
cancer center, the first of its kind that is unapologetic about its focus on disparities,
which doesn’t always mean race but disparities. Certainly, we’re unapologetic about the racial
issues of life expectancy. To me, it’s not only a big idea but sitting
in that room, I have probably one of the proudest UI moments I’ve ever had, recognizing that
there is no one else who actually is saying it. When they say it, they say it cheaply, “It
would be great if we …” We just got rid of the great. We’re like, “This is what we’re doing.” It’s going to take the effort from the east
and west side campus to do this. I’m really proud. Again, I don’t say this lightly that we have
an opportunity. Now, what we do with that opportunity is on
us. We finally have an opportunity to change the
conversation because once that actually happens, and you say, “Well, this is an elite club
of NCI-designated cancer centers,” wait a minute, the one at UIC? To be at the table, to be the consistent voice,
to be unapologetic that, yes, we’re doing this, and, yes, we hopefully will be the role
model or the models for other to want to join, if not, at least, push people and push the
envelope is something about how to get others on board. I think that we’re finally trying to figure
out how to do that. I’m really happy. I think that I only use the NCI designation
as an example. There are probably many other things that
we could be doing across campus. East, west campus, different things to get
together to do exactly the same thing. That was one, just, concrete example of how
we think we’re going to change the needle on the conversation, so that 10 years from
now, it is not unusual, and people say, “Hey, that guy.” You know what, I walked in a room once, and
someone said, “Hey, who? Dr. Winn. Are you in the right meeting?” I said, “The Cancer Center Director meeting?” He’s like, “Yeah, yeah.” I was like, “Yeah.” It was surprising for him. He almost said, “I have never seen a black
director.” I said, “It’s okay.” I think that we are, again, slowly but surely,
by concrete efforts of communication and getting intra-colleges, intra-departments together
to, “Let’s do the big idea.” I think that we are doing it. We’ll keep you posted. Angela O. Young:
I have really two comments to that. I think one is history. We can’t really forget that these things happen
every so often that people think, “Okay, we need to come around something.” If you think about universities and the issues
that have emerged over periods of time, I think, it’s really important to think about
what has worked. We can’t just be starting with a blank slate. One of the things that I know traditionally
has worked is funding. Funding that bring scientists together across
different disciplines. I think the other thing is that at the top,
if there are some efforts, I think Amanda spoke to this, all it takes is planning. Do we have a task force of people to really
looked at the curriculum and figure out how do we have … Because the way we get credit,
and tenure, and these things sometime can be barriers. Why can’t we have a joint class that’s maybe
housed in IRRPP that’s taught against a health and a social science. When you think about the medical school curriculum,
or you think about the dental school curriculum, we’re very siloed in how we teach our curriculum
and what’s required for students. Part of that is really looking at the structure
and changing some of the structure of that. We need a task force, probably campus-wide,
to address that. Dr. Amanda Lewis:
Well, this might be a good last question then. As leaders of color and individuals who work
on these issues, what can leadership at UIC to continue to support you to do this work? We have about a minute left. Thoughts? Dr. Wayne Giles:
Well, I really like your comment about the incentives. I mean, I think that’s number one. I think number two, creating safe places for
us to have these conversations, to me, is important as well as we think about this. I do think also opportunities for faculty,
student, and staff to be engaged in the policy arena is really important. This will be the last thing that I will say. I will say that I am particularly excited
about what has been able to happen over the last couple of years around policy changes,
around tax reform where we had graduate students really mobilized to combat some of the detrimental
parts that were a part of the initial aspect of tax reform. That, to me, shows that when folks come together,
they can really have impact. I think the same can be true around racial
and ethnic health disparities because I do think us all, you, all of the young people
collectively mobilized can have a huge amount of impact. Angela O. Young:
I think that’s important too that we do our own policy analysis. Do we really have equity in all policies as
a university? A lot of times, we talk about health in our
nationally. People have pushed for this idea of equity
in all policies. When you look at institutional policy, we
can really be the leader, and that we probably already have places where we have equity in
policies. When you talk about student training or research,
the conversation is moving forward. I think that next step is really to look at
our policies because the thing that kills progress, generally, is … One thing is we’ve
always done it this way. Second is that we don’t have the resources. Generally, when you look at killing progress,
people say, “We don’t have the money to do that,” or they say, “We’ve always done things
this way.” I think the key is really looking at things
like policies for faculty, policies for student training, and make sure that we have that
equity conversation in those policies. Dr. Amanda Lewis:
Dr. Winn, what do you want to say? Dr. Robert Winn:
On the efforts of everybody, I’m going to say that was well said. I have nothing to say. Dr. Amanda Lewis:
Yes. Thank you everybody for joining us here today. I will say I very much appreciate the sentiment
of unapologetically embracing our values and being proud of what UIC is and can do. I appreciate that. Thanks very much. Dr. Wayne Giles:
Thank you. Angela O. Young:
Thank you. Female:
[inaudible 01:26:43]. Angela O. Young:
Yeah, we’ll take it.

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