Newsroom - April

'This report is unflinching': Harvard University confronts its ties to slavery, April 27, 2022
For nearly 400 years, Harvard's most famous motto has been a single word, Veritas, or truth. In the spirit of that slogan, university officials said, Harvard on Tuesday published the first full accounting of the institution's historical ties to slavery. In a sweeping report, the university also acknowledged its complicity in 19th-century "race science" and 20th-century racial discrimination, and announced the creation of a $100 million fund to address the legacies of slavery, including inequalities in educational outcomes, that persist to this day. "Harvard benefited from and in some ways perpetuated practices that were profoundly immoral," Harvard president Lawrence Bacow wrote in a letter to the university community about the report. Read more »

When it comes to removing mask mandates, who should decide the law, or public health?, April 22, 2022
This week, a federal judge struck down the CDC's authority to mandate masks on public transportation, a move that many health officials oppose. Experts on Greater Boston told Jim Braude that decisions like those shouldn't be left up to the legal system."I think it's disappointing that a judge was actually the decision maker. I think even if the mandate is coming to an end, it seems like a sorry end to kind of the authority of the CDC in our public health arena," said Dr. Louise Ivers, executive director of MGH Center for Global Health. Read more »

Mass. in a 'precarious position' due to disparities in COVID-19 vaccination coverage, study finds, April 14, 2022
As vaccinations were rolled out across the country last year to combat COVID-19, public health experts raised concerns about low uptake in communities of color, based on historic distrust with the health care system. But a new study of vaccination data in Massachusetts has found that educational level is a much stronger predictor than race, and could find no evidence that vaccine hesitancy played a role in people's decisions. "Although 'vaccine hesitancy' dominates media coverage, in fact, language barriers, lack of regular health providers, absence of paid time off to get vaccinated and recover, and lack of trust in the health system all play a role in undermining vaccine coverage," noted the team of researchers from Boston University's School of Public Health and the city's Public Health Commission. Read more »

Study shows disconnect between COVID racial disparities and empathy, and the unionization effort for state Senate staffers, April 7, 2022
We know that COVID-19 disproportionately impacts people and communities of color, and people with lower incomes. However, research published in the journal, "Social Science and Medicine," finds that when white Americans learn of those disparities, they become less empathetic, feel less fear about the virus, and are less likely to support safety measures. To better understand this, we speak with the two people we've talked to the most about racial disparities in COVID and health care over the last couple of years: Dr. Joseph Betancourt, senior vice president for equity and community health at Massachusetts General Hospital; and Michael Curry, CEO of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, and a member of the NAACP's board of directors. Read more »

Michael Curry on BPR, April 4, 2022
Michael Curry offered thoughts on the confirmation hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson ahead of a final Senate vote this week. He also talked about lingering disparities in the impact of COVID-19 for BIPOC Bostonians. Read more »