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Channing View of Anna Head Building

The Future of BCSM is Uncertain; Save ISSI

Due to budget cuts and the dilapidated condition of our building, the Vice Chancellor for Research Office has decided to close ISSI, the parent institute of BCSM.  ISSI and BCSM affiliates are fighting the closure and have developed this website to showcase the value of the Institute and the widespread support for it. Please help save ISSI:

  • Sign the petition on the website (there's a form to do so).
  • Amplify the message on social media. There's a pinned tweet on the ISSI Twitter page which you can like, share, retweet. And likewise on Facebook. If you prefer to put it in your own words, that's much appreciated too! Please use the hashtag #SaveISSI

The Chronicle of Higher Education published a story about the closure and the fight to save ISSI.

Structural Racism and Maternal Morbidity

In a new article published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Berkeley Center for Social Medicine faculty affiliate Mahasin Mujahid highlights the critical need for more research on the potential role of structural racism in shaping access to high-quality hospitals. The key finding is that racially and ethnically minoritized women have higher rates of severe maternal morbidity as well as differential access to high-quality hospitals.

Antiracism in Medicine

Berkeley Center of Social Medicine faculty affiliate Kelly Knight is a co-author of "Beyond a Moment - Reckoning with Our History and Embracing Antiracism in Medicine," published in The New England Journal of Medicine. "More broadly, we [the authors] believe a new understanding and embrace of diversity are needed...diversity that goes beyond representation to empowerment..." in medicine and public health in order to prevent past consequences of ignorance.

Structural Competency in Conflict Zones

In the Policy, Politics, and Nursing Practice article "Structural Competency in Conflict Zones: Challenging Depoliticization in Israel," former ISSI Visiting Scholar Zvika Orr discusses the implementation of structural competency training programs for nurses in conflict zones. Based in part on his participation in Berkeley Center for Social Medicine's Structural Competency Working Group, Orr suggests adapting structural competency training programs to the political context in question in order to help nurses become agents of social change.

Structural Competency Training for Nurses

In this article in the Journal of Nursing Education, former Berkeley Center of Social Medicine Visiting Scholar Zvika Orr discusses the training for nurses he developed after being part of the Structural Competency Working Group during his stay at ISSI. The TOLERance model helps increases the understanding of the interrelation between the individual clinical level and the sociopolitical structural level.

Black Lives Matter logo

Black Lives Matter

BCSM stands in solidarity with those protesting anti-Black violence and working to promote racial justice in policing, health care, and all spheres of society. There are many relevant resources on our website on the interactions of racism and health. BCSM faculty affiliate Denise Herd is quoted in this Berkeley News article about her work on police violence,a largely unexamined factor in high rates of Covid-19 among African Americans. Herd's forthcoming article in Boston University Law Review discusses the trauma and stress caused by police violence in African American communities and the physical toll of that violence.

BCSM Responses to Covid19

We are maintaining  a page on the Berkeley Center for Social Medicine site  to collect the work of our affiliates in response to Covid19 for social medicine perspectives on the pandemic. We also acknowledge and appreciate that many in our community are advocating for those who are hit hardest by the pandemic, and some in our community are in that group. We grieve with those who are mourning, and our thoughts are with those who are sick or on the frontlines, whether in grocery stores or hospitals.

I Can't Breathe

In the Sierra article, "I Can't Breathe," Berkeley Center of Social Medicine faculty affiliate Rachel Morello-Frosch provides insight on the similarities between air pollution and police violence through systemic racism.

Racial Disparities, Economic Hardships, and COVID-19: A Radio Story

Berkeley Center of Social Medicine faculty affiliate, Denise Herd, helps to explain the rapid increase of COVID-19 case numbers seen in the Latinx and African American communities. Herd notes, "The issue is there have been just huge gaps in health that have disproportionately affected ethnic minorities, so the fact that COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting people of color and disadvantaged populations, it’s not news to folks that have been looking at these disparities for many years."

Mahasin Mujahid on the Struggle for Testing

Berkeley Center of Social Medicine faculty Mahasin Mujahid, Associate Professor of Epidemiology, was quoted in "Latino, Black neighborhoods struggle with test disparities," an AP article discussing the difficulty of getting a COVID-19 test in low-income communities of color. “It’s the perfect storm as this hits unlevel playing fields all across the U.S.,” she observes.


Berkeley Center for Social Medicine
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University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-5670
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