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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.

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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.

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.

From the cholera epidemics to COVID, racialization of disease is an old trend

In his recent piece on the UC Press blog, Berkeley Center for Social Medicine co-chair Charles Briggs draws on his 2004 book Stories in the Time of Cholera, "I am struck by parallels to the current pandemic—particularly policies leading to increased rates of African American, Native American, and Latinx hospitalization and death. ... COVID-19 is not 'unprecedented' as we are constantly told:  underlying structural factors and policy decisions predictably enable the virus to strike racialized minorities the hardest."


BCSM faculty affiliate Coco Auerswald...

Berkeley Center for Social Medicine faculty affiliate Coco Auerswald is the lead author of a report entitled On the COVID-19 Front Line and Hurting, which presents data on the needs of providers for youth experiencing homelessness. The report also discusses the needs of the youth and provides recommendations to better serve youth and support providers.


How the History of Polio Can Help Find a Coronavirus Vaccine

In "Remembering the history of polio can help in finding a coronavirus vaccine," Elena Conis details how the quick development of the polio vaccine should serve as a warning and a lesson to the development of the COVID-19 vaccine. Conis, Berkeley Center of Social Medicine faculty affiliate, asserts, "If one [coronavirus vaccine] does prove safe and effective, we will face the same challenges we faced then — of making enough to protect the population, without causing harm, and distributing it without exacerbating existing inequities in our society."

Retooling Anthropology to Face COVID-19: New Article by Charles Briggs

Berkeley Center for Social Medicine co-chair Charles L. Briggs has a new article in the journal Medical Anthropology. In his essay, “Beyond the Linguistic/Medical Anthropology Divide: Retooling Anthropology to Face COVID-19,” he argues that "the chasm that generally separates medical and linguistic anthropology ... constitutes one of the most acute infrastructural shortcomings that limits the value of anthropology for responding not just to COVID-19 or health 'crises' in general but investigating and analyzing complex contemporary naturalcultural worlds."

Structural Competency Working Group Position Statement

The Structural Competency Working Group, a project of Berkeley Center for Social Medicine, issued a position statement on racism, police violence, and health equity. The statement calls for the end of police brutality and health inequity and provides specific actions divided into intrapersonal/interpersonal, institutional/community, and policy/research categories.


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