Pell Center

The Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salve Regina is a multidisciplinary research center focused at the intersection of politics, policies and ideas.

Examining Health Outcomes Among Black Americans with Linda Villarosa

Air Dates: September 5-11, 2022

People come from all over the world to access cutting-edge care in American hospitals.  But Linda Villarosa describes a different experience for Black Americans, who she says “live sicker, and die quicker” than their white compatriots.

Villarosa is a journalist, author, editor, novelist and educator.  A contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine, where she covers race, inequality and health.  Her 2018 cover story, “Why America’s Black Mothers and Babies Are in a Life-or-Death Crisis,” was a finalist for a National Magazine Award. She has covered the toll Covid-19 has taken on black communities in America and the environmental justice movement in Philadelphia in 2020 and wrote about life expectancy in Chicago in 2021.  Villarosa previously edited the health pages for the New York Times, working on health coverage for Science Times and for the newspaper at large.  She was also a two-time executive editor of Essence Magazine where she wrote or edited a number of award-winning articles.  She is the author or co-author of three books, including “Body & Soul: The Black Women’s Guide to Physical Health and Emotional Well-Being,” her first novel, “Passing for Black,” which was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award, and “Under the Skin: The Hidden Toll of Racism on American Lives and on the Health of Our Nation,” which was published in June 2022.  Villarosa was a journalism fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and is an associate professor and journalist in residence at CUNY’s Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism.  She also teaches reporting, writing and Black Studies at The City College of New York in Harlem.

On this episode of “Story in the Public Square,” Villarosa discusses her book, “Under the Skin,” and the impact of racism on the health of America and Americans and black Americans in particular.  She says, “I think that really opened my eyes to a different way of thinking that it wasn’t just this sort of individual responsibility-blame, but it was about looking at structural and institutional barriers to good health.”

“Story in the Public Square” broadcasts each week on public television stations across the United States. A full listing of the national television distribution is available at this link. In Rhode Island and southeastern New England, the show is broadcast on Rhode Island PBS on Sundays at 11 a.m. and is rebroadcast Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. An audio version of the program airs Saturdays at 8:30 a.m., 5:30 p.m. ET, and Sundays at 2:30 a.m. & 2:30 p.m. ET on SiriusXM’s popular P.O.T.U.S. (Politics of the United States), channel 124. “Story in the Public Square” is a partnership between the Pell Center and The Providence Journal. The initiative aims to study, celebrate and tell stories that matter.

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