The Park Scholarships Class of 2024 hosted the Gerald H. Elkan Distinguished Lecture in Science and Society on Monday, Nov. 7, 2022. Professor Dorothy Roberts, an American sociologist and law professor, presented the lecture on Ending the Legacy of Racism in Medicine.
“Bottom line, a more equal and just society would be a healthier one for everyone,” said Professor Roberts in her lecture. “I think we have so much evidence now, it’s just the willingness to do it. To end race based medicine. By that I mean ending medicine that’s practiced based on the myth that human beings are naturally divided by biological races. And instead practicing medicine based on the reality that we have structural inequities in America that need to be ended in order to not only end health inequities, but improve the health of everybody in our society.”
Sam Dotson, Chair of the Distinguished Speakers Committee for the Class of 2024, said that she immediately knew that she wanted to ask Professor Roberts to give the Elkan Lecture after watching her TEDTalk.
“Paige Seibert ’24 (a member of the Distinguished Speakers Committee) showed me Professor Roberts’ TEDTalk and I knew she was the perfect fit for the Elkan Lecture,” said Dotson. “I had the pleasure of spending a lot of time with her, discussing her work as well as her favorite ice cream flavors (it’s chocolate, cappuccino and peanut butter if you were wondering). She is strong, smart and pushes others to think deeply about the root causes of racial inequity. Professor Roberts left a lasting impression on every student that she engaged with here at NC State.”
Professor Roberts is an internationally recognized scholar, public intellectual, and social justice advocate. She has a B.A. from Yale University, a J.D. from Harvard University and an honorary J.D. from Rutgers University-Newark. Professor Roberts currently holds joint appointments at the University of Pennsylvania as the 14th Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor and George A. Weiss University Professor of Law & Sociology, and as the inaugural Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights. Her TEDMED talk, “The Problem with Race-Based Medicine” has garnered over one million views.
Professor Roberts has authored an array of publications, including, Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty (Pantheon, 1997/Vintage, 2017), Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare (Basic Books, 2001), and Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-First Century (The New Press, 2011), as well as co-editor of six books. She has also published more than 100 articles and essays in books and scholarly journals, including the 2019 Foreword to Harvard Law Review’s Supreme Court issue, “Abolition Constitutionalism.”
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