Racial disparities continue to exert a harmful influence on the health of non-whites in the United States, affecting such measures as obesity rates, infant mortality, and access to health care. Now, a new collaborative effort launched by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine, and Brown University, is aiming to mobilize the next generation of leaders to take on health inequalities as a matter of social justice.
The Social Equity Leadership Mobilization Alliance (SELMA) has two components aimed at graduate students in public health, policy, and medicine: an annual leadership summit and a summer fellowship program. Students must be nominated by their schools to participate in the intensive two-day summit, which takes place in Atlanta at the CDC and The King Center. The event brings students up to speed on the latest research on health disparities and engages students in problem-solving to identify strategies for addressing them. The first summit took place this past spring. HSPH students Zinzi Bailey, SD ’14, Cyndie Hatcher, MPH ’13, Pamela Hung MS2 ’14, and Uchenna Okoye, MPH ’13, attended.