Task Force Events

The Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence Task Force will hold a series of Town Halls to share information with and seek feedback from the Mason Community. We'll also let you know about related events by others at Mason.

March 15, noon: To Race the World: John Henryism and the Health of Black Americans

Sherman James, Susan B. King Professor Emeritus of Public Policy at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, will discuss the historical and scientific origins of the John Henryism hypothesis. Many people know the legend of John Henry, the steel-driving Black man challenged by his White supervisor to race against a machine, who won the contest but died of exhaustion. That legend gave rise to the concept of John Henryism defined as “repeated, high-effort coping with difficult social and economic stressors,” and by extension to the John Henryism hypothesis which posits that, over time, such high-effort coping accelerates aging of the cardiovascular system, one key manifestation of which among Black Americans is the earlier onset, compared with White Americans, of high blood pressure. James will critically review findings from major tests of the hypothesis, comment on future research needs, and share some thoughts on how John Henryism research can inform social and economic policies that include promoting racial health equity among the objectives. 

 April 7, noon: My Journey to Discover Why Disparities Exist ... and What to Do About Them 

Thomas LaVeist, Dean and Weatherhead Presidential Chair in Health Equity at the Tulane University School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine, seeks to develop an orienting framework in the development of policy and interventions to address race disparities in health-related outcomes. His research and writing focuses on three broad thematic research questions: 1) What are the social and behavioral factors that predict the timing of various related health outcomes (e.g. access and utilization of health services, mortality, entrance into nursing home?); 2) What are the social and behavioral factors that explain race differences in health outcomes?; and 3) What has been the impact of social policy on the health and quality of life of African Americans? His work includes both qualitative and quantitative analysis.

April 15, noon: Moving Beyond Efficacy and Effectiveness: Pragmatic Implementation Research to Reduce Health Disparities

Roshan Bastani, is a professor in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and Director of the UCLA Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Equity and the UCLA Center for Prevention Research. In the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, she is Director for Disparities and Community Engagement and Associate Director for Cancer Prevention and Control. Her leadership roles also include an 11-year term as Associate Dean for Research in the School of Public Health. She is a social and health psychologist whose main research interests are in disease prevention and control among disadvantaged groups, with a focus on implementing and rigorously testing individual, community, organization and system-directed interventions to improve access and reduce disparities. She has led a large number of studies targeting low income, ethnic minority and immigrant populations, and has had continuous research funding from the National Institutes of Health since 1988. She has established strong ties with an extensive network of community organizations that serve as partners in her collaborative community research.

March 4, 2 p.m.: Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence Task Force hosts second town hall for community input

George Mason University will host the second of two town halls to share the recommendations from the Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence Task Force.