Racism is a Public Health Crisis: Now That We See, What Do We Do?

Racism is a Public Health Crisis: Now That We See, What Do We Do?

Camara Phyllis Jones, MD, PhD, MPH

2020 Bray Health Leadership Lecture

Camara Phyllis Jones, MD, PhD, MPH is a family physician and epidemiologist whose work focuses on naming, measuring and addressing the impacts of racism on the health and well-being of the nation.

She is a past president of the American Public Health Association and was the 2019-2020 Evelyn Green Davis Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. She has taught at the Harvard School of Public Health, Morehouse School of Medicine, and Rollins School of Public Health and served as a medical officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Her allegories on "race" and racism illuminate topics that are otherwise difficult for many Americans to understand or discuss. Recognizing that racism saps the strength of the whole society through the waste of human resources, she aims to mobilize and engage all Americans in a National Campaign Against Racism.

Read more about Camara's presentation on Synergies.

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  • “If you ever get the opportunity to hear/see Dr. Camara Jones in person, I highly recommend it.”
  • “Spectacular clarity and teaching. A wonderful way of thinking of complex problems to enhance our understanding of bias and racism.”
  • “I could listen to her for days!”


  • Senior fellow at the Satcher Health Leadership Institute and Cardiovascular Research Institute
  • Adjunct associate professor, community health and preventive medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine
  • Past president, American Public Health Association, 2015-16
  • 2019-20 Radcliffe Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
  • Chapter author, “Racism: Science and tools for the public health professional,” APHA


  • Doctor of Philosophy in Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health
  • Master of Public Health, Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health
  • Doctor of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine
  • Bachelor of Arts in Molecular Biology, Wellesley College


  • Wellesley Alumnae Achievement Award, the college’s highest alumnae honor, 2018
  • John Snow Award, for distinguished service to the health of the public through outstanding contributions to epidemiology, APHA, 2011
  • Chanchlani Global Health Research Award, McMaster University, 2019
  • Dr. Jones has received numerous additional awards and so far has delivered seven commencement addresses

About the Bray Health Leadership Lecture

The Tammy Bray Endowment in Health Leadership and Innovation was established by Tammy Bray, founding dean of the college, and her husband, John, with much appreciated contributions from alumni and supporters. The fund, sparking the Bray Health Leadership Lecture, is intended to bring to campus high-profile health leaders to inspire students, faculty and the community.

The first lecture featured Vivek H. Murthy, MD, the nation’s 19th Surgeon General. Dr. Murthy discussed mental health and the role of community. The lecture was held in Portland, Ore., in 2018.