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Second Roadmap Stop

“Geography is Destiny!” featuring the documentary, The Hill

Date: January 28, 2021

Hosts: Drs. Gerald Friedland, Jaimie Meyer, and Michel Virata

Speakers: Lisa Molomot, Drs. Frank Snowden, and Dayna Keene

In this second stop on the roadmap, we considered the historical and current relationship between geography and racism, as it relates to health inequities in risk and outcomes in New Haven and beyond. The conversation centered on a documentary film, “The Hill”, conceived and directed by Lisa Molomot. The Hill chronicles the demolition of a predominantly Black and Latinx neighborhood in New Haven. It premiered on the PBS series America Reframed and won best documentary at Greenpoint Film Festival and Honorable Mention for the Paul Robeson Award. In addition to Ms. Molomot, our panelists included Yale faculty Drs. Danya Keene, Associate Professor Public Health, and Frank Snowden, the Andrew Downey Orrick Emeritus Professor of History.

Structural racism and racial residential segregation are associated with stark differences in neighborhood resource distribution, concentrated disadvantages and health. Where people live not only impacts their exposure to health promoting resources and opportunities but also exposure to health damaging threats. Geography, where people live, is destiny!

Racial residential segregation and consequences of displacement have been linked to lowered life expectancy, worse health outcomes and an array of infectious diseases including HIV, tuberculosis, COVID-19. Fracture and displacement creates unique health and social vulnerabilities and impacts access to care

These obstacles are not recent in origin but are rooted in historical policies and practices. It is important that we know and understand the origin of these circumstances and dangers as well as their continuing presence-and extend this knowledge into clinical practice and research.

We explored historical events and forces rooted in racism that have continued to the present time and as illustrated in the “The Hill” to adversely affect the lives and health of people in our communities.