In the midst of the societal upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic came the killing of George Floyd and calls for an end to systemic racism, including in policing practices. Law enforcement has a responsibility to protect the human rights to life, speech, and assembly. While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause illness and death, structural racism and police brutality in the United States have led to a public health crisis.
PHR hosted a conversation on policing and public health, focusing on the impact of harmful law enforcement practices in the age of COVID-19. Our moderator was Mary Bassett, MD, MPH, director of the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University, FXB Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health, and former commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
● Rhea Boyd, MD, MPH is a pediatrician and public health advocate who serves as the chief medical officer of San Diego 211, and as the director of equity and justice for The California Children’s Trust.
● Marc Krupanski, MA, is a senior program officer for the Open Society Foundations’ Public Health Program.
● Teressa Raiford is the founder of Don’t Shoot Portland, a Black-led and community driven nonprofit in Portland, Oregon, that advocates for accountability to create social change in the spaces of racial justice and law enforcement accountability.