“Scientists, like all others, should be guided by ethical and human rights values. The first decade of the 21st century has ended with little if any evidence of progress toward eliminating health disparities by race or socioeconomic status. It is time to be explicit that the heart of a commitment to addressing health disparities is a commitment to achieving a more just society.” – Paula Braveman
“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Leah Zallman Center’s primary research focus is immigrant health and well-being. Here we outline a few of our core beliefs, offer definitions for key terms, and explain briefly how and why our research is designed to further immigrant, economic, and health justice.
We believe that all people are equal and have a right to optimal health. However, we recognize that in the United States, a person’s race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, citizenship status, religion, ability status, socio-economic status, and more directly affect their health. This is largely due to the fact that our health and social systems were not designed with equity in mind. Additionally, we acknowledge that past and present federal, state, local, and institutional policies and artificial constructs of borders have separated people in our communities, making immigrants feel unwelcome. These destructive policies are rooted in settler colonialism and anti-Black racism and perpetuate many of today’s health inequities.
We believe that part of building new equitable systems involves acknowledging past and present harm, bringing people together in ways that challenge longstanding power dynamics, and elevating knowledge from within immigrant communities. At the Leah Zallman Center, we study and evaluate programs, interventions, policies, narratives, and actions designed to advance immigrant well-being. By design and if successful, our research and our partners’ work will advance equity in health and other systems where people live, learn, work, and play. See our research agenda and projects here.
“Health equity means that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible. This requires removing obstacles to health such as poverty, discrimination, and their consequences, including powerlessness and lack of access to good jobs with fair pay, quality education and housing, safe environments, and health care.”
– Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Health in Social Justice
“Any conception of social justice that accepts the need for a fair distribution as well as efficient formation of human capabilities cannot ignore the role of health in human life and the opportunities that persons, respectively, have to achieve good health–free from escapable illness, avoidable afflictions and premature mortality.”
– Amartya Sen