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Open lecture | Racism and child health and wellbeing

Please join us for this Open Lecture, being held as part of the 2017 Public Health Summer School FREE evening lecture series.

Leading international expert Dr Naomi Priest from Australian National University, will talk about research on racism and child health and wellbeing, and developing strategies to combat racism. This will be followed by an expert commentary provided by internationally renowned indigenous health expert Dr Keri Lawson-Te Aho.


It is well recognised that childhood adversity, such as poverty, neglect and abuse, predicts poor health throughout life, with associations between social adversity and negative physical and mental health outcomes documented from early childhood. Racism and racial discrimination are important, yet often under-acknowledged forms of childhood adversity experienced by children and their families which can influence health outcomes via elevated stress for individuals, households, and communities, and/or material disadvantages that follow from unfair experiences and systems. Naomi will discuss current international research on racism and child health including recent work examining how racism ‘gets under the skin’ and becomes biologically embedded to influence lifelong health, and explore evidence for strategies to combat racism and its harmful effects on children.

Speaker | Dr Naomi Priest

Naomi received her PhD in population health at the University of Melbourne and then completed a NHMRC post-doctoral fellowship with training in social epidemiology. She was leader of the VicHealth funded Anti-Racism and Diversity program at the University of Melbourne from 2012-2015, and also a Senior Research Fellow in the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation from 2014-15. In 2014-15 she was a Visiting Scientist at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Her broad research interest is to integrate social and epidemiologic methods to examine and address inequalities in health and development across populations and place. This includes research to understand differences in health and development experienced by children and youth from Indigenous backgrounds and from ethnic minorities. She is also interested in socialisation processes among children from stigmatised and non-stigmatised groups, including development of racial/ethnic attitudes, bias, stereotypes and prejudice.

Expert Commentary: Dr Keri Lawson-Te Aho

Keri is a lecturer and researcher in Māori Public Health at the University of Otago, Wellington. She has a PhD in Psychology from the Faculty of Science at Victoria University of Wellington. Keri has a background of 30 years in Hauora Māori and was a recipient of the inaugural Dr John McLeod Memorial Scholarship for outstanding contributions to Māori public health. Her political and research interests include indigenous rights, self-determination and population based health and mental health. Keri is a former Fulbright Scholar and was a Research Fellow with the East West Center in Hawai’i. She is a member of the International Taskforce of Indigenous Psychologists; Society of American Indian Psychologists and International Human Dignity network, a twice nominated Nobel Peace Prize group of social justice activists dedicated to the prevention of human suffering and the promotion of global peace.

Nibbles and (non-alcoholic) drinks will be provided in the foyer following the lecture.

To view details of all four public lectures view Evening lecture series or view the flyer

To view more information on the Summer School courses view Public Health Summer School. There's still time to register!

Date Tuesday, 21 February 2017
Time 5:15pm - 6:15pm
Audience Public
Event Category Health Sciences
Event Type Public Lecture
DepartmentPublic Health
LocationUniversity of Otago, Wellington | 23a Mein Street, Newtown | Level D

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