Coughing and Scoffing: Inequities in the Time of COVID-19

History and Health; Racial Equity will host a virtual panel that explores how the COVID-19 pandemic reflects and exacerbates longstanding structural, systematic racial inequities that determine individual and communities’ health and access to healthcare. Join moderator Chris Cynn, associate professor, Department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, as she leads a conversation with panelists Melissa Viray, Director, Richmond and Henrico Health Districts, John Powers, chair, Department of History, Regina Boone, photojournalist, Richmond Free Press, and Luise "Cheezi" Farmer, chair of Diversity Richmond. Following the panel, stay on for a facilitated discussion. This virtual event, co-sponsored by the Humanities Research Center and the Office of Health Equity, is free and open to the community, but space is limited. 

This event is presented as part of the History and Health: Racial Equity Speaker Series. The VCU Humanities Research Center co-sponsors this event with the VCU Office of Health Equity. 

Recording of the event is here.

See panelist information below:

Regina H. Boone is an award-winning photojournalist who has spent more than twenty years documenting human resiliency in her hometown of Richmond, Virginia, for her family’s newspaper, the Richmond Free Press, and before that in Detroit where she worked for nearly 14 years at the Detroit Free Press. In 2017, TIME used a portrait of hers as its cover image documenting the Flint water crisis.

Headshot of Regina Boone

Luise “Cheezi” Farmer, a retired UPS employee and owner and master barber of RVA Clippers, is board chair of Diversity Richmond.

Headshot of Luise “Cheezi” Farmer

Moderator: Chris Cynn, Ph.D, is an associate professor in the Department for Gender, Sexuality and Women’s studies. Her research centers on epidemics as they make visible and exacerbate social, political, and economic conflicts.

Headshot of Chris Cynn, Ph.D

John Powers, Ph.D., is an associate professor and chair of the Department of History. His research focuses on the history of chemistry and alchemy in the 17th and 18th centuries, natural philosophy and medicine in early modern universities, and the development of empirical, experimental and pedagogical methods in science. 

Headshot of John Powers, Ph.D

Melissa Viray, MD, is the Acting Director for the Richmond and Henrico Health Districts. She is a Board Certified Infectious Diseases and Internal Medicine Physician. She has been closely involved with the COVID-19 response in Richmond City and Henrico County Health Districts, both for containment efforts and for vaccination.

Headshot of Melissa Viray, MD