Fundamentals of Race and Racism

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VCU Health Sciences and the VCU Health System, like most medical institutions, have engaged in and benefited from slavery, segregation, and racism. Join panelists Dr. Meera Pahuja (VCU Health), Melanie Rouse (Virginia Department of Health), Rev. Benjamin Campbell (St. Paul's Episcopal), Theresa Riley-Teekah (African-American Breast Cancer Support Group), and Sheryl Garland (VCU Health) as they share their stories and experiences, reflecting on how race and racism have been foundational to the institution of medicine and how structural racism impacts health and health care. The panel is moderated by Jason Callahan (VCU) and is part of the 2021-22 History and Health: Racial Equity series that is co-sponsored by the Humanities Research Center. Following the panel, stay on for a facilitated discussion. Learn more about the panelists and moderator by visiting the Humanities Research Center website.

Interested in learning more about how race and racism have been foundational to medicine as an institution and the U.S. health system? Check out the companion learning module: Fundamentals of Race and Racism

VCU Health team members kneel in support of Black Lives Matter to stand against racism.

Jason Callahan, MDiv, MS, BCC is the chaplain for the Thomas Palliative Care Unit at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Massey Cancer Center and also serves as an instructor for the Departments of Patient Counseling and Pastoral Care at VCU.

Headshot of Jason Callahan

The Rev. Benjamin P. Campbell is an Episcopal priest, Pastor Emeritus of Richmond Hill, and a Pastoral Associate at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. He is author of Richmond’s Unhealed History, a book on the history of Richmond since before the European settlement. 

Headshot of Rev. Benjamin P. Campbell

Sheryl Garland, MHA, FACHE, is the Chief of Health Impact at VCU Health System and is the Executive Director, VCU Office of Health Equity. Sheryl is responsible for building programs and partnerships to improve the health of populations and communities served by VCU and VCU Health System.  

Headshot of Sheryl Garland

Meera Pahuja, MD, became passionate about social justice and palliative care working in South Africa with patients living with HIV and extremely drug resistant TB during her infectious disease training. At VCU, she is course director of the Patient, Physician, & Society longitudinal course for all first and second-year medical students. 

Headshot of Meera

Melanie Rouse, PhD, has been with the Virginia Department of Health since September 2015. She began her career at VDH as the Maternal Mortality Projects Coordinator. She currently serves as the Virginia Maternal Mortality Projects Manager in the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. 

Headshot of Melanie Rouse

Theresa R. Teekah is a former registered nurse, CIS coordinator at the Massey Cancer Center,  and public health worker. She is the Founder and Lead of the African-American Breast Cancer Support Group, which she started in 1993 while employed at the Massey Cancer Center. Although retired, she continues to work with the group through Zoom.