Before California’s statewide lockdown, Kader’s day job was as a children’s motivational speaker, traveling to elementary schools across California to speak about the importance of self-esteem and an active lifestyle. Following the ongoing shutdown of most California schools since March 18, Kader’s in-person assemblies are no longer possible.
Nancy Krieger is a professor of social epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Krieger is known for her theory of ecosocial disease distribution, which examines how different historical, societal, and ecological conditions are made manifest in the health outcomes of different social groups — in other words, how factors like economic inequality affect public health. Fifteen Minutes spoke with her about how the coronavirus pandemic has revealed the social determinants of health inequality and what we can do to alleviate those inequities. This interview has been edited for clarity and concision.
When you zoom out, the interaction between the coronavirus pandemic and climate change is complicated and often reveals a dismal picture. New evidence suggests long-term exposure to air pollution may have made the disease more lethal, potentially exacerbating existing inequalities, while fossil fuel companies have attempted to leverage this moment to their advantage.
Myriam Sidibe has a Ph.D. in handwashing. Well, almost. “If you look at it very literally, I don’t have a Ph.D. in handwashing: I have a doctorate in public health that is focused on handwashing with soap, and I spent the last 20 years thinking about handwashing with soap. That is the reality,” Sidibe clarifies.