Linda Villarosa’s lecture on Thursday, March 29, was inspiring and enlightening.  Professor Villarosa is a gifted speaker and her presentation, based on her book, Under the Skin: The Hidden Toll of Racism on American Lives and on the Health of Our Nation, was a thorough and well-researched look at the role racism plays in health care. While at times shocking, Professor Villarosa’s talk also provided a road map to change that gives us hope for the future. 

Students were engaged and inspired by her talk and asked questions after the presentation. One of the students who had read her book, said, “I have studied intersectionality and inequality on a collegiate level, however Villarosa’s book offered new and important insights into the systemic racism in health and healthcare, particularly with maternal and fetal health. Her talk amplified the foundations of her book and left an impact on us all.”

In her book, Professor Villarosa includes the nine questions that have only recently been used to assess the effects of race.  These nine questions have been “adapted and amended and used all over the world to measure the ways in which discrimination hurts health and shortens lives.”  

We include them here as a reminder that our words and actions matter in ways large and small. 

Respondents were asked to answer yes or no to the following questions: 

  1. You are treated with less courtesy than other people are.
  2. You are treated with less respect than other people are.
  3. You receive poorer service than other people at restaurants or stores.
  4. People act as if they think you are not smart.
  5. People act as if they are afraid of you.
  6. People act as if they think you are dishonest.
  7. People act as if they’re better than you are.
  8. You are called names or insulted.
  9. You are threatened or harassed.