UH Experts Available for Black History Month

Topics Range from Social Justice to Health Inequity

Today marks the beginning of Black History Month, and the University of Houston is making experts available to discuss topics ranging from social justice, health inequity to diversity in film. To speak with one of these faculty members below, please contact Sara Tubbs, sstubbs2@uh.edu.

Gerald Horne, Moores Chair in History and African American Studies, can address issues of race in a variety of relations involving labor, politics, civil rights and war. Professor Horne, an acclaimed historian, has authored more than two dozen books and 100 scholarly articles and reviews.

Tshepo Masango Chéry, assistant professor of history, is a South African scholar specializing in African history, with a focus on racial formation, radical politics and religious expression. She has written on a variety of issues that historicize African women leaders in independence, religious artistic production, queer identities and violence. Her historical research, writing, and teaching knits together forgotten dimensions of the past to make sense of the African present. Chéry is also able to speak to issues related to race, gender, and class with an emphasis on international policy. 

Rheeda Walker is professor of psychology and director of the Culture, Risk and Resilience Lab. As author of the bestselling “The Unapologetic Guide to Black Mental Health,” Walker is one of the leading researchers in the U.S. specializing in culture, race, mental health and suicide. She is regularly featured on national programs including NBC’s TODAY Show, ABC’s Good Morning America and quoted in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Ebony, The Conversation and more.

Drs. Brian Reed and/or LeChauncy Woodard, professors at the UH College of Medicine, can discuss how Africans have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. African Americans are three times more likely to contract COVID-19 compared to whites, and twice as likely to die from the disease.

Ezemenari Obasi, associate dean of research in the College of Education and professor in the Department of Psychological, Health and Learning Sciences, who also helms the HEALTH (Helping Everyone Achieve a Lifetime of Health) Research Institute, is using a new $11.8 million award as a game changer for community health. With the grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, the new HEALTH Center for Addictions Research and Cancer Prevention is focused on removing health disparities in Houston’s underserved communities.

McClain Sampson, associate professor of social work, leads the Healthy Start Initiative which provides community-based and family-centered services and health education to residents in the 10 Houston-area ZIP codes with the highest rates of death and complications surrounding birth. In some areas of Harris County, infant and maternal death rates are nearly five times the national average, with black women and their babies at the greatest risk.

Richard Mizelle, Jr, associate professor of history, can discuss the business of race and ethnicity in medicine and the unique ways science and technology have influenced American society. Mizelle notes that the history of medicine is a portal into contemporary questions of race, ethnicity, class, immigration, politics, exclusion, regionalism and access to services that are essential for understanding American history. 

Billy Hawkins is interim chair of the Department of Health and Human Performance who has written several publications that focus on black athletes, college sports and athlete activism.

Summer Harlow, associate professor of journalism in the Valenti School of Communication, can address the Black Lives Matter movement and recent protests (especially as related to news coverage of them and on social media); racism in the news media/social media; the impact and role of social media among marginalized groups and among activists; the AP stylebook’s decision to capitalize Black and use of the term “racism” and the media’s “racial reckoning.”

Greg Carter is a lecturer in the Valenti School of Communication, as well as a writer, director and producer. Carter teaches social aspects of film with a focus on activism. He can discuss how civil rights, race relations, diversity, financial inequity, mental health and family values have been portrayed and have evolved over the last century in film.