NIH Health Disparities Interest Group Workshop 2023

Who We Are: The Multiple Dimensions of Race and Ethnicity

Workshop conducted Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023

NIH Videocast

Race and ethnicity are social categories and constructs, meaning they emerged from social and political circumstances and do not accurately reflect differences in human biology.

Throughout United States history, racial and ethnic categories have impacted the way people are treated in society and are often incongruent with how individuals self-identify. Additionally, this categorization fails to capture the diverse cultural heritages of communities. To add further complexity, the term “genetic ancestry,” as used in scientific literature, often gets mistaken for implying biological differences in race.

You’re invited to a workshop featuring a multidisciplinary panel of experts to discuss the different dimensions of race and ethnicity and how they are measured, which will include time for open dialogue with the panelists.

Workshop co-hosted by the NIH Health Disparities Interest Group and NIH UNITE N Committee

If you have questions, please contact Dr. Kelvin Choi or Dami Kim.

Individuals who need reasonable accommodation to participate should contact Dami Kim (phone: 301-402-1366) at least five business days before the event.


Dr. Erika Blacksher

Erika Blacksher, Ph.D., M.A.
Dr. Erika Blacksher is the John B. Francis Chair in Bioethics, an endowed chair at the Center for Practical Bioethics, and a research professor in the Department of History and Philosophy of Medicine at the University of Kansas School of Medicine. As an ethicist and engagement scientist, she studies questions of responsibility and justice raised by U.S. health inequalities and the potential for democratic deliberation to make health a shared value. Her current work focuses on health justice theory and intersectionality, whiteness and health, and the methodology of democratic deliberation.

Dr. Kellee White

Kellee White, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Dr. Kellee White is an associate professor of Health Policy and Management, program director of the Health Equity Concentration, and assistant director of the Maryland Center for Health Equity within the School of Public Health at the University of Maryland. Her work elucidates and seeks to address mechanisms that produce racial/ethnic health inequalities, particularly racism and population health, structural and contextual factors influencing multimorbidity development and progression, and aging health inequalities in Alzheimer’s Disease.

Dr. Jessica Cerdeña

Jessica Cerdeña, M.D.-Ph.D.
Dr. Jessica Cerdeña received her medical degree and a doctorate in Medical Anthropology from Yale University, where she began using scholarship and activism as tools for health justice. Dr. Cerdeña co-coined the term “race-conscious medicine” to emphasize how racism, rather than race, determines illness and health. She recently published the book “Pressing Onward: The Imperative Resilience of Latina Migrant Mothers,” which narrates the ways women who migrated from Latin America overcome structural oppression to build futures for themselves and their children.

Dr. Evelynn M. Hammonds

Evelynn M. Hammonds, Ph. D.
Professor Evelynn M. Hammonds is the Barbara Gutmann Rosenkrantz Professor of the History of Science, Professor of African and African American Studies in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University. This academic year she is the inaugural Audre Lorde Visiting Professor of Queer Studies at Spelman College.

Her research focuses on the history of scientific, medical and socio-political concepts of race, gender and sexuality in the histories of medicine, science and public health in the United States.

Session Chairs

Dr. Christina Borba

Christina Borba, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Dr. Christina Borba is the director of the Office for Disparities Research and Workforce Diversity at the National Institute of Mental Health. . In her role, Dr. Borba leads the development and implementation of scientific policies and research initiatives aimed at reducing mental health disparities and advancing equity in mental health interventions, services, and outcomes. Her work also focuses on increasing workforce diversity and scientific attention to mental health disparities experienced by women and people living in rural areas. Dr. Borba received her doctorate in public health from Emory University and her master’s degree in public health from Boston University.

Dr. Jenna Norton

Jenna Norton, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Dr. Jenna Norton is a program director at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, where she oversees community-based health equity research on kidney disease and urologic conditions, with emphasis on social determinants of health, population health, and health information technology.

Special thanks to the NIH Health Disparities Interest Group workshop committee, the UNITE N committee and the corresponding hosting institutes and committees:

  • Kelvin Choi, Ph.D., M.P.H., National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities
  • Sharon Jackson, M.D, FAAP, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
  • Jenna Norton, Ph.D., M.P.H, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
  • Miya Whitaker, Psy.D., M.A., NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health
  • Christina Borba, Ph.D., M.P.H., National Institute of Mental Health
  • Yukiko Asada, Ph.D., Department of Bioethics, NIH Clinical Center
  • Tilda Farhat, Ph.D., National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities
  • Frank Bandiera, Ph.D., National Institute on Aging
  • Juanita Chinn, Ph.D., National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

Page updated Oct. 5, 2023  |  created Sept. 8, 2023