Petit Institute to Host Race and Racism Event on Covid-19


The Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience will host a conversation next week with two campus leaders on the topic of “Covid-19 Is a Health Disparity.” The event will feature Kaye Husbands Fealing, dean and Ivan Allen Jr. Chair in the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts, with an opening presentation by Manu Platt, associate professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering.

The conversation will take place Monday, Oct. 19, from 1 to 2 p.m. via Microsoft Teams, with a maximum capacity of 250 attendees, limited to those logged in with an active Georgia Tech account. Attendees will have the chance to ask questions, and a recording will be made available on the Petit YouTube Channel following the event.

In addition to the many research angles of Covid-19 — including therapeutics, diagnoses, co-morbidities, public health, public policy, and healthcare systems — this session will highlight the health disparities associated with Covid-19, providing an additional perspective into this public health crisis.

The discussion has been planned and organized by a committee for diversity, equity, and inclusion within the Petit Institute. The group was formed in September following a June town hall and a collective desire within the community to take action following national race-related tragedies.

“The goal of our committee is to create a safer, more inclusive, and more highly prosperous environment for our historically underrepresented minority faculty, trainees, and staff,” said Ed Botchwey, committee chair and associate professor in the Coulter Department. “We hope to maintain a focus on anti-racism action within our Institute.”

In support of this goal, the group began hosting town halls within the Petit community on ways to think about systemic racism across disciplines.

“We must confront the routines, biases, and contradictions that preserve the status quo,” Botchwey said. “This town hall is a fresh call to antiracist action in the bioengineering and bioscience community. I’m looking forward to our conversation as we look for ways in which all of our members can answer the call.”

Other committee members include:

Nettie Brown, BME, predoctoral representative
María Coronel, ME, postdoctoral representative
Andrés García, ME, Petit Institute executive director
Milan Riddick, BME, undergraduate representative
Lakeita Servance, Petit Institute, staff representative

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Kristen Bailey - Institute Communications