Wed • Jul

Wednesday, July 10, 2019



The New York Academy of Medicine, 1216 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street, New York, NY 10029


Free; advance registration is required. A suggested donation of $10 is recommended.

In 1966 following the passage of the Civil Rights Act and Medicare, the federal government mounted a dramatic, coordinated effort that forced the desegregation of every hospital in America in a matter of months by making it a requirement for Medicare funding. The story of securing equal and adequate access to healthcare for all Americans is one that continues to unfold, more than 55 years later.

Our event will screen POWER TO HEAL, an hour-long documentary narrated by Danny Glover about the struggle for the desegregation of hospitals. Following the screening, filmmaker Barbara Berney will join a discussion with experts around desegregation efforts in New York City, with a focus on Harlem Hospital. Speakers will also address the ways the legacy of segregation continues to impact American healthcare today, and will discuss forward-thinking strategies to ensure equitable practices.

This event is the second in the Race & Health series at The New York Academy of Medicine. The Race & Health series is about envisioning a more just society. We examine the big social, economic and systemic issues that keep people of all races from enjoying a healthy life. We’ll shed light on the historical legacy of these issues and their modern-day challenges and determine how we can, together, create a more equitable and healthy future for all.

About the Speakers

Barbara Berney, PhD, MPH, is a distinguished scholar in public health, environmental justice, and the U.S. healthcare system. She is a tenured Associate Professor at the City University of New York Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy. Prior to teaching at CUNY, she was an advocate and community educator on environmental and occupational health and HIV/AIDS. She has a PhD in public policy from Boston University, an MPH in health administration from UCLA, and a BA in political science from Reed College. Dr. Berney was inspired to produce Power to Heal after hearing eyewitness accounts from physicians, nurses and government staffers involved in the integration effort and those who struggled to provide health services to people in rural areas lacking the most basic medical care.

Adam Biggs is faculty at the University of South Carolina Lancaster. He teaches courses in African American Studies and US History and his research explores the desegregation process at Harlem Hospital from 1919-1935.

About the Moderator 

Danielle Laraque-Arena, MD, FAAP, is the former president of SUNY Upstate Medical University and CEO of Upstate Health System in Syracuse, NY and currently Scholar in Residence at the New York Academy of Medicine. She is professor of pediatrics, psychiatry and behavioral sciences, public health and preventive medicine at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY. She held the Mount Sinai School of Medicine Debra & Leon Black Endowed Professorship (2001-2010) and prior to coming to Syracuse in 2016, she was the Vice- President of the Maimonides Children’s Hospital and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics and Professor of Pediatrics at Yeshiva University, Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Laraque-Arena was born in Haiti and has returned there a number of times to lecture at meetings of the Haitian pediatric society, medical schools and community events. Her work in the United States has been in the underserved areas of Harlem, NY, Brooklyn, NY and Syracuse, NY.

Power To Heal (Trailer) from Daniel Loewenthal on Vimeo.