Public lecture to explore how discrimination affects mental health

A new lecture series at Brock University aims to explore how racism and xenophobia can affect access to health care.

As part of Brock’s new Yosif Al-Hasnawi Memorial Lecture Series, special guest Uppala Chandrasekera, Director of Public Policy for the Canadian Mental Health Association Ontario, will deliver a presentation on Monday, Oct. 22.

The lecture series focuses on promoting racial justice in health care and is named after the first-year Medical Sciences student who was shot and killed in Hamilton in December 2017 while trying to protect an older man from two aggressors.

“Yosif had dreams of becoming a doctor and hoped to one day make a difference in the world,” says Department of Health Sciences Chair Ana Sanchez. “The Department of Health Sciences and the Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies have joined together to host these lectures and are committed to his memory and his dream.”

This inaugural lecture will explore the causes of discrimination and its impact on mental health, and identify opportunities and resources for addressing discrimination at an individual, organizational and systemic level.

“In this series, we want to bring forth the importance of exploring how racism and xenophobia can affect access to health care — and the importance of challenging those barriers to ensure that everyone has access to something that all Canadians consider a basic right,” explains Margot Francis, Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and Sociology.

The event’s opening and closing remarks will be provided by Brock President Gervan Fearon and Brock Director, Human Rights and Equity Leela MadhavaRau, respectively.

Held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in South Block 203, the lecture is free and open to the Brock community as well as the general public.

Faculty and students are encouraged to attend.

The event is co-sponsored by the President’s Advisory Committee on Human Rights, Equity and Decolonization; Faculty of Applied Health Sciences; Faculty of Social Sciences; Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies; Brock University Human Rights and Equity Office; Tecumseh Centre for Indigenous Research and Education; and Brock University Students’ Union.


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