Niagara University welcomed public health scholar Dr. Thomas A. LaVeist to campus for a screening of his documentary, “The Skin You're In,” on March 1, 2022. Dr. LaVeist, who serves as dean of the School of Public Health at Tulane University, offered remarks and the event, which also featured opportunities for the audience to ask questions.

“The Skin You’re In” explores the astonishing disparity between Black and White health in America, why it exists and what can be done about it. The film features insights from leading experts and researchers from around the country as well as the stories of African American families experiencing the problem first hand and those who are making a difference in this area. The event was sponsored by Niagara University’s Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and its Ostapenko centers for Race, Equity & Mission and Ethics in Medicine and Healthcare.

“Racial disparity in health is not as much a medical problem as it is a social problem,” Dr. LaVeist noted. “It’s not driven by biological differences between race groups or any myths like that, it’s driven by social inequities, economic inequities, political inequities, and that’s what I hope people will take away (from this film). Because if we’re going to solve this problem, we’re going to have to have the proper diagnosis.”

Dr. LaVeist's research and writing has focused on the social and behavioral factors that predict the timing of various related health outcomes; the social and behavioral factors that explain race differences in health outcomes; and the impact of social policy on the health and quality of life of African Americans. Through his work, LaVeist seeks to develop an orienting framework in the development of policy and interventions to address race disparities in health-related outcomes. His specific areas of expertise include U.S. health and social policy; the role of race in health research; social factors contributing to mortality, longevity and life expectancy; quantitative and demographic analysis and access; and utilization of health services.