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The Next Normal: Civil Liberties and Health

October 21, 2021 @ 4:30 pm - 5:45 pm EDT

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Many conversations surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic were framed as a trade-off between individual liberties and the health of the public. Was this the right framing? What are the implications of the moment for future conversations?

This program is a part of “The Next Normal” series, designed to take a moment to pause and ask, as we emerge from the pandemic, what we have learned and why, in order to promote the health of all, we cannot return to pre-pandemic normal.


Nancy Berlinger, Research Scholar, The Hastings Center

Nancy Berlinger is a Research Scholar at The Hastings Center, an independent bioethics research institute based in Garrison, NY. Her current research focuses on ethical and societal challenges arising from population aging; the bioethics of migration, and responding to and learning from the Covid-19 pandemic. She has longstanding research interests in decision-making and care in serious illness and near the end of life; the management of problems of safety and harm in health systems, and the moral dimensions of care work. She directs The Hastings Center’s Visiting Scholar Program, including the Sadler Scholars Program for doctoral students from underrepresented communities, here.

Colleen Flood, Professor and University Research Chair, University of Ottawa

Colleen M. Flood is a Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa and University Research Chair in Health Law & Policy.  In addition, she serves as the inaugural director of the university’s Centre for Health Law, Policy and Ethics.  From 2006-2011, she was also a Scientific Director of the Institute for Health Services and Policy Research, one of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. From 2012 to 2016, she served on the governance board of the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences. She is currently on the board of Associated Medical Services and a member of the Corporation of Massey College. Professor Flood has received several honours and distinctions for her work. Most recently, she was elected as a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. In 2013, she was appointed an honorary member of the College of Family Physicians of Ontario.

Ruqaiijah Yearby, Professor of Law and Executive Director and CO- Founder, Institute for Healing Justice and Equity, Saint Louis University

Ruqaiijah Yearby, J.D., M.P.H is a full professor and member of the Center for Health Law Studies at Saint Louis University School of Law. She is also co-founder and Executive Director of Saint Louis University’s Institute for Healing Justice and Equity and Co-Principal Investigator for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant entitled, “Are Cities and Counties Ready to Use Racial Equity Tools to Influence Policy?”. Additionally, she has served as an Instructor for the Harvard Medical School, Center for Bioethics.

Professor Ruqaiijah Yearby is an expert in racial health disparities, who advocates for equal access to quality health care and fair wages for racial and ethnic minorities, women, and the poor. Recently, Professor Yearby authored Protecting Workers that Provide Essential Services and co-authored Racism is a Public Health Crisis. Here’s How to Respond, which was used to support the passage of Connecticut House Bill No. 6662, that declares racism as a public health crisis as well as cited in the American Psychological Association Resolution to Combat Racism and in the 2020 Health Equity report for Boone County, MO. Her work has been published in the American Journal of Bioethics, Health Affairs, and the Oxford Journal of Law and the Biosciences and used in law, medical school, and social science classes at schools such as Harvard, NYU, Fordham, and the University of California Berkeley.

She earned her B.S. in Honors Biology from the University of Michigan, M.P.H. from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, and her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. She worked at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as an Assistant Regional Counsel and served as a law clerk for the Honorable Ann Claire Williams of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Chantal Da Silva, MODERATOR, Chief Correspondent, Newsweek

Chantal Da Silva is a freelance journalist working for NBC News. Her work has been featured by Newsweek, where she previously served as chief correspondent, as well as by CNN, The Independent, Forbes, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, The Guardian and others.



October 21, 2021
4:30 pm - 5:45 pm EDT
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Boston University
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