Frank Tirro, former School of Music dean and pioneering jazz historian

Frank Pascale Tirro
Frank Pascale Tirro

Frank Pascale Tirro, dean of the Yale School of Music from 1980 to 1989, passed away after a long illness on March 28.

Tirro is remembered for his pathbreaking writings on music, education, and racism in America; his landmark contributions to our understanding of the history of jazz; his studies of late medieval and renaissance music; and his considerable administrative accomplishments. He was also an ASCAP award-winning composer and a highly respected professional clarinetist and saxophone player.

Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Tirro earned his Bachelor of Music from the University of Nebraska in 1960 and received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from that institution in 2006. He earned his M.M. from Northwestern University in 1961 and his Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Chicago in 1974. While still a graduate student, he began his distinguished administrative career by establishing and then chairing the music program for the University of Chicago’s Laboratory School from 1963 to 1970. The next year he was a fellow at Harvard University’s Villa I Tatti for advanced research into Italian Renaissance music. After earning his doctorate, a one-year term as visiting lecturer at the University of Kansas led to his appointment on the faculty of Duke University, where he served as chair of the Music Department from 1974 to 1980. He began his tenure as dean of the Yale School of Music in 1980, a post which he held for eight years. He continued to teach, perform, and chair the Doctor of Musical Arts Committee at Yale until his retirement in 2010.

Among Tirro’s most important contributions to Renaissance studies is his investigation of the sources in the archive of San Petrino in his beloved city of Bologna (Stuttgardt, 1986). With his article “The Silent Theme Tradition in Jazz” (The Musical Quarterly, 1967) he became a pioneer in bringing the study of jazz into mainstream musicology. Jazz was his passion, and he dedicated the remainder of his life to leveling barriers and raising up the contributions of Black musicians to this uniquely American genre, born out of their experiences as a gift to all. His “Jazz: A History” (1977 and 1993) became a foundational text in the field and was translated into Japanese, Chinese, and Spanish. This was followed by “Living with Jazz” (1996), “The Birth of the Cool: Miles Davis and His Associates” (2009) and “With Trumpet and Bible: The Illustrated Life of James Hembray Wilson” (2012).

 Tirro also co-authored multiple editions of the textbook “Humanities: Cultural Roots and Continuities”contributed to 38 biographies of jazz greats for the World Book Encyclopedia; and authored 8 entries on medieval and renaissance composers for the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musiciansas well as dozens of articles on jazz, late medieval music, and other facets of music history throughout his career. In addition, his compositions earned numerous prizes including multiple ASCAP Standard Composers Awards, which he received for the first time in 1970. His submission for the Nebraska state anthem, “Nebraska,” used Native American themes and celebrated Nebraska’s rich agricultural heritage.

Tirro’s career was characterized by his remarkable care for his colleagues and his natural humility,” said Paul Hawkshaw, professor emeritus of music at Yale. “Though he walked and played with giants like Benny Goodman, Henny Youngman, Dizzy Gillespie, and scores of big band jazz legends, he always took a back seat to let others’ gifts shine. As dean, he led the Yale School of Music through one of the most difficult periods in its history with grace and a relentless dedication to the best interests of its faculty and students.”

Tirro is survived by his wife of 60 years, Charlene (Whitney) Tirro, a daughter, a son, and four grandchildren. 

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For veterans, a hidden side effect of COVID: feelings of personal growth

The U.S. military veteran population is known to have abnormally high rates of suicide, so health officials have been concerned that the COVID-19 pandemic might elevate risk of psychiatric disorders, particularly among those suffering from post-traumatic stress and related disorders.

A recent national study of more than 3,000 veterans participating in the National Health and Resilience in Veterans Study did find that 12.8% reported post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms related to COVID-19 and 8% said they had contemplated suicide during the pandemic.

However, the same survey, published April 8 in JAMA Network Open, revealed another, startling finding. A full 43.3% of respondents — more than three times the number of those reporting COVID-related PTSD symptoms and five times the number of those who had contemplated suicide — said that they have experienced positive psychological benefits during the pandemic. These veterans reported greater appreciation of life, closer interpersonal relationships, and an increased sense of personal strength.

Yes, there have certainly been many negative mental health consequences of the pandemic, but we are also seeing that a considerable proportion of people may experience positive psychological changes,” said Robert Pietrzak, director of the Translational Psychiatric Epidemiology Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Center for PTSD, associate professor of psychiatry and public health at Yale, and lead author of the paper. “This suggests that the experience of stress and trauma related to the pandemic can lead to positive personal growth.”

Over the past decade, Pietrzak and Steven Southwick, the Glenn H. Greenberg Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Yale and senior author of the new paper, have been studying veterans who experience what is known as “post-traumatic growth” following a traumatic experience. Scientists have long been fascinated with the concept of resilience — how people who endure trauma find a way to bounce back. The concept of post-traumatic growth posits that while trauma can increase risk for mental disorders such as PTSD, it may also spur positive personal growth.

For the latest findings, Pietrzak and Southwick initially asked veterans about their psychological health between November of 2019 and March 2020. The advent of the pandemic motivated them to follow up that survey with another, of the same group, a year later. In this second survey, they asked questions about PTSD symptoms and possible positive psychological changes related to the pandemic.

Of the 3,078 veterans who responded to both surveys, 43.3% reported that the pandemic led to positive psychological changes in their lives. Among veterans who screened positive for COVID-related PTSD symptoms, more than 70% reported experiencing these changes.

Post-traumatic growth is a process that often happens naturally and is stimulated by reflective processing about a traumatic event,” Pietrzak said. “Sometimes you need to be sufficiently shaken by an experience and even experience symptoms of PTSD to begin to process it at a deeper level and ultimately be able to grow from it.”

Greater post-traumatic growth — particularly an increased appreciation of life and improved interpersonal relationships — was also associated with a 40% lower likelihood of contemplating suicide during the pandemic. This finding suggests that psychological interventions to promote post-traumatic growth may be a helpful measure to prevent suicide among veterans.

While the scientific study of post-traumatic growth is relatively new, the concept is not.  Ancient religious and spiritual traditions, philosophers, and scholars have long expressed the potentially transformative power of suffering.

The saying ‘Grow through what you go through’ captures the essence of post-traumatic growth,” Pietrzak said.

He and his colleagues plan to continue to follow their cohort of veterans over time to examine the longer-term course of post-traumatic growth and whether it may help promote resilience to subsequent traumatic events.

The National Health and Resilience in Veterans study is supported by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD.

Jack Tsai, an adjunct associate professor of psychiatry at Yale who also serves as campus dean and professor of public health at the University of Texas School of Public Health in San Antonio, co-authored the paper.

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Leaking calcium in neurons an early sign of Alzheimer’s pathology

Alzheimer’s disease is known for its slow attack on neurons crucial to memory and cognition.  But why are these particular neurons in aging brains so susceptible to the disease’s ravages, while others remain resilient?

In a new study published April 8 in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia, The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, researchers at the Yale School of Medicine found that susceptible neurons in the prefrontal cortex develop a “leak” in calcium storage with advancing age. This disruption of calcium storage in turns leads to accumulation of phosphorylated, or modified, tau proteins which cause the neurofibrillary tangles in the brain that are a hallmark of Alzheimer’s.

These changes occur slowly, building over many years, and can be seen within neurons in the brains of very old monkeys, the researchers report.

Altered calcium signaling with advancing age is linked to early-stage tau pathology in the neurons that subserve higher cognition,” said corresponding author Amy Arnsten, the Albert E. Kent Professor of Neuroscience and professor of psychology and member of the Kavli Institute of Neuroscience at Yale University.

These vulnerable neurons face another problem. As they age, they tend to lose a key regulator of calcium signaling, a protein called calbindin, which protects neurons from calcium overload, and is abundant in the neurons of younger individuals.

With age, these neurons face a double whammy, with an excessive calcium leak that initiates toxic actions, as well as diminished levels of the protectant, calbindin,” said Arnsten.

Neurons in the prefrontal cortex require relatively high levels of calcium to perform their cognitive operations, but the calcium must be tightly regulated. However, as regulation is lost with increasing age, neurons become susceptible to tau pathology and degeneration. Essentially, neurons “eat” themselves from within.

Understanding these early pathological changes may provide strategies to slow or prevent disease progression,” Arnsten said.

The study is a collaboration between the labs of Arnsten and Angus Nairn at Yale; Dibyadeep Datta and Shannon N. Leslie are co-first authors of the research.

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STEM-focused juniors win Goldwater Scholarships

Four Yale College juniors — Daniel Chabeda, Megan He, Ronald Hood, and Sarah Zhao — are among the 410 college students from across the nation to receive Goldwater Scholarships for the 2021-2022 academic year. The scholarships, named in honor of the late U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater, encourage outstanding students to pursue research careers in the fields of the natural sciences, engineering, and mathematics.

Scholarship winners have impressive academic and research credentials. Many have published their research in leading professional journals and have presented their work at professional society conferences.

The Yale winners were chosen from over 5,000 college sophomores and juniors who were nominated by 438 academic institutions. Virtually all of the Goldwater Scholars intend to obtain a Ph.D. degree. Fifty-one are mathematics and computer science majors, 291 are majoring in the natural sciences, and 68 are majoring in engineering.

The members of the campus Goldwater committee were very enthusiastic in their support of these exceptional students and were delighted that the students received this well-deserved recognition from the Goldwater Foundation,” said Emma Rose, associate director of fellowships in the Office of Fellowship Programs in the Center for International and Professional Experience.

Daniel Chabeda, who is majoring in chemistry, conducts research in carbon-neutral fuel production and plans to pursue a Ph.D. in theoretical chemistry. He has been active in the religious organization Christian Union Lux, the Yale Symphony Orchestra, First-Year Outdoor Orientation Trips, and in the Chaplain’s Office. He is also a peer tutor for the undergraduate course “Chemistry of Food and Cooking.”

Megan He is double majoring in environmental engineering and global affairs, and plans to pursue a Ph.D. in environmental engineering. She has conducted research on emissions of organic compounds, atmospheric chemistry, and air quality. She is an engineering tour guide and STEM representative in the Undergraduate Admissions Office, and works as a peer tutor in the physics department. She is also active in the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and Yale Scientific Magazine. 

Ronald Hood is majoring in molecular biophysics and biochemistry with a certificate in data science. He researches protein-protein electron transfer and dissimilatory metal reduction in electrogenic bacteria. He is the incoming president of the Ivy League Space Coalition, a hardware specialist and queue coordinator of Yale’s Student Technology Collaborative, and serves as a mentor for the nonprofit volunteer mentoring program You Can Too for minority youth. Hood is the founder and data scientist of an intercollegiate team that develops smart contracts that arbitrage synthetic assets on EVM and Solana. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in biophysics.

Sarah Zhao, who is majoring in statistics and data science and considering a second major in mathematics, conducts research in statistics theory and optimization. She works as an undergraduate learning assistant for the Department of Statistics and Data Science and participates in outreach to the Greater New Haven area through the Yale Education Tutoring Initiative. She is also a board member of the dance performance organization Yale Movement. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in statistics and data science.

The Goldwater Foundation is a federally endowed agency established in 1986. Goldwater Scholars have been awarded 94 Rhodes Scholarships, 150 Marshall Scholarships, 170 Churchill Scholarships, 109 Hertz Fellowships, and numerous other distinguished awards, including National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.

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L.A. Paul appointed Millstone Family Professor of Philosophy

L.A. Paul, whose research examines metaphysics, cognitive science, and the philosophy of the mind, has been appointed the Millstone Family Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Cognitive Science. Her appointment was effective Feb. 20.

A member of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Paul explores questions about the nature of the self, decision-making, temporal experience, philosophical methodology, causation, causal experience, time and time’s arrow, perception, mereology, constitution, and essence. 

She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors throughout her career, including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Humanities Center, and the Australian National University. She is also the author of three books, including “Causation: A User’s Guide” (Oxford University Press, 2013), which was awarded the American Philosophical Association Sanders Book Prize. In 2020 she received the Dr. Martin R. Lebowitz and Eve Lewellis Lebowitz Prize for Philosophical Achievement and Contribution from the American Philosophical Association and Phi Beta Kappa Society.

A graduate of Antioch College, Paul earned an M.A. in philosophy from Antioch University and Princeton University in 1996 before receiving her Ph.D. in philosophy from Princeton in 1999. She began her career as an assistant professor of philosophy at Yale until 2001, when she joined the faculty at the University of Arizona. In 2008 she was recruited by the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where in 2016 she was named the Eugene Falk Distinguished Professor of Philosophy.

In 2018, Paul returned to Yale as a professor of philosophy and cognitive science. 

L.A. Paul
L.A. Paul

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Elimelech named Sterling Prof. of Chemical and Environmental Engineering

Menachem Elimelech
Menachem Elimelech

Menachem Elimelech, who researches physical and chemical processes at the nexus of water and energy, has been appointed the Sterling Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering. His appointment was effective Feb. 20.

The Sterling Professorship is awarded to a tenured faculty member considered one of the best in his or her field and is one of the university’s highest faculty honors. Elimelech is the first Yale engineer to be named for this professorship since its establishment in 1920.

Elimelech is on the faculty of the School of Engineering & Applied Science and a member of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. The research conducted by his group specifically examines membrane-based processes for energy-efficient desalination and wastewater reuse; advanced materials for next-generation water decontamination technologies; and environmental applications of nanomaterials.

He has received major awards in recognition of his pioneering research. Especially notable are the Eni Award for Protection of the Environment in 2015, election to the National Academy of Engineering in 2006 and the Chinese Academy of Engineering in 2017, and, in 2005, the Clarke Prize for excellence in water research. 

Elimelech has authored more than 450 refereed journal publications, including invited articles in Science and Nature, and is the lead author of the book “Particle Deposition and Aggregation” (1995). He is a Highly Cited Researcher in two categories: environment/ecology and chemistry.

He has advised 43 Ph.D. students and 37 postdoctoral researchers, many of whom now hold leading positions in academia and industry. In recognition of his excellence in and dedication to teaching and mentoring, he received the W.M. Keck Foundation Engineering Teaching Excellence Award in 1994, the Yale University Graduate Mentoring Award in 2004, and the Yale University Postdoctoral Mentoring Prize in 2012.

Elimelech received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and his Ph.D. in environmental engineering from Johns Hopkins University. In his first appointment, Elimelech served as professor and vice chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UCLA. Upon coming to Yale in 1998, he founded Yale’s Environmental Engineering Program. The program rose to international prominence and has been ranked in the top 10 of the U.S. News & World Report’s Graduate Engineering Rankings for the past six years. 

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D’Onofrio appointed Albert E. Kent Professor of Emergency Medicine

Gail D’Onofrio
Gail D’Onofrio

Gail D’Onofrio, who is internationally known for her work in alcohol and other substance use disorders as well as her research on gender variations in women with ischemic heart disease, was named Albert E. Kent Professor of Emergency Medicine. Her appointment became effective in October 2020.

D’Onofrio is also the inaugural chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Yale School of Medicine, physician-in-chief of emergency services at Yale New Haven Hospital, and a professor of epidemiology (chronic disease) at Yale School of Public Health.

Her work demonstrating that emergency department-initiated buprenorphine increases engagement in addiction treatment for individuals with opioid use disorder (OUD) has changed clinical practice, earning her multiple scientific honors, including awards from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and the Clinical Research Forum, and the R. Brinkley Smithers and Distinguished Scientist Award by the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

D’Onofrio has a long track record of mentoring physician scientists in independent research careers. She is a principal investigator of the Yale Drug use, Addiction, and HIV Research Scholars program, a fellowship that offers focused training in prevention and treatment of drug use, addiction, and HIV in general medical settings with scholars in medicine, emergency medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, and pulmonary critical care. She has also mentored numerous emergency medicine faculty. She has received several awards in recognition of her dedication to mentorship and nurturing careers of junior investigators, including the Excellence in Mentoring award from the Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse (AMERSA 2008), the Advancing Women in Emergency Medicine award from the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM 2016), and the Academy for Women in Academic Emergency Medicine (AWAEM) Outstanding Department Award for the advancement of women (SAEM 2018).

An advocate for individuals with substance use disorder, D’Onofrio is a founding board member of the Board of Addiction Medicine and was one of the architects of a Connecticut strategic plan to reduce opioid deaths, working with multiple agencies regionally and nationally to change policies and introduce interventions to combat the opioid crisis. She also serves on the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse for the National Institutes of Health.

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Yale College admits 2,169 applicants from record applicant pool

Yale’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions has completed its review of first-year applications and offered admission to 2,169 of the 46,905 students who applied for the Class of 2025. The newly admitted applicants will be joined by an additional 336 students who were admitted during the 2019-2020 admissions cycle but opted to postpone their matriculation for one year.

Yale College received a record number of applications — an increase of 33% over the previous year (35,220).

Last week President Peter Salovey and Provost Scott Strobel shared their optimism that Yale will have a full residential program for undergraduates with faculty conducting classes primarily in person this upcoming fall semester, if public health conditions permit.

The young people we met through the application process have experienced an unbelievable amount of change, disruption, and hardship this past year,” said Jeremiah Quinlan, dean of undergraduate admissions and financial aid. “But their resilience, leadership, service to their families and others, and commitment to their academic pursuits have been truly remarkable. Our newest students will bring an extraordinary range of experiences and identities, insights and ambitions, talents and intelligences to Yale.”

Quinlan explained that — despite the increase in applications and disruptions associated with the pandemic — the admissions office retained all the elements of its thoughtful whole-person review process when selecting applicants for the Class of 2025. To preserve the same careful and contextual approach to evaluating applications, officers devoted more hours to reading, and members of the Admissions Committee, unable to gather at the admissions office on Hillhouse Avenue, instead held their deliberations virtually. Applicants also conducted virtual interviews with volunteer members of the Alumni Schools Committee and Yale seniors employed by the admissions office.

Students admitted to the Class of 2025 represent all 50 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and 72 countries. They will arrive as graduates of more than 1,600 secondary schools and their intended majors include 79 of Yale’s undergraduate academic programs. 

Last summer, approximately 20% of students admitted to the Class of 2024 opted to take a gap year. Typically, only 3% to 4% of students take this option, but the increase did not force the admissions office to extend fewer offers to students graduating high school in 2021. “I am very grateful to the university leaders who approved our plan to offer admission to the same number of students this cycle as in a typical year,” said Quinlan.

In December, Yale offered admission to 837 applicants through the Early Action program and 72 applicants through the QuestBridge National College Match program. QuestBridge is a national non-profit organization that connects high-achieving students from lower-income backgrounds with selective colleges and universities. Those 72 students qualify for Yale’s most generous financial aid award, which includes a “zero parent share,” hospitalization insurance coverage, a $2,000 grant to help with one-time expenses in the first year, and a student share expectation of only $3,700 — an amount equal to Yale’s estimate for out-of-pocket costs like books, laundry, and other personal expenses.

Under policies announced in fall 2019, all U.S. students in families with less than $75,000 in annual income and typical assets qualify for one of these awards. Yale is one of only a handful of U.S. institutions with a “need-blind” admissions policy for all applicants, regardless of citizenship or immigration status, while also meeting the full demonstrated financial need of every student without requiring loans. In the last eight years, the percentage of students in the first-year class receiving Federal Pell Grants, which are awarded to low-income students, has increased from 12% to over 20%.

Despite the disruptions associated with the pandemic, Yale has maintained all of its extraordinary need-based aid policies. This year Yale waived the “student share” portion of financial aid awards for those students enrolling remotely and adjusted the cost of attendance to provide additional aid to account for technology costs for remote learners.

Handsome Dan pays a visit to the Undergraduate Admissions office on Hillhouse Avenue.
Handsome Dan pays a visit to the Undergraduate Admissions office on Hillhouse Avenue.

The Yale campus is closed to visitors this spring, but admitted students (affectionately known as “prefrosh”) and their families will have dozens of opportunities to connect during the Bulldog Days of April — a new collection of virtual welcome events.

Ashleigh Corvi, the admissions office’s director of recruitment, said she’s eager to repeat the success of last year’s inaugural program and expand this year’s program with new events. “There is no true substitute for visiting campus, but the spirit and warmth of the Yale community come through loud and clear in every virtual event we host,” Corvi said.

She also expressed her gratitude to the faculty, administrators, and student group leaders who will host special events for prefrosh, as well as the countless Yale College students who will answer questions and share their experiences through candid conversations. “Yale’s greatest asset is its people, and I’m endlessly impressed by the enthusiasm and generosity our community members extend to our admitted students and their families each spring.” 

Throughout the month of April, prefrosh will be able to chat in a new Admitted Students Network, attend online master classes offered by Yale faculty, watch live-streamed video panels featuring facets of campus life, and explore virtual content from student organizations.

Students will have until May 3 to reply to Yale’s offer of admission.

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Arts and Ideas festival honors Nunez-Smith as ‘Visionary Leader’

Yale’s Marcella Nunez-Smith, a national expert on disparities in healthcare access who is now helping the Biden administration deliver more equitable care and treatment, last week received Visionary Leadership Award from the International Festival of Arts & Ideas in New Haven.

Over the past year, few have worked as hard to understand the pandemic’s impact on minoritized communities as Nunez-Smith, associate dean of health equity research at Yale School of Medicine, said Shelley Quiala, the festival’s executive director.

Dr. Nunez-Smith is a local hero and advisory leader whose trailblazing work on social determinants of health came to light during an unprecedented time,” said Quiala. 

The award, which honors one person whose visionary work changes the world, was presented to Nunez-Smith during an online ceremony. (The event was held virtually for a second consecutive year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.)

Nunez-Smith, an associate professor of medicine, public health, and management, has dedicated her life to studying healthcare disparities. She was the co-chair of the Biden-Harris Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board, and currently chairs the U.S. COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force. She also founded the Equity Research and Innovation Center (ERIC), which generates actionable research to eliminate health and health care inequity domestically and globally. 

Born and raised in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Nunez-Smith first came to the mainland U.S. as a teenager to attend Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, and later Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. She earned a master’s degree in health sciences at Yale.

Arts and ideas logo.

In the Virgin Islands, Nunez-Smith said, she “had never formed an identity that included race.” But once in the mainland U.S., she found that racial categories were pervasive. 

I have a stethoscope around my neck, but we cannot match the social cues. Race is just so overpowering for people,” she said during the award event. “The flip side of that also tells its own narrative: If I had a dollar for every time a patient of color has said ‘You know, I never had a physician of color take care of me…’”

Nunez-Smith experienced racism and saw it reflected in the experiences of her patients. But she said the issue was not being discussed in terms of patient health

Every time I walked into a patient’s room, I understood that [there are] these social structural factors,” she said. “Why aren’t we talking about that? Why aren’t we talking about how racism and bias landed this person in this hospital bed? How does it determine the quality of care that they get? It just became something I couldn’t un-see.”

In her White House role, Nunez-Smith is working to center equity in the government’s response to the pandemic and to ensure that the voices of Black, Indigenous, and Latinx people are heard in discussions of healthcare. Members of these communities are dying from COVID-19 at nearly three times the rate of white Americans as a consequence of unequal working and living conditions, uneven healthcare access and treatment, and other factors. 

We have to make sure that everyone gets full advantage of our country’s scientific discoveries from the PPE [personal protective equipment], to the treatments, to the vaccine,” said Nunez-Smith. “But we understand the social and structural as well. So, that work has to happen in parallel. People are suffering now, not just from grief, but from economic worry. People are struggling to know where the next meal is going to come from [and] whether or not they are going to have a place to live. So we have to commit to investing in that as well.”

Nunez-Smith ended the conversation by talking about her family and how, as a mother of three interracial children, they inspire her work. “It is highly motivating,” she said, “to know that we need to give them a better society than we have now.”

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