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Racism, COVID-19, and Opportunities for Antiracist Social Work


Five Fordham GSS faculty members have published research that explores racism as a pandemic, the term syndemic and its relationship to characterizing the COVID-19 pandemic and racism’s interconnectedness, and using that syndemic theory to apply a racial justice lens to social work.

The article, titled “Dual pandemics or a syndemic? Racism, COVID-19, and opportunities for antiracist social work,” appears in the Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Diversity in Social Work. 

The five GSS faculty co-authors on this study are Kimberly Hudson, Ph.D.; Sameena Azhar, Ph.D.; Rahbel Rahman, Ph.D.; Elizabeth B. Matthews, Ph.D.; and Abigail M. Ross, Ph.D.

Please find the abstract below:

In this article, we critically engage the “dual pandemics framing of this special issue. We first consider the key assumptions of this popular frame, specifically the conceptualization of racism as a pandemic, and examine limitations of medicalizing racism. We follow with an introduction of the term syndemic, coined by public health scholar Merrill Singer, and discuss how the language of syndemics might accurately characterize the synergism and interconnectedness of racism and COVID-19. We conclude by applying syndemic theory to offer insights and opportunities for social work research, practice, and policy from a racial justice lens.


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