Posts tagged ‘policy’

New Study: The “Adultification” of Black Girls


The Annie E. Casey Foundation funded a report called “Girlhood Interrupted: The Erasure of Black Girls’ Childhood” :

Why are black girls treated more harshly by schools and the juvenile justice system than white girls who behave the same way? A new study from the Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality suggests a contributing cause: the “adultification” of black girls.

The Casey-funded report, Girlhood Interrupted: The Erasure of Black Girls’ Childhood, found that adults viewed black girls “as less innocent and more adult-like than white girls of the same age, especially between 5–14 years old.” When compared with white girls, black girls were perceived as:

  • needing less nurturing, protection, support and comfort;
  • being more independent; and
  • knowing more about adult topics, including sex.

The implications of the report’s finding are far reaching, according to Rebecca Epstein, executive director of the center. “Simply put, if authorities in public systems view black girls as less innocent, less needing of protection and generally more like adults, it appears likely that they would also view black girls as more culpable for their actions and, on that basis, punish them more harshly despite their status as children.”

The study builds on previous research, including studies that found black boys are seen as older and more culpable than their white peers. According to the report:

Adultification is a form of dehumanization, robbing black children of the very essence of what makes childhood distinct from all other developmental periods: innocence. Adultification contributes to a false narrative that black youths’ transgressions are intentional and malicious, instead of the result of immature decision making — a key characteristic of childhood.

To further inform policy and practice in child-serving systems, the report recommends additional research to determine the causal connection between the adultification of black girls and existing disparities in negative outcomes.

Girlhood Interrupted is further evidence that public systems serving children must be vigilant in identifying, addressing and reducing inequities and committed to assessing the effectiveness of their strategies for children of color,” says Michael Laracy, Casey’s director of policy reform and advocacy.

Read the formal report on the site!


August 14, 2017 at 10:45 am Leave a comment

Confronting the challenges

Many of the CEMCH Scholars attended this year’s meeting of the American Public Health Association (APHA), held in Denver, October 29 – November 2. We will be posting their reflections and highlights this month.

By Grace Saul, BA

Grace Saul at APHA

Grace Saul at APHA

A definite highlight of this year’s conference was when APHA President Dr. Camara Jones addressed the full assembly with a powerful speech calling for racism to be named and centered in the field of public health. Using several illustrative metaphors (including, notably, The Gardener’s Tale), Dr. Jones constructed an accessible framework for understanding what racism is, how it is perpetuated, and what barriers we face in seeking to dismantle it in modern society.  I was amazed and inspired by Dr. Jones’ ability to synthesize this content into a picture that is easy to understand and to pass on to others.

During her tenure as President of APHA, Dr. Jones has led an initiative for addressing racism across the field of public health.  As she explained, our first order of business must be to put racism on the agenda by naming it and by establishing systems to rigorously monitor exposures and outcomes that differ along racial lines.  Next, we must critically examine the mechanisms at work in our systems, policies, practices, norms, and values, paying close attention not only to the existence of harmful policies, but also to the absence of supportive policies.  Finally, we must organize and strategize to address the structural factors perpetuating racism and unequal access to resources, power, opportunity, and representation.

Dr. Jones additionally discussed the three principal barriers we face to achieving health equity in this country.  First, our culture is a-historical: we resist the understanding that our present condition is organically connected to our past.  Second, we have a narrow focus on the individual, which blinds us from seeing important sociological and institutional factors that create and perpetuate racism.  And lastly, we ascribe to the myth of meritocracy, ignoring how racism fundamentally shapes opportunities and outcomes.

It was an honor to be a part of a crowd that greeted Dr. Jones’ message with a standing ovation and a collective commitment to work toward rectifying the historical, institutional injustices that persist today.  Dr. Jones’ words lingered in my mind throughout the conference as I observed professionals from a wide variety of backgrounds taking a deep interest in one another’s work, asking difficult questions, and coming together as a community to better understand and confront the challenges we face in striving for health equity in our country.

Grace Saul is a first-year MPH student, concentrating in Maternal and Child Health.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in International Development Studies from McGill University and has previously worked in research, monitoring & evaluation, and non-profit program development in Canada, the U.S., and Senegal.  Her interests include women’s health, reproductive justice, immigrant and refugee health, social norms theory, health communication, and health policy.  She loves mountains, dogs, cities, maps, and photography. 



November 16, 2016 at 12:36 pm Leave a comment

Bureau of Family Health – Gift Program – Practicum Position AVAILABLE

The Bureau of Family Health (BFH) provides qualified public health students with a rewarding practicum/internship. Students will gain valuable public health experience, specific to maternal and child health/breastfeeding. Students will provide programmatic support to a statewide breastfeeding initiative targeting LA maternity care facilities (The Gift) with a focus on evaluation and data collection/analysis.

Primary Purpose: To measure The Gift program’s impact on breastfeeding initiation, exclusivity and duration among women delivering in Gift designated hospitals.
Secondary Purpose: To evaluate the success of The Gift model in aiding participating hospitals in improvement in the Ten Steps to achieving The Gift and/or the Baby-Friendly Hospital designation.

Continue Reading July 5, 2016 at 11:04 am Leave a comment

A Righteous Mind: Reflections on Health Advocacy at APHA

By Ashley Fehringer, BS

2015_AM_logoAs human beings we make snap judgments and later justify them. We view people who oppose our views as morally wrong. When we argue our point, we stay within our own moral confines and rarely attack our argument through the eyes of an opponent. We may argue that we are open-minded, but human nature is close-minded. In politics and in public health, our own human nature hinders our success in generating health policy and changing behaviors.

These are some of the main points addressed in a conversation about Advocacy for Leaders that I attended at the 2015 Annual APHA Conference. The conversation centers on the work of Jonathan Haidt in his book The Righteous Mind. The book discusses why humans think the way they do. We are bound by six moral foundations and our decisions are effected by which foundations we hold to the highest esteem.

In public health, we generally hold morals such as Care, Fairness, and Liberty to higher esteem. Thus, when we make our arguments we stress the potential to save lives, the fairness of social welfare programs and the liberty created through elimination of health disparities. As a public health practitioner, all of these arguments make sense and I could not fathom how anyone could argue against our points. However, when considering things from a more conservative perspective, in which loyalty and sanctity are more highly regarded, a progressive health promotion plan may disrupt the normal order and sanctity of our communities and would therefore not be appealing to our opponents.

In public health advocacy and policy, we need to frame our argument around the moral foundations of our opponents. We need to stop “preaching to the choir,” and we need to start having real conversation about change that can work for both sides.

Of the APHA sessions I attended I found this one to be most informative and helpful for my future career. As I hope to work in public health policy and advocacy someday, this session has given me a new perspective on how to view policy and how to advocate effectively for my own cause.

Ashley Fehringer is a second-year MPH student, concentrating in maternal and child health. Her interests are in maternal and child health, early childhood development and education, and sexual and reproductive health. Ms. Fehringer will be graduating in December 2015 and will be departing for Guatemala in March 2016 to work in the Peace Corps as a Maternal and Child Health Specialist for two years.

November 13, 2015 at 8:34 am Leave a comment

Upcoming Seminar- “Policy Briefs” 2/25

Please join us in partnership with the Tulane Prevention Research Center for this Communication Series seminar entitled “Writing an Effective Policy Brief.” This lecture will be given by Hamida Labi, JD, Policy Analyst at Stand for Children Louisiana.


When: Tuesday, 2/25 from 12-12:45 pm
Where: Room 1206, Tidewater Building,
Tulane School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine
1440 Canal Street, New Orleans

This seminar is free and open to the public. Please feel free to bring your own lunch. If you have any questions please contact Naomi King at or 504.988.7410

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February 12, 2014 at 3:54 pm Leave a comment

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