October 2020

Whose Pain Matters? Reflections on Race, Social Justice, and COVID-19's Revealed Inequalities

COVID-19 continues to impact health and economies around the globe, but the pandemic has had another effect: exposing entrenched inequalities in society and healthcare—and creating new ones.  

The ethical problems surrounding coronavirus are numerous and profound. “COVID-19 has revealed  truths and accentuated challenges that are already inherent in our society and healthcare system,” said  Keith Wailoo, PhD, Henry Putnam University Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University.  

Keith Wailoo, PhD
Keith Wailoo, PhD

Drawing on lessons learned from past pandemics and decades of studying U.S. cultural and racial politics, Prof. Wailoo will explore how the novel coronavirus is shaping how we prioritize pain and relief in the 2020 William C. Stubing Memorial Lecture, Whose Pain Matters? Reflections on Race, Social Justice, and COVID-19’s Revealed Inequalities, a live webinar on November 16 at 6:30pm ET.  

“The fundamental question about whose pain matters is at the heart of public policy,” said Prof. Wailoo. “Some people insist economic pain is the worst kind of pain, that a closed economy hurts people the most. Others think the pain of a lost loved one is the pain we should avoid. Whose pain is prioritized? Is it the pain of a small business owner or restaurant that wants desperately to open? Is it the pain of elderly people whose lives and welfare we are trying to protect at all costs?” 

Prof. Wailoo is an American historian whose research focuses on the way in which politics, identity, ethnicity, and gender affect health and medicine in society. His most recent book is Pain: A Political History. He is the current President of the American Association for the History of Medicine and serves on the Greenwall Faculty Scholars Program Committee. 

Whose Pain Matters? is free and registration is open to everyone, from bioethics and science experts to people curious and concerned about the intersection of COVID-19, social justice, and race. 

The NYU School of Global Public Health and its Center for Bioethics are partnering with The Greenwall Foundation to sponsor this year’s Lecture.

About the William C. Stubing Memorial Lecture 

William C. Stubing served as President of The Greenwall Foundation for 21 years. In 2016, the Foundation established the William C. Stubing Memorial Lecture in honor of its beloved former President, who guided the Foundation to its current focus on bioethics.  

Previous Lectures have covered timely topics in bioethics: genome editing, physician aid-in-dying, and drug pricing. Past speakers are Pulitzer Prize winner, Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, University of Pennsylvania President, Prof. Amy Gutmann, and former White House health policy advisor, Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel.