Discussion to examine health care disparities, racial empowerment


With the emergence of COVID-19, existing disparities within the country’s health care system have been exacerbated. The School of Kinesiology will welcome Monique Butler to lead a discussion addressing the theme, “Where Do We Go From Here: Body Politics and Movement Towards Racial Empowerment.”

The virtual event set for noon Jan. 18 is part of the university’s 2021 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium and is being sponsored by U-M Health Sciences.

Butler, a U-M Kinesiology alumna and board-certified internist, is the chief medical officer for Swedish Medical Center, an acute care hospital located in Englewood, Colorado. Her previous roles include chief medical officer and vice president of medical affairs for both Sinai-Grace and Detroit Receiving Hospitals.

Monique Butler
Monique Butler

“Diversity in health care cannot be a want, it is a must-have,” Butler said last year to GlobalMindED, a nonprofit designed to eliminate the barriers to equal access to educational and professional opportunities for first-generation college students.

 “What keeps me awake at night is the recent United States maternal mortality rates, for all women, but even more devastating for African American moms, who succumb to death while or after bringing life into the world. It is a public health emergency, and I pledge to find solutions to this problem, as a voice, as a physician and as a mother.” 

Butler’s talk will examine how race — as well as sex, gender, sexuality, age, social class and ability — can adversely affect opportunities, access, care, treatment and the overall lived experiences of people of color, particularly Black people. It also will look at how physical activity and movement can offer a variety of health benefits and may therefore be a source of empowerment for marginalized groups.

The event is open for users with a Zoom account and requires registration. Registrants will be sent a link to access the event.


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