Seminar Series: “Anti-Racist Bioethics, Structural Racism, and the Struggle for Hearts and Minds” by Yolanda Wilson, PhD

Monday, Nov 14, 2022
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Add to iCal
Bloomberg School of Public Health Feinstone Hall
615 N. Wolfe Street
Baltimore, MD

Join us in the School of Public Health’s Feinstone Hall, or virtually at:

Bioethicists have paid a lot of important recent attention to the ways that structural injustice, particularly structural racism, impact patient encounters and outcomes, institutional policies and procedures, and even topics of inquiry within the field of bioethics itself. While heightened interest in structural racism is an important intervention in bioethics, it is also important to remember that structures are created by and maintained by people whose attitudes about race reinforce unjust social structures. Beyond simplistic attempts to “change [individual] hearts and minds,” Wilson argues that dismantling structural racism requires a shift in the underlying values that structural racism reflect.

Yolonda Yvette Wilson is a 2019-2020 fellow at the National Humanities Center and a 2019-2020 Encore Public Voices fellow. She holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research interests include bioethics, social and political philosophy, race theory, and feminist philosophy. She is broadly interested in the nature and limits of the state’s obligations to rectify historic and continuing injustice, particularly in the realm of health care, and is developing an account of justice that articulates specific requirements for racial justice in health care at the end of life.

Her recent article, “Intersectionality in Clinical Medicine: The Need for a Conceptual Framework,” is a consideration on applying intersectionality’s intellectual approach (how race, gender, and other social identities converge in order to create unique forms of oppression) in the clinical environment. Professor Wilson is the lead editor of a forthcoming special issue of The Journal of Social Philosophy entitled Exploring Racial Injustice. Her article, “A Postmortem on Postraciality,” will appear in that issue. Presently, Professor Wilson is at work on a monograph, Black Death: Racial Justice, Priority-Setting, and Care at the End of Life. She uses racial disparities in end of life care to argue that, given historic and continuing racial injustice leading to African Americans being unfairly burdened with ill health, African Americans have a special justice claim on health care.

Additionally, Professor Wilson’s public scholarship on issues of bioethics, race, and gender has appeared in The Hastings Center’s Bioethics Forum and The Conversation and has been republished in outlets such as The Los Angeles TimesThe Chicago Tribune,, and The Philly Voice. Her article for The Conversation, “Why Black Women’s Experiences of #MeToo Are Different,” was re-published internationally and forms the basis for an edited volume on feminist philosophy and #MeToo. Her media appearances include outlets such as Al Jazeera English and The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Radio.

Professor Wilson has worked as a visiting scholar in the Department of Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD. She believes that the philosophic endeavor is enriched when diverse voices are at the table, and she is committed to broadening the discipline.