The Charles R. Drew University (CDU) 2021 Leadership Summit Series

Highlights from the Racism as a Public Health Issue event

Our nation has long faced a health equity crisis with enormous implications—a crisis that leaders across the United States, and around the globe, should act to address now. Racism and bias, deep inequities in the drivers of health (also known as social determinants of health), and structural flaws in the health system prevent equitable health outcomes, disproportionately affecting racially and ethnically diverse people.

Racism as a Public Health Issue

The June virtual summit, focusing on health equity and social justice, brought together leaders in the health, education, social justice, corporate, and philanthropy sectors to identify inequities affecting racially and ethnically diverse people and strategies to address them.

The panelists discussed how the pervasive nature of racism profoundly affects social and health outcomes for racially and ethnically diverse people, the important role of leaders in advancing health equity, and the importance of listening and engaging.

The Deloitte Health Equity Institute

Advancing health equity by translating our purpose into action

Learn more about the topic


  • Moderator: David M. Carlisle, MD, PhD, president and CEO, CDU
  • Keynote: David Satcher, MD, PhD, 16th Surgeon General of the United States; founding director and senior advisor, Satcher Health Leadership Institute
  • Co-presenting sponsor remarks: Kulleni Gebreyes, MD, principal, Deloitte LLP
  • Panelist: Asif Dhar, MD, vice chairman and US Life Sciences and Health Care (LSHC) industry leader, Deloitte LLP
  • Panelist: Sandra R. Hernández, MD, president and CEO, California Health Care Foundation
  • Panelist: Dr. Robert K. Ross, president and CEO, California Endowment

Dr. Satcher’s opening remarks focused on his views of public health, social determinates of health, and racism. He shared a moving childhood story and personal experiences with racism and what it means to be a leader.


In order to eliminate disparities in health, we need leaders who care enough, know enough, will do enough, and are persistent enough.

– David Satcher

Below you will find the major themes of the event and highlights from each section of the virtual summit.

In conclusion, Dr. Satcher reminded everyone that "public health is more important than we think" and that it's a "collective effort of people, coming together, finding each other." We must engage directly with communities in order to address long-standing structural racism.

This publication contains general information only and Deloitte is not, by means of this publication, rendering accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified professional adviser.

Deloitte shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person who relies on this publication.

Fullwidth SCC. Do not delete! This box/component contains JavaScript that is needed on this page. This message will not be visible when page is activated.

Did you find this useful?