BOSTON, MA – Greek-American Harvard-trained epidemiologist, social justice advocate, and mother of three, Natalia Linos is also a Democrat running for Congress in Massachusetts’ 4th District. Executive director of the Harvard FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, Linos recently spoke about the coronavirus, inequality, and the protests that have erupted across the country and the world following the killing of George Floyd.
In a June 3 post on Facebook, she wrote, “A quarter of U.S. COVID-19 deaths are Black Americans, while they are only 13% of the total American population.
“The failure of this government on COVID, especially for communities of color, and the failure of our government over centuries to end structural racism and police brutality are part of the same problem: a failure to take into account the lives of and pain we’ve put on people of color, especially those of African descent.
“It is so obvious that this country is broken, and unless we do something together, this will continue to be a broken country – which is why I’m running for Congress.”
Born in Cleveland, OH, Linos graduated from ACS High School in Athens and went on to pursue her undergraduate degree at Harvard College with a degree in Social Anthropology. She later returned to Harvard School of Public Health for her postgraduate studies, earning two more degrees, Master in Science and Doctor of Science (ScD) in Social Epidemiology.
She worked for many years at the United Nations, but also as a policy advisor to the New York Health Commissioner, where she led on the development of many initiatives to address poverty, discrimination and health. She lives in Brookline, MA with her husband Paul and their three children, Amalia, Leonidas, and Alexandra.
In a press conference on June 2 from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Linos said in her opening remarks, “The question of whether these two issues, the inequitable and unacceptable impact of COVID on communities of color is linked to the protests that we are seeing around the George Floyd murder is one that has come up a lot in the last few days. And I think it’s important to highlight that they’re both separate and of course, of course, very much linked. So they’re separate in the sense that the murder of George Floyd was an egregious act of injustice. And in any time that this could have happened, there should have been protest for the justice around, you know, justice for George Floyd.
“The backdrop, though, that COVID has taken the lives of so many Americans, one hundred thousand Americans and disproportionately so black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Americans of color is important. And it’s important for the public health community to link the two to say that racism kills. Racism kills explicitly through police violence. It also kills indirectly in terms of what we’re seeing through COVID, what we’re seeing in terms of maternal mortality disparities, infant mortality disparities.
“So talking about structural racism as the root cause and what the protesters are on the streets for is important. And framing that as a public health priority is also important. So I think I wanted to start by just saying that they are linked through the thread of that this country has allowed for racism to exist and to end up in the situation where we are. And there seems to be tremendous frustration, tremendous pain and possibly an opportunity to see the COVID response and the fact that COVID has laid bare these injustices as an opportunity to call for a very different future. And that is the optimist in me.”
More information about Natalia Linos is available online: www.nataliaforcongress.com.