International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination interview: Professor Jerome Nriagu and Dr Jann Murray-Garcia

RELX, 18th March 2021

RELX’s Global Head of Corporate Responsibility, Dr Márcia Balisciano, talks to Professor Jerome Nriagu and Dr Jann Murray-Garcia about their work to end racism.

Professor Nriagu was the Editor-in-Chief of the first edition of the Encyclopedia of Environmental Health. He was the Editor of Science of the Total Environment for more than 25 years, Founding Editor of Global Health Perspectives and has served on the editorial boards of many other journals. He taught global environmental health for years and has conducted research in many foreign countries including India, Mongolia, Qatar, Jordan, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Zambia, Jamaica and Brazil. He has served as scientific advisor to many agencies and international organizations including the World Bank, World Health Organization, United Nations University, US Environmental Protection Agency, Alberta Ministry of the Environment, International Center for Environmental and Nuclear Sciences (Jamaican government), etc. His accolades include Alexander van Humboldt Distinguished Research Award, Honorary Doctor of Science degree (University of Alberta, Canada) and he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Professor Nriagu was on the faculty and Director of the environmental health program in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Michigan for over 20 years. Before that he was senior Research Scientist with Environment Canada and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Waterloo. He is currently Professor Emeritus, School of Public Health and Research Professor Emeritus, Center for Human Growth & Development, University of Michigan.

Dr Jann Murray-García is a founding faculty member and associate clinical professor at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis, where she teaches nurses in the year-long master’s-degree leadership Community Connections course — a practicum in systems-level leadership in community organizations. Murray-García also leads UC Davis Health’s Interprofessional Book Club, which features social justice books that bring together staff, students and faculty from across the health system.

A pediatrician, Murray-Garcia received an undergraduate degree from Stanford University, her medical degree from UCSF and completed pediatric residency training at Oakland Children’s Hospital, followed by a master’s degree in Public Health from UC Berkeley. Her publications on race, health care and child development have appeared in journals such as The New England Journal of Medicine, Pediatrics, Medical Care, Academic Medicine, and Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved.

With Melanie Tervalon, Murray-García coined and developed the concept of Cultural Humility in her most-oft cited publication, “Cultural Humility versus Cultural Competency: A Critical Distinction in Defining Physician Training Outcomes in Multicultural Education” (Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 1998).

For more than a decade, Murray-García has been involved in a unique school-community-youth partnership to close racial achievement and discipline gaps in Davis, California, public schools. With youth filmmakers, Murray-García produced an award-winning documentary, From the Community to the Classroom (, documenting how children and young people learn the American phenomenon of race in one of the nation's highest performing school districts.

In 2011, Murray-Garcia developed the Summer Institute on Race and Health, a four-week clerkship for UC Davis School of Medicine rising second-year students that explores the social-historical construction of race and its implications for public health, clinical practice and transformative community leadership. The Summer Institute on Race and Health is part of TEACH-MS (Transforming Education and Community Health for Medical Students), a four-year longitudinal, mentored program to develop leaders in primary care who will deliver excellent clinical care to medically underserved urban areas. She continues to lead the summer institute.

Along with the elimination of health disparities, Murray-García’s interests include the impact of racial stratification and racial-identity development on the health and health-related decisions of youth and adults.

We are grateful to all our fascinating podcast guests for taking their time to share their thoughts and hopes with us.  Inevitably, given remote working, there may be occasional sound interference – which does not detract from our speakers’ insights.