university toronto black health

University of Toronto is making history by launching new degree in Black health

The University of Toronto is offering a new master's degree and it's actually breaking new historical ground.

The Dalla Lana School of Public Health at U of T is starting a Master of Public Health in Black Health come September 2023.

The two-year program will specifically train a cohort of 10 students entering the healthcare field on how to improve the public health system for Black folks.

The program also takes a look at how institutional public health practices perpetuate anti-Black racism, and it will also unearth important Black experiences.

At the end of 2021, assistant professor Roberta Timothy submitted a program proposal to U of T. Her proposal was inspired by the school's Master of Public Health in Indigenous Health.

Timothy said although the university told her approval could take up to 18 months, her proposal passed with flying colours in five months.

The master's program will explore chronic illnesses among Black people, their treatment within the healthcare system, as well as the impact of anti-Black racism on public health.

Timothy told blogTO that disproportionate experiences exist in healthcare locally and globally for Black folks or African-identified folks.

"We really want to address the impact of anti-Black racism on public health, and also talk about wellness and healing from an African-centred or Afrocentric way," she explained.

Timothy said the program comes from an anti-oppression and decolonizing framework.

"Our work is coming from there in hopes of creating health practitioners that don't harm folks and that actually create wellness and healing for our communities," she told blogTO.

While the program is open to students from all sorts of backgrounds, Timothy is eager to include Black health professionals.

Timothy expressed that she is hopeful other universities launch efforts to introduce similar programs for students.

"It’s a gift to do this work but it's also a life-or-death situation for Black community members," she said. "It can't only happen in one program either, it has to be bigger."

Applications for the program begin in October 2022 and end by January 2023.

Lead photo by

City of Toronto

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