The ICHAD Project
There are approximately 160 million descendants of the Transatlantic Slave Trade living today throughout the Western Hemisphere. The International Conference on Health in the African Diaspora explores how this population is faring today and what can be done to improve their health.
From Canada to Argentina, people of African descent share a common ancestral history of forced migration and marginalization that provides an important ‘case study’ for understanding the complex relationship health, history, and the broader human experience.
Compared to their white counterparts in the region, African descendants live sicker, receive less healthcare, and die younger. People of African descent in the region also show other important commonalities, as well as key differences, in their social histories and health patterns.
The Conference – ICHAD 2012
Organized by the Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solutions at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, ICHAD 2012 was convened at the Baltimore Renaissance Harborplace Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland, July 5-8, 2012. The goal of the conference was to promote broad awareness of the major health challenges facing African descendants in the Western Hemisphere, improve our understanding of race and health and of the root causes of racial disparities in health that persist across the region, and forge an unprecedented network of change agents who will collaborate to find solutions for improving the health of this population.
The theme of ICHAD 2012 was “The Great Scattering: Solving the Puzzle of Slavery, Race, and Contemporary Health in the African Diaspora.”
ICHAD 2012 was an outgrowth of the earlier vision of the 2007 International Conference of the Health of the African Diaspora held in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. The 2007 conference in South America was convened by the health department of the city of Salvador, a municipality regarded as the center of Afro-Brazilian culture.
A uniquely multidisciplinary conference, ICHAD 2012 brought a broad spectrum of researchers, policymakers, health and development advocates, and health journalists from across the globe. Conference participants shared critical knowledge about major health challenges confronting African descendants, including chronic disease, HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, mental health, healthcare access and quality, and the social determinants of health. ICHAD 2012 had nearly 30 speakers from a dozen disciplines focusing on 14 countries, including Belize, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Jamaica, Panama, Peru, and the United States. The project produced a book comprising conference papers.
ICHAD supports the United Nations General Assembly call for a greater public and scientific understanding of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. The conference also builds upon the call for a more multidimensional understanding of human health as put forth by the World Health Organization’s Commission on the Social Determinants of Health.