Renowned public health scholar Denise Herd began serving as the UC Berkeley Haas Institute for Fair and Inclusive Society's new associate director in June, pledging to bolster collaboration among the Institute's faculty clusters to make the impact of their work towards equity more potent.
“My initial plans are to dialogue with faculty cluster members to create a shared vision of possibilities to move us closer to our goals of achieving greater justice and equity,” Herd said, adding that her priority is to follow in the footsteps of her predecessors in building community among the Institute’s clusters and affiliates, as well as working to increase the impact of the clusters on the surrounding campus and local communities.
Herd, a professor of Health and Social Behavior at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health and a longtime member of the Haas Institute’s Diversity and Health Disparities research cluster, is the Institute's third associate director. She took over from Taeku Lee, a professor of Political Science and Law who had held the position since 2015. Michael Omi, an associate professor of Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies at UC Berkeley, had served as the Institute's founding associate director.
Herd’s scholarship centers on racialized disparities in health outcomes, spanning topics as varied as images of drugs and violence in rap music, drinking and drug use patterns, social movements, and the impact of corporate targeting and marketing on popular culture among African American youth.
She has also developed new multidisciplinary models to understand how the social position of minorities of color in the United States affects their health status and behavior.
“Denise has been an instrumental faculty participant and leader in the Haas Institute initiative from its inception,” said Lee. "Her commitments to multi-disciplinarity, policy relevance, and building a community for scholars working on equity and inclusion run deep, and we are very excited to have her take on the associate director role."