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2019 Conference

SAVE THE DATE: Social Medicine Consortium Annual Conference 2020:

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Social Medicine Consortium Annual Conference 2019:

Sustaining the global struggle for health equity locally: building across difference

June 1, 2019 • Jaltenango de la Paz, Chiapas, Mexico

Huge thanks to everyone who engaged in the Conference this year! Materials will be added here as they become available.

When people think the same idea and move in the same direction that’s a cult. When people think many different ideas and move in one direction, that’s a movement.
— Loretta Ross (Sister Song)

Conference Materials

Presentations and Accompanying Materials:

Conference Video:

Opening remarks


Dr. Florencia Peña (cont.)

13:30 - Mr. Maurice Mitchell: Political movement building, confronting systemic racism


Dr. Didi Bertrand - Building the political will and people power for community health workers

Dr. Florencia Peña: Perspectivas médico sociales de la violencia en los espacios institucionalizados


Mr. Maruice Mitchell (cont.)



Moderator: Rafaela Rodriguez

Presenters: Valentina Villalobos Quintero, Amalia Vallarta Escandon, Dra. Irma Julieta Cruz Nava, Dra. Marissabel Casas Marroquin, Brenda Perez Entzin, Psic. Maria del Carmen

Keynote Speakers

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Dr. Nicholas Estes is a citizen of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, and an assistant professor of American studies at the University of New Mexico. In 2014, he co-founded The Red Nation in Albuquerque, NM, an organization dedicated to the liberation of Native people from capitalism and colonialism.  His new book is entitled, "Our History Is the Future: Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance."


(Wingdie) Didi Bertrand MA, DEA, DESS is a medical anthropologist and community health specialist who has worked in Haiti, France and Rwanda. Born in Port-au-Prince Haiti, Mrs. Bertrand studied social science, community health, and health systems management in Haiti and in France. For the past 15 years, she served as a community organizer, program developer and implementer, activist for women and girls' rights, and researcher. She worked as the Director of the Community Health Program and headed the Biosocial Research and Social Development Programs for Partners In Health (PIH) sister organization Inshuti Mu Buzima (IMB) in Rwanda from 2005 to 2015, supporting the Rwandan Ministry of Health. She has been principal investigator on several studies focusing on community health, reproductive health, adolescent health, traditional healing and health system strengthening evaluation in rural Rwanda. She published and contributed to several papers and book chapters, Mrs. Bertrand also Chaired the Haiti-Rwanda Commission, initiated in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake that devastated her country Haiti, to promote South-South cooperation and exchanges between these two countries. She currently serves as Senior Adviser on Community Health and Strategist for Gender, Adolescent Youth and Development for Partners in Health. She also leads The Women and Girls Initiative, an Adolescent Girls’ Social Protection and Empowerment program targeting marginalized adolescent girls and young women operating in Rwanda and Haiti. She is a visiting Research Scholar at the University of Miami and is also the mother of 3 wonderful children.

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Dr. Florencia Peña Saint Martin is an anthropologist, and has worked as a professor-researched since 1976 at the National Institute of Anthropology and History (ENAH). She currently works within the Postgraduate Division of the National School of Anthropology and History (ENAH), and served as the director of ENAH from 2000 to 2004. She is currently responsible for the research line "Anthropology, health and society in contemporary groups" and the academic body Prodep-ENAH "Contemporary bio-social diversity". She was the coordinator in Mexico of the Latin American Association of Social Medicine (ALAMES) and is the editor of the Spanish version and member of the editorial board of the bilingual electronic journal Social Medicine / Social Medicine ( Dr. Peña holds a degree in physical anthropology from the National School of Anthropology and History of Mexico, is a professor of Social Medicine at the Autonomous Metropolitan University, Xochimilco Unit (UAM-X), and received her PhD in sociocultural anthropology from the University of Florida. 

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Mr. Maurice Mitchell was born and raised in New York to Caribbean working-class parents, began organizing as a teenager—and never stopped. As a high school student, Maurice served as a student leader for the Long Island Student Coalition for Peace and Justice. At Howard University, after a classmate was killed by police officers, Maurice led organizing efforts against police brutality and for divestment from private prisons.

After college, Maurice worked at the Long Island Progressive Coalition, leading advocacy and electoral campaigns, and building multiracial coalitions across local communities. In 2008, Maurice was appointed downstate organizing director for Citizen Action of New York, and subsequently ran the New York State Civic Engagement Table— a coalition of community and civic engagement groups using technology to build progressive power.

Two tragedies changed the course of Maurice’s life. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy destroyed Maurice’s house in Long Beach, and left him living in hotels for months. Eighteen months later, after Mike Brown was killed by police in Missouri, Maurice traveled to Ferguson to support organizations on the ground responding to the police violence. Through this work, Maurice co-founded and managed Blackbird, an anchor organization within the Movement for Black Lives that provided strategic support and guidance to activists and groups across the country. Maurice helped organize the Movement for Black Lives convention in Cleveland in 2015.

Maurice joined the Working Families Party in August 2018, and led the national organization through a successful midterm election season that ended Republican control of legislative chambers in New York and Colorado, and ousted conservative corporate Democrats in states from New Mexico to Maryland to Rhode Island. At the Working Families Party, Maurice is working to build an authentic, multi-racial populist party in America.

Conference Objectives

1. Recognize the specific ways that economic systems and racism create and reproduce health inequities in local and global settings, and connection between the two.  

2. Critically examine personal and professional participation in creating, reproducing, and challenging the root causes of health inequities across diverse settings

3. Describe examples from the local community that demonstrate the connection between historical injustice and transcending divides between local and global struggles.

4. Identify examples of tools being used in the practice of social medicine, develop the skills necessary for practice amongst participants, and deepen the strategic partnerships around curriculum development and transformative social medicine education;

5. Explain the aim and actions of the Campaign Against Racism as a constructive strategy to build health equity and identify ways to be involved both locally and globally;

6. Establish SMC chapters in their local settings with clear goals and direct actions for the next year.

Objetivos de la Conferencia

1. Reconocer las formas específicas en que los sistemas económicos y el racismo crean y reproducen las inequidades de salud en el escenario  local y global, y la conexión entre los dos.

2. Examinar de cerca  la participación personal y profesional en la creación, reproducción y desafío de las causas fundamentales de las inequidades en salud en diversos entornos.

3. Describir ejemplos que demuestren la conexión entre la injusticia histórica y las diferencias trascendentales entre las luchas locales y globales de la comunidad local.

4. Identificar ejemplos de herramientas que se utilizan en la práctica de la medicina social, desarrollar las habilidades necesarias para la práctica entre los participantes y profundizar las alianzas estratégicas en torno al desarrollo del currículo y la educación transformativa de la medicina social;

5. Explicar el objetivo y las acciones de la Campaña Contra el Racismo, como una estrategia constructiva para construir equidad en la salud e identificar formas de participación tanto a nivel local como a nivel global;

6. Definir objetivos claros y acciones directas de los capítulos del SMC, en sus entornos locales para el próximo año.


We are deeply grateful for the support of our sponsors, without whom this event would not be possible.