Event Details

  • Gaps in health equity: Insights from history, lessons from Covid-19, and ideas for the future – the tenth in the series, "The Yale Development Dialogues: Economic Policy Lessons from History"
  • Hosts: Yale Economic Growth Center, the Department of History, and the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs
  • Date and time: Thursday, October 28, 2021, 12:00PM-1:00PM EST

Event Description

Unequal access to the Covid-19 vaccine magnifies long-standing gaps in health equity. Will this crisis propel us into a new discussion of health equity, and change our understanding of the global partnerships needed to achieve it? And how can we draw on lessons from the past in order to design a more equitable future?

Even in the cases of most urgent need, both healthcare and health outcomes continue to be determined by patterns of global income and wealth. These inequities in preventative care, disease incidence, and treatment options are underscored by historical and structural factors, including histories of colonialism, that heighten the obstacles to achieving health equity. Low-income countries now face not only the challenge of recovering from the effects of Covid-19, but also the long-term consequences of disruption to their already fragile healthcare systems. Is it time to rethink the coordination and collaboration needed to close the health equity gap?

The panelists for the 10th Yale Development Dialogue are leading voices in understanding the health and healthcare challenges low-income countries face. They have been at the forefront of the global health agenda, having held senior positions in organisations such as the International Rescue Committee, pioneered methods of increasing healthcare access, and written extensively on the history of public health. 


Sunil Amrith is the Renu and Anand Dhawan Professor of History at Yale. His research focuses on the movements of people and the ecological processes that have connected South and Southeast Asia. Amrith’s areas of particular interest include environmental history, the history of migration, and the history of public health. 

Anne-Emanuelle Birn is a Professor of Critical Development Studies and of Social and Behavioural Health Sciences at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at University of Toronto. Her research explores the history, politics, and political economy of international health, with particular interests in Latin American health and social justice movements, child health, and philanthrocapitalism.

Pascaline Dupas is Professor of Economics at Stanford University and the faculty director of the Stanford King Center on Global Development. Her research focuses on scalable policies for improving household well-being in low income countries.

Dr. Mesfin Teklu Tessema is the Senior Director for Health at the International Rescue Committee. He has more than 20 years of experience in the areas of public health, nutrition and humanitarian affairs.


Catherine Cheney ‘10 is a Senior Reporter for Devex, covering the West Coast of the U.S., focusing on the role of technology and innovation in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.