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Conference on Health and Social Justice

As part of its bicentennial celebration, Saint Louis University will host a conference celebrating the work and research performed by University faculty, students and alumni in the areas of health, health care, public health and health law.

Health and Social Justice Conference logo


The conference will be held Thursday and Friday, Sept. 13-14, on the University campus.

In a Catholic, Jesuit University, social justice finds its origin in the dignity of every human being made in the image and likeness of God. As part of its mission, SLU has supported the promotion of health, health care, public health and health law in service to the social ideals of justice afforded by the dignity of every human being.

The health of human beings is not only the health of individuals, but also needs the proper social and legal conditions that enable the health of communities. The conference on Health and Social Justice seeks to celebrate the University’s work and accomplishments in these areas.

Keynote Speakers

Abraham Nussbaum, M.D.

Abraham Nussbaum
Abraham M. Nussbaum, M.D.

Abraham M. Nussbaum, M.D., is the chief education officer at Denver Health and an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, where he also serves as an assistant dean in Graduate Medical Education. He earned a medical degree and completed psychiatry residency at the University of North Carolina, and a master’s degree in theology at Duke. He has authored three psychiatric textbooks and a memoir, The Finest Traditions of My Calling: One Physician’s Search for the Renewal of Medicine, which The New York Times called “dazzling and instructive.”

Nussbaum's talk will be based on his book chapter titled "Far From Disadvantage: Encountering Persons With Mental Illness."

Emilie M. Townes, Ph.D., D.Min. 

Emilie Townes
Emilie M. Townes, Ph.D., D.Min.

Emilie M. Townes, Ph.D., D.Min., an American Baptist clergywoman, is a native of Durham, North Carolina.  She holds a D.Min. from the University of Chicago Divinity School and a Ph.D. in religion in society and personality from Northwestern University. Townes is the dean and E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of Womanist Ethics and Society at Vanderbilt University Divinity School, becoming the first African American to serve as its dean in 2013. She is the former Mellon Professor of African-American Religion and Theology at Yale University Divinity School, where she was the first African American and first woman to serve as associate dean for Academic Affairs.

In 2008, she was the first African-American woman to serve as president of the American Academy of Religion and recently served as president of the Society for the Study of Black Religion from 2012 to 2016. She taught on the faculties of Union Theological Seminary in New York and Saint Paul School of Theology. She is the editor of two collection of essays, author of four books including her groundbreaking book, Womanist Ethics and the Cultural Production of Evil. She is a co-editor of two books. Townes was elected a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2009. 

Townes will present her talk titled “Breaking the Fine Rain of Death.”