racial discrimination


Secretary Vilsack is no stranger to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. Here, he appears at a hearing on the Farm Bill in February, 2015. USDA photo by Bob Nichols/Flickr

Questions for a Once-and-Future Agriculture Secretary

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

The last time the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) got a new leader, I was decidedly unimpressed. Okay, understatement…I was incensed by a secretary who cared little for science and was fully in the pocket of big agribusinesses (looking at you, Dow). After four years of all that, it’s refreshing to see a new administration listening to scientists and pledging to address the multiple crises we face. At the same time, the hill facing us is steep, and bold actions are needed. Read more >

USDA
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The Masked Syndrome: HIV, Health Disparities, and the Two-Pronged Approach

Maral Aghvinian, Ph.D. student, Fordham University, , UCS

“I have to tell you something” he said to my father on the phone. My father could sense immediately the conversation would be pivotal. “Cancer?” my father asked, to which he quietly responded, “Much worse.” He was my mother’s uncle; he was hilarious, hardworking, and passionate. He was also a gay Armenian man, and his sexual orientation was a subject of shame, criticism, and volatility in many cultures like my own. It was 1989, and the public, including my father, knew little about human immunodeficiency virus or HIV. Within days of this phone call, my parents flew to see him. I often think about this moment and my mother’s uncle considering his diagnosis the worst news he could possibly share. I think about the shame he felt and the vulnerability he displayed in sharing his status. This moment of sheer vulnerability and honesty has been shared by over 36 million individuals and their families worldwide. Read more >

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