March 12, 2018


We are pleased to announce that Samuel K. Roberts, Jr. of Columbia University will present “Drugs, Politics, and Pariahs; Or How to Think About Race & Harm Reduction in an Opioid Epidemic” for the XXVIth Noguchi Lecture! Open to the public, but please RSVP to

When: 3/12, 4pm
Where: West Reading Room, 2nd Floor, Welch Library Building, East Baltimore Campus, JHU

Dr. Samuel Kelton Roberts, Jr. will present “Drugs, Politics, & Pariahs: Or, How to Think About Race & Harm Reduction in an Opioid Epidemic” for the XXVIth Noguchi Lecture in the History of Medicine. The lecture is sponsored by the Department of the History of Medicine, the Center for Medical Humanities & Social Medicine, the Program in Racism, Immigration, & Citizenship, and the Department of Health Policy & Management.

Dr. Roberts is the former Director of Columbia University’s Institute for Research in African American Studies (IRAAS), and is Associate Professor of History (School of Arts & Sciences) and Associate Professor of Sociomedical Sciences (Mailman School of Public Health). He writes, teaches, and lectures widely on African-American history, medical and public health history, urban history, issues of policing and criminal justice, and the history of social movements. His book, Infectious Fear: Politics, Disease, and the Health Effects of Segregation (UNC Press, 2009), demonstrates the historical and continuing links between legal and de facto segregation and poor health outcomes. In 2013-14, Dr. Roberts served as the Policy Director of Columbia University’s Justice Initiative, where he coordinated the efforts of several partners to bring attention to the issue of aging and the growing incarcerated elderly population. This work led to the publication of the widely-read landmark report, Aging in Prison Reducing Elder Incarceration and Promoting Public Safety (New York: Columbia University Center for Justice. November 2015.

Dr. Roberts currently is researching a book project on the history of drug addiction policy and politics from the 1950s to the 1990s, a period which encompasses the various heroin epidemics between the 1950s and the 1980s, the development of therapeutic communities, radical recovery movements, methadone maintenance treatment, and harm reduction approaches. He serves on a number of organizational advisory and executive boards and is a founding member of the Black Harm Reduction Working Group. He is also the host of the public health and social justice podcast PDIS: People Doing Interesting Stuff, available on iTunes and SoundCloud.

Dr. Roberts tweets from @SamuelKRoberts.