Over the past year, New York State has experienced the worst outbreak of measles since the 1980s, with the majority of cases appearing in ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities. The community centered aspect of the measles outbreak has been a focal point of the media coverage, yet much of this coverage glosses over how we should understand such a “religious” identification. In this panel event, we aim to get beyond the headlines to consider a range of questions. To what extent—and in what ways—is this an “ultra-Orthodox” issue? How are the affected communities responding or mobilizing at the local level? What does vaccine hesitancy, and, more broadly, anti-vaxx activism signal? Is it a rightful exercise of freedom of religion? Or suspicion of the state? Both, more, or something else altogether? And, finally, how does this outbreak speak to the longer history of the relationship between minority communities and the institutional infrastructure of public health?
Zackary Berger, Associate Professor of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University
Alyssa Masor, Orthodox Jewish Community Liaison, Community Health Promotion, NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene
Blima Marcus, Nurse Practitioner, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and Adjunct Professor, Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing
Michael Yudell, Professor and Chair, Community Health and Prevention, Drexel University
Ayala Fader, Professor of Anthropology, Fordham University