Monday General Session

Weaving a New Narrative of Belonging for Health

Monday, Nov. 12, 5 - 6:30 p.m.

Recent national elections have raised fundamental questions about who we are as Americans. As two narratives – one of exclusion, or othering, and one of inclusion, or belonging – compete to capture the hearts and minds of our country, our nation's collective health, safety, and well-being hang in the balance. This general session will explore narrative as a critical strategy for improving health status and inspire the audience to begin rebuilding a New American Social Compact for the 21st Century. Well known political scientist and commentator Melissa Harris-Perry will dissect the issues of our day and how narratives — from pop-culture to campaign ads — shaped the outcomes and then moderate a panel discussion on practical examples for building a narrative of inclusion.

Melissa Harris-PerryMelissa Harris-Perry, PhD

Harris-Perry is the Maya Angelou Presidential Chair and the founding director of the Anna Julia Cooper Center at Wake Forest University. She is also the Editor-at-Large at which contains stories, experiences, challenges, policies, and defining pop culture moments of women and girls of color. Harris-Perry has served in a number of roles and capacities such as the host of the award-winning television show Melissa Harris-Perry on MSNBC and as a faculty member of the University of Chicago, Princeton University, and Tulane University. 

Ai-jen Poo

Ai-jen Poo

Poo is the director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the co-director of the Caring Across Generations Campaign. For over two decades, she has organized immigrant women workers, forged pathways to quality jobs for caregivers, and helped working families to receive access to affordable care. Poo is a 2014 MacArthur Fellow and one of’s World’s Greatest Leaders. Poo is also the author of "The Age of Dignity: Preparing for the Elder Boom in a Changing America."

john powelljohn a. powell, JD

Powell is the director of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society and professor of Law, African American, and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Powell is a widely-published scholar and public speaker on issues related to race, civil rights, housing, and civil liberties. His previous work includes serving as the legal director of ACLU National, director of the Kirwan Institute on Race & Ethnicity at Ohio State University, and director of the Institute on Race and Poverty at the University of Minnesota. Powell's most recent book is "Racing to Justice: Transforming our Concepts of Self and Other to Build an Inclusive Society."

Eldar ShafirEldar Shafir, PhD

Shafir is the Class of 1987 Professor of Behavioral Science and Public Policy at Princeton University, director of Princeton’s Kahneman-Treisman Center for Behavioral Science and Public Policy, scientific director at ideas42, a social science R&D lab, and visiting faculty at the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University. His research focuses on cognitive science and behavioral economics, with particular interest in the application of behavioral research to policy. Shafir is past president of the Society for Judgment and Decision Making, a Guggenheim Fellow, and an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Shafir served as a member of President Barack Obama’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability, and was named one of Foreign Policy Magazine’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2013.