Endowed Lectureship on Health Equity & Social Justice

Beyond the Knife: Anti-Racism and Health Equity. A Conversation with Dr. Cornel West about surgery's role in fighting systemic inequality.

The Department of Surgery’s endowed lecture series, Beyond the Knife, is a testament to our seriousness of purpose and our intention to make questions of anti-racism foundational to our mission going forward. 

We are deeply honored that our 2022 keynote speaker was Dr. Deirdre Cooper Owens,  one of the country's "most acclaimed experts in U.S. history," according to Time Magazine.  Her rigorous historical lens--combined with her passion and inspiring speaking style--motivated all those in attendance to redouble our efforts toward greater diversity, inclusion and social justice across the entire University.

In February 2021 the Department of Surgery held our first endowed lecture, with bestselling author and public intellectual Dr. Cornel West.


Date and Time

Our 2nd Annual Beyond the Knife: Anti-Racism and Health Equity endowed lecture was held on Thursday, February 10, 2022 at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Deirdre Cooper Owens.

Dr. Deirdre Cooper Owens.

Dr. Deirdre Cooper Owens, an award-winning historian and popular public speaker, is the Charles and Linda Wilson Professor in the History of Medicine and Director of the Humanities in Medicine Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In this position, Dr. Cooper Owens is one of two Black women in the U.S. running a medical humanities program, and the keynote speaker of this event.


Rita Hubbard-Robinson, JD '86.
  • Rita Hubbard Robinson, JD

Chief Executive Officer, NeuWater and Associates;

Lead member African American Health Equity Task Force;

UB Community Health Equity Research Institute

Mayowa Adebiyi.
  • Mayowa Adebiyi

 M.D. Candidate '24, 

Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

Vanessa Barnabei, MD, PhD.
  • Vanessa Barnabei, MD, PhD

 Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology 

Beth Harvey, MD.
  • Beth Harvey, MD

PGY4 Surgical Resident

University at Buffalo Department of Surgery

India Walton.
  • India Walton

Political activist, nurse, and community organizer

Mike Lamb, PhD.


  • Mike Lamb, PhD

Director of Surgical Education,

Research Assistant Professor

Photographs from the Event

Video messages from past panelists