2021 Featured and Invited Speakers

Adia Benton is an associate professor of Anthropology and African Studies at Northwestern University, where she is affiliated with the Science in Human Culture Program. Her first book, HIV Exceptionalism: Development Through Disease in Sierra Leone, won the 2017 Rachel Carson Prize, which is awarded by the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) to the best book in the field of Science and Technology Studies with strong social or political relevance. Her body of work addresses transnational efforts to eliminate health disparities and inequalities, and the role of ideology in global health. In addition to ongoing research on public health responses to epidemics, including the 2013-2016 West African Ebola outbreak, she has conducted research on the growing movement to fully incorporate surgical care into commonsense notions of “global health.” Her other writing has touched on the politics of anthropological knowledge in infectious disease outbreak response, racial hierarchies in humanitarianism and development, techniques of enumeration in gender-based violence programs, and racial capital in professional sports. She has a PhD in social anthropology from Harvard University, an MPH in international health from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, and an AB in Human Biology from Brown University. She has held a postdoctoral fellowship at Dartmouth College and visiting positions at Oberlin College and in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Magdalene Moonsamy is a prominent international human activist currently serving as the Deputy Chair of the African Peer Review Mechanism, an instrument of the African Union. A former Member of Parliament of her native South Africa, Moonsamy is founder and director of the Women’s Justice Foundation, and lecturer of the Law Society of South Africa’s Legal Education and Development (LEAD) school. Moonsamy served as Chief Operating Officer of the National Youth Development Agency and was an editor for the World Federation for Democratic Youth newsletter. She has extensive experience as an advocate and solidarity representative for the peoples of Western Sahara and Palestine and has served on several United Nations-based advisory teams, including as a speaker at African Union hearings in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Moonsamy is an Admitted Attorney of the South Africa High Court, and a member of the Black Lawyers Association of South Africa. She is chief proprietor of Magdalene Moonsamy Attorneys, and is a Council Member of the South African Iziko Museums.

Linda Sharp, MD, HEC-C (she/her pronouns) is a general internist and chair of the Acute Care Committee and Bioethics Committee at Martin Luther King, Jr Community Hospital in Compton, CA.  She attended UC Davis for her undergraduate training and has a BS in evolutionary biology.  She attended Georgetown University for her medical training, and since then she has been practicing medicine in South Los Angeles for over 15 years.  She has a special interest in social medicine, health and human rights, bioethics, and the relationship between poverty and health outcomes. At MLK Hospital, she runs the ethics consult service and provides palliative care support to patients as well as primary and inpatient medical treatment. She has been a part of Doctors for Global Health since 2007, a global collective of volunteers practicing liberation medicine- the conscious, conscientious use of health to promote social justice and human dignity.  She served as the president of the organization immediately after founding member Dr. Linnea Capps, whose life work will be honored in her presentation. She is also an advisor to the UCSF Health Equity Action and Leadership international health fellowship, and she works with a large international coalition of health workers on the Equal Health Campaign Against Racism.

Venice Williams is the Executive Director of Alice’s Garden and its visionary leader.  She calls herself a cultural and spiritual midwife, strongly believing she was put in Creation to help bring forth all that is good and whole in people and places.  She has been doing just that in Milwaukee for the past twenty-seven years.