SIG Director Dr. El-Bassel Featured in Narratives of Discovery

Eleni Vlachos
September 09, 2021

University Professor and SIG Director Dr. Nabila El-Bassel was interviewed by Dr. Rita Charon for a feature in the Irving Institute's "Narratives of Discovery."

Dr. Nabila El-Bassel was recently interviewed as part of a new narrative medicine series, Narratives of Discovery. The series, which includes interviews with leading life scientists, was launched by the Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research in partnership with Dr. Rita Charon.

Read the article

In the article, Dr. Charon shares a sweeping background of the inspiration for Dr. El-Bassel's scientific research as well as her philosophy around engaging communities in the service of social justice. As she writes:

"How do slave trade events starting in 1619 determine the racial profile of the U.S. drug crisis today? How do the 19th century industrialist robber barons continue to choose today’s winners and losers? When did masculinist gender roles arise that today imperil the safety and survival of women?"

[Ibn Khaldûn] said that in order to solve social issues, you need to bring the voices of the people into this solution. I took his words very seriously.

Dr. El-Bassel

Dr. Charon shares that "the studies that Nabila conducts require multi-disciplinary scientific methods including complex data science, social media analysis, and in some cases spatial autocorrelation analyses that allow them to study on-the-ground aspects of opioid use."

Behind each study is, Dr. Charon writes, "Her faith in human survival...Nabila El-Bassel raises our lowered gaze toward the possibilities—she would say certainties—of a future of fairness, justice, kindness, and care."

Creating this future must include the uplifting of the next generation of scholars. The article highlights Dr. El-Bassel's strong history of mentorship and collaborations, sharing that she is able "to recognize the hidden strengths of others."

She is able…to recognize the hidden strengths of others. She sees into, as it were, their depths.

Rita Charon